think I always say this, but “Another book of the Ark Royal series…” Yes, this is the fourteenth of the series that started for me in a used bookstore in Norfolk, Va and ended up on my straining bookshelf.
For those of you who don’t religiously (because I post these every Sunday?) reviews, the Ark Royal series follows a cast of evolving (and perishing) characters through a near space-n-time setting, that being the English Navy two or so centuries hence. We’ve fought several alien races so far, and nearly gotten squashed, but this time we are facing Earth’s biggest threat – a virus that can jump species and control sentient races. It’s already space-faring (it’s got four or so technical races under its control). And it’s got its eyes (or rather, the eyes of its host) on dominating Earth.
And things look grim. By this installment, there is already evidence that it’s touched down somehow on our planet (a couple of infected humans and a bunch of infected dogs launch terrorist attacks across the globe). And meanwhile, in space, this empire that doesn’t need to produce consumer goods or keep constituents happy is throwing everything it’s got to infect us. And I don’t see how we’ll win.
The Right of the Line sees Captain Shields of the Invincible surviving another disastrous loss for us. Cut off from the line of retreat, he and his command venture up the tramlines to loop around behind the alien’s front and lay total waste to one of their planets (something humans have refrained from doing thus far). Now being dogged by an alien fleet, the tattered Invincible attempts to make its way home, always in a stern chase, always outnumbered, outgunned, the situation hopeless.
I think I’ve got three more to the series. We’ll see what happens next. Stay tuned.