Dark Matter: Star Carrier: Book Five
by Ian Douglas
Cover Artist: Gregory Bridges
Review by Bill Lawhorn
Harper Voyager Mass Market Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9780062183996
Date: 27 May 2014 List Price $7.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK
Years have passed since the forces of Earth went back in time to create a peace with the Sh'Daar. But victory is never simple. The Unity that had been in place is no more. The United States of North America is confronted by the Earth Confederation. Koenig is now the President of the USNA. His forces must face not only the Earth Confederation but their new ally as well.
This new alien race has some strange reactions and behaviors. They may be a potential ally, or the next great threat to the people of Earth. Whenever you encounter a new alien race, there are the standard communication issues and the Agletsch are not familiar with them. Trying to learn their language and frame of reference is very important to understanding their actions.
If a civil war and an alien threat aren't enough, there is another threat lurking on the edges. A new technic society has emerged. Their first action was the destruction of USNA assets. Further exploration is needed, but resources are limited. Koenig needs to keep several balls in the air at once, while remaining hidden from those that would see him die.
This is part of a longer series and as such is not the best jumping off point. There are numerous carry over characters from the earlier novels in the series. Some of their traits are based on the earlier action. If you’ve ready the earlier books you know about Sandy and his trademark move. Technology can be overcome with enough brute force, and sometimes there are no other options. The story unfolds in the third person multiple point of view perspective.
This series is not related to the Galactic Marine Saga. The timeline is different even if the action is very similar. Fans of that series and other Military SF will find something to enjoy here. This isn't clean and friendly space, bad things happen to good people.
Like any future setting, the world is different from the one in which we live. The relationships between men and women operate on a different standard. The chance to explore the potential ramifications of people who chose one way of life over another is one of the best reasons to read science fiction. Just because one thing is accepted as the way it must be now and forever, doesn't mean that people won't come to different choices in the future. The choice to use tech or not is very personal, but tech use is standard in most of society. Those who don't use it are on the fringe and not thought of as important. How do we consider the rights of those individuals? Do you even have to? Some say no.
There are obviously future books to come in the series as there are numerous mysteries left unresolved in the end. I look forward to seeing the human race fight for survival and a chance to become more. The very thing the Sh'Daar collective is trying to prevent.