This is the fifth book in the Old Man’s War series (which apparently I’ve only posted a review of the first book in the series – I’ll get to those other ones one of these days). It’s been out a few years now and I just never got around to it. I’m making an effort to finish those series this year.
Genre: space opera science fiction
Length: 431 pages
Setting: various points in the Universe, soon after the events in The Last Colony
Summary: Now that the Conclave has exposed how the CDU has been using Earth for its people and holding back its technology, they aren’t getting along as well. That means the CDU has to turn a bit more to diplomacy to deal with its problems, since it no long has an inexhaustible supply of people to fight in its wars. We follow mostly Ambassador Abumwe and her crew, including the CDU tech liaison Lieutenant Wilson. They get placed into a series of diplomatic situations where it doesn’t seem likely there’s any good to be salvaged, and yet the team usually manages to find a way through. It seems like there’s a group targeting both the CDU and the Conclave and trying to bring them into direct conflict. Luckily, neither of the current leaders want that conflict and they use diplomatic back channels to keep the situation from escalating. The book ends with a major attack on Earth Station, eliminating current reconciliation efforts.
Final thoughts: A good book, but not as immersive and awesome as I remember the previous book being. I think part of the problem was the format. The book was originally written so each chapter was released as a short e-book. Therefore, each chapter has to be a self-contained story that is resolved by the end of the chapter. I didn’t get the drive to read the next chapter that usually comes in space operas because the current conflict was over and the next chapter didn’t necessarily follow directly from the previous chapter. As I kept reading, I caught the overarching story line and it became easier to read, but it took more work than usual. If you’re a fan of the Old Man’s War series, it’s definitely worth checking out, but don’t start here. There were frequent doses of humor sprinkled throughout the story, and even some in-jokes for people who read his blog (churros anyone?).
Title comes from: It wasn’t a military term as I assumed. Instead, it referred to the division between the CDU and Earth
Reading challenges fulfilled: book #4 for the year, an H in my title Reading the Alphabet Challenge, and my first book for the Finish the Series Challenge
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