I’ve often found that new authors (new to me anyways) have a great first book and then tend to flag in the second or third book in a series making it really hard to continue reading. It’s a real pity as I often find myself coming to care about the characters and I really want to know what happens to them but when it stops becoming enjoyable and is simply a grind … well, lets just say that I tend to move on. An example of this is the Silver Ships series – the characters … any realism they had in the earlier books just disappeared and their risks and challenges were too easily beaten. As I’ve been burnt a couple of times, I was wary going into Book 2 of the Warp Marine Corps after the exceptional book 1, but, boy – am I glad I did!
Book 2 continues the story of Captain Fromm and his merry band of ne’er-do-wells, however, this time instead of focusing on a small battle in a single city our canvas is that of a whole planet – Parthenon – which is the focus of a thrust by humanities enemies. Fromm’s previous battle was one of the few “wins” for humanity in the shadow war against the humans. Now that things are out in the open and we learn that humanity is officially under attack by 3 different polities the importance of holding Parthenon is even greater.
Fromm has a much larger force available to him, but the focus is still on the group we met in Book 1 – Decisively Engaged – however, some new weapons are introduced and this time the enemy is not a bunch of savages, but another Starfarer nation with equivalent weaponry available. The combat is brutal and extremely well described but perhaps even more importantly he covered the essentials in a realistic manner. Weapons here aren’t “super weapons” – they are the gradual improvements and his explanation of why Battle Mechs aren’t in prevalent use while sad is probably very true!
In addition to the battle on the ground, there is significant starship combat here which is one thing that was sadly lacking from the first book and by the end of the book a revolution in space warfare that changes things dramatically. However, this change while potent also heralds some new and potentially worrying future developments for the Universe at large. Book 3 expands on this in even greater depth but I’ll get into that in a future post!