The fourth book in Tanya Huff's action-packed military sci-fi adventure Confederation series
After surviving the perils of the Crucible, the Marine Corps planet where a routine training assignment had taken a deadly twist—Gunnery Sergeant Torin Kerr returned to Ventris Station just in time to link up with her old platoon and head out to a new war zone, an area of space where the enemy known as the Others appeared to be building up its forces for a preemptive strike.
Sent to pull back troops who’d moved up to an indefensible position, Torin was caught in the heaviest fighting just as a devastating air strike reduced the whole area to slag. The Corps concluded that she was dead. But despite irrefutable evidence, neither Torin’s father nor salvager Craig Ryder agreed.
And the truth was that Torin had survived. She woke to discover that she was trapped in a series of underground caves that appeared to be an enemy-run POW camp. But everyone knew the Others never took prisoners—or did they?
Could Gunnery Sergeant Torin Kerr escape this prison that shouldn’t even exist, taking as many Marines as possible with her? Though she was determined to get herself and her Marines back to the Confederation, Torin had no idea how crucial her attempt could prove, not only to her own well-being, but to the course of the entire war.
In the rough-and-tumble fourth military SF adventure for Marine Gunnery Sgt. Torin Kerr (after 2007's The Heart of Valor), Kerr is more than a little surprised to wake up after a disastrous battle and find herself in what appears to be an underground prisoner-of-war facility, since the enigmatic aliens called the Others take no prisoners. At least, that's the claim made by the Confederation of nominally pacifist older races that provide advanced technology to humans in exchange for waging war against the Others. Kerr soon encounters earlier arrivals, who seem oddly lethargic and resigned to their fate. She must learn what's sapping their willpower, organize an escape and figure out what the Others and the Confederation are up to. Huff's appealing heroine is as fiercely maternal as she is fierce in battle, sometimes to a degree that verges on clich . The denouement is not unexpected, but Huff skillfully accomplishes its exposition while still managing a few surprises.