My husband was out of town last week, and for several days, I was mostly out in space with Evan Currie and the Odyssey One.
I really like good science fiction--of course, like all reading--"good" is relative to the reader.
I enjoy space opera, a sub-genre that emphasizes a risk-taking central character, space warfare, an epic list of characters, and lots of action and adventure. (Think Star Trek and Star Wars in film orr the Foundation series by Asimov, Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card, the Skolian Empire by Catherine Asaro, or the Honorverse by David Weber.)
And I like military science fiction that focuses on strategy, tactics, advanced technology, and weaponry. The two often overlap, and Evan Currie's Odyssey One series certainly does.
Last year, I read Evan Currie's King of Thieves and liked it. King of Thieves is an off-shoot of the Odyssey One series which I had not read. When NetGalley recently offered Warrior King: Odyssey One, I was eager to give it a try.
What I didn't realize, however, is that Warrior King: Odyssey One was book 5 in the Odyssey One series! I took One to mean first, but Odyssey One is the name of the ship.
I started it, but realized in order to get the necessary background, I would need to go back to the beginning. Luckily, the previous books were all on offer with Kindle Unlimited.
Into the Black (#1) begins with the maiden voyage of the new Odyssey One prototype space vessel. Captained by Eric Weston, the ship's mission is interstellar exploration. Odyssey One has FTL capability and is the first Terran ship to attempt exploration of deep space.
When the ship comes upon a field of space debris, they are surprised to hear a distress signal. Upon rescuing the space pod, they discover a woman who appears to be human, but who is from an unknown civilization.
Language problems are solved by the brilliant (and eccentric and difficult to manage) linguist Dr. Palin. I was happy to see Dr. Palin again, as he played an important role in King of Thieves. His role here is small, but solving the language problem is crucial to the story.
Milla Chans, the only surviving member of a Priminae fleet, describes how her fleet was obliterated by the Drasin, an alien race bent on the destruction of her civilization.
In an attempt to provide Chans safe passage to the nearest of her civilization's colonies, Captain and crew discover the entire planet destroyed and populated by the alien Drasin, a kind of armored bug. Replicating at an astonishing rate, the Drasin are bent on genocide--but are they pursuing this goal on their own, or are they being used as a weapon by another race?
When an attempt is made to leave their passenger on Ranquil, the home planet of the Priminae, the Drasin appear and target this planet as well. Eventually, Captain Weston feels ethically bound to engage in battle with the Drasin before they destroy another world and millions of lives. The Priminae greet them as saviors, but Weston knows he will be in trouble back home.
When back on earth, Weston and the crew are lionized on one hand and vilified on the other. No one on earth wants to become a target of the Drasin. Despite the anger and reluctance of many, Weston retains his command and is to return to Ranquil.
The series is more action than character-driven, but Currie manages to make the characters viable. Currie also does an excellent job of conveying all of the futuristic science and technology in a way that is believable, even if this reader has no hope in hell of understanding. I'm not sure how to explain it, but I was quite comfortable with the world(s) he created and the way things worked, in the same way I am comfortable with television and computers. I don't have to understand how they work to accept that they do.
The action is fast-paced and intense. As soon as I finished, I was on to the next one.
Science Fiction. 2011; remastered version 2012. Print length: 448 pages.
The Heart of the Matter (#2) takes the Odyssey's crew back to Ranquil, the homeworld of the Priminae to build a defense against the Drasin.
While still an action-driven scenario, the characters continue to be fleshed out enough for the reader to want to continue learning their fates.
While the Terrans and the Priminae have become allies and are sharing technology, each side continues to hold back a little. Politics and cultural differences on each side dictate policy.
While part of the crew are on the planet of Ranquil helping build defense forces--not an easy task when the society is essentially pacifist-- Odyssey One tries to follow a Drasin ship back to its source. Both storylines are interesting.
Again, while character development isn't the main purpose of these books, each character is distinct and the sense of camaraderie is significant. The books are reminiscent of ensemble-cast war movies with a lot of characters. Each one feels real, even if all you get to know is how the character reacts in specific circumstances. They all play their parts in the storyline.
The Odyssey One series is about plot and action, and although it has memorable characters, the goal is not to examine the deeper background or motivation of each player in the drama. The goal is to have them fit seamlessly into the plot.
I am also pleased that each episode has a sense of conclusion while still leaving you in a hurry to get to the next book and continue the adventure.
Science Fiction. 2012. Print length: 632 pages.
In Homeworld (#3) the Drasin follow an Eastern Block ship back to the Sol System.
What the Terrans feared when Weston discovered the Drasin has come to pass. The Drasin intend to destroy the planet, but despite their superior numbers and weaponry, they discover that the people of Earth are nothing like the pacifist worlds they've dealt with before. Weston and the Odyssey have a few tricks left.
A twist at the end had me upset; nevertheless, I knew there were two more books to go. It was not the end.
Science Fiction. 2013. Print length: 509 pages.
Out of the Black (#4) finds the Earth fighting the Drasin hordes on the ground and in the air. The unexpected twist in bk #3 is explained. Like many readers, I was disconcerted by the twist and by ....well, by something else that has become a part of the story.
On the other hand, I was also relieved enough about the outcome of the twist to happily put the Gaia element aside. Just a note, Central didn't bother me, but Gaia does.
The Earth battles are world-wide and frantic. The situation is grim. Throughout the world, entire cities are lost. Fortunately, the former enemies of WWIII are doing their best to work together to save the planet from the Drasin, but the situation is dire and the losses incalculable.
The Priminae must decide whether or not to remain isolationist and non-confrontational or come to the aid of Earth. They are willing to defend themselves, yet culturally less eager to take the battle to the Drasin. Sometimes survival requires an offense, and the Priminae civilization must face that fact.
Better late than never.
Book 4 completes the initial cycle of the Drasin War begun in the first book, and Currie may have intended to leave the series at that. At some point, however, he decided to return to the Odyssey One and move into another story arc because the next book will leave both Earth and Ranquil eager to discover who guided the Drasin.
Science Fiction. 2014. Print length: 447 pages.
Warrior King (#5) begins after the battle for the earth has been won. The Terrans and the Priminae continue their alliance and a search for the source of the Drasin is in play. Weston also wants proof of the race that used the Drasin as weapons.
Weston and his new Heroic class ship the Odysseus are on the hunt, and unsurprisingly, they make contact with the enemy. The two enemy vessels evaluate each other's tech and weaponry, as Weston attempts to rescue Steph and Milla. It becomes obvious that the Priminae mythology about the Others/the Oath-Breakers is not such a distant part of the past after all. And they are ruthless.
Having sped through these books, I am now going to have to wait for either book 6 of the Odyssey One series and the next installment about Captain Morgan Passer and the crew of the Autolycus.
It has taken me longer to review these five books than it did to read them. I finished all of them in the last week of June. There are flaws which I didn't note because I was having so much fun, but if you enjoy military science fiction and lots of action and adventure, you should give this series a try!
Science Fiction. July 19, 2016. Print length: 334 pages.