RogerBW's Blog

Stellar Fox, Glynn Stewart 12 April 2022

2015 SF, second of its series. Kyle Roberts, former fighter jock now forced by neural implant damage into the big-ship navy, has both a good popular reputation and highly-placed enemies. Which means that his command of the new carrier is going to be more complicated than it needs to be.

So mostly this is the recipe as before: we have a space carrier, we have space fighters, we have daring naval tactics. But we get characters who are a bit more than black and white; the Admiral is a solid strategic thinker, but he's still suffering with PTSD from previous incidents, and that's going to skew his priorities. When an enemy commander commits a blatant war crime, everyone agrees that if he makes it back to his own side they are going to shoot him; the only question is whether, since it happened in an Alliance system, the Alliance should chase him down and do it first.

There are also indications of an enemy agent on board, but that agent seems to be too good: if they have the level of access they do, if the enemy Commonwealth can produce covert operatives that capable and in that unbreakable a degree of deep cover, why haven't they won the war already? You'd think no Alliance ship would ever get under way without exploding. And that's not ignored but actually explained in the resolution. (Even if Roger's trained responses painted a red flashing "DATA SECURITY INCIDENT" round the sides of his mind, much as they did in Atlas Alone, at a passage that I suspect was meant to slip below the typical reader's notice.)

Our hero has been called the "Stellar Fox" by the media, and his reaction is:

"I am not fond of the nickname," he told Kane slowly. "Erwin Rommel, after all, lost his war and was forced to commit suicide by his government. I hope for a more positive fate."

Someone decides that starting a romance within the chain of command would be a very bad idea so they won't do anything about it, and sticks to that resolve. More of this please! A surprising number of people in this thing act like grown-ups, or at least try to.

This series continues not to go too far outside the lines that someone looking for space-navy fiction will expect, but while not breaking entirely new ground it does a fine job of telling stories about interesting people.

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Previous in series: Space Carrier Avalon | Series: Castle Federation

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