Will Humanity’s First Contact Prove to Be Its Last?
The opening salvos of a deadly war take mankind’s planetary colonies unaware. Jeaux is lost and the Naval courier Provance barely escapes on a course to the planet Morrow, only to discover the alien forces have given chase.
The fledgling colony of Morrow receives a garbled warning it can scarce believe. Before they can decide what course to take, the crystalline aliens strike with brutal force, nearly wiping all evidence of humanity from the planet. Out of thousands of colonists, a mere scattering survive, unaware of the greater war.
On the planet and among the stars, humanity fights to survive with resources sadly lacking against the aliens’ nearly unfathomable technology and tactics.
In an effort to combat the Shards, military command makes the hard call to adapt captured tech, instancing mortally wounded Marines into cyber weapons, leaving many to wonder...
To Defeat the Enemy, Have We Become Them?
Sparhawk (Distant Seas) attempts to combine five short stories of his interstellar war saga into a cohesive narrative, but this effort falls flat, reading more like a future think tank experiment than an adventure. Encounters with the mysterious prismatic aliens nicknamed "Shards" or "Shardies" almost invariably result in the immediate and thorough elimination of all humans. Barge master Vicky Wallbarger and a few other residents of the planet Morrow survive a devastating Shard assault that destroys the rest of Morrow's human inhabitants and most of the manufactured items on the planet's surface, and are left to eke out a life of hardscrabble survival. Action-motivated combat specialist Marine Cpl. Leo Sweeney is champing at the bit to see action, even if it means more human lives lost. As the battles progress, military leadership is presented with opportunities to take actions that may leverage the human species's chance against the Shardies, but at a significant moral cost. Sparhawk provides detailed and pragmatic scientific and military descriptions, but his flat characters fail to provide emotional resonance for readers to invest in.