he Ark Royal series appears to have widespread appeal – at least from what I can tell. Author Christopher Nuttall churned out a bunch of them (seventeen as of 2021). And I can see why they are popular – because they are good.
Once again, the titular ship of the series, introduced HERE, is called to duty again. As the only armored ship in the Earth fleets (the rest were only lightly armored death cans), it once more must rise like a phoenix and set sail in finest Star Blazers fashion.
This time the idea is a deep penetration raid on the alien worlds, trying to throw them off their attacks and take momentum of the field. Our old characters are back, from craving-a-drink Admiral Theodore Smith, now-loyal Captain James Fitzwilliam, marriage-crumbling Wing Commander Kurt Schneider and his-lover Squadron Commander Rose Labara, as well as al the rest, take their place in the creaky “Old Lady” to take the fight to the enemy. There is (as all the reviews and jacket puts it) a crew member who is not what he seems (and he wasn’t, and it was quite the interesting storyline). So the gang’s all here.
The story develops nicely. We find out that there may be a faction of the alien race that wishes to end the war (one of their ships attempts to communicate with the Ark Royal and is destroyed by another). We see how the aliens live, how their worlds are (from a marine landing). But there are still a lot of aliens out there, the tramlines are still hot, and the fear is that an alien drive on Earth is imminent (which turns out to be not incorrect).
So the war grinds on and characters die and secrets are revealed. If you read the first Ark Royal book off my review and are looking for more, I’d suggest this one. And yes, we’ll conclude this series (at least for the time being) with our next review – The Trafalgar Gambit. See you then, space cadets.