Third in the excellent "Troy Rising" Space Opera series,
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This review is from: The Hot Gate (Troy Rising Book 3) (Kindle Edition)
This is the third volume in a series which blends elements of First Contact, Space Opera, and military SF.
Originally described as one book in three parts, the three volumes of the "Troy Rising" series published to date are
1) "Live Free Or Die (Troy Rising)"
2) "Citadel (Troy Rising)," and
3) This book, "The Hot Gate."
The books are best read in that order. At the end of the third instalment there are lots of possibilities for further books in the series and I hope Ringo will pursue them.
Mankind's first contact with aliens was friendly and almost an anticlimax. A race of traders, the Glatun, arrive in our solar system and set up a "gate" which can be used by themselves, mankind, or any other star travelling race to travel between this system and other star systems.
Unfortunately, having provided our system with a gate on the off chance that we would have something worthwhile to trade, the Glatun did not at first find that we had anything enormously valuable. So at first there was no enormous benefit to our contact with extraterrestials.
And then the gate in our system went from being of little benefit to an enormous disadvantage when a second alien race, the Horvath, sent a warship through it, dropped rocks from space which obliterated three human cities as an initial warning that we should do what we're told, and demanded all the heavy metals humans had available as a "contribution" for their "protection," or they would drop more.
Earth's governments had little choice but to agree, leaving the planet effectively at the mercy of the Horvath.
But in the first book a former Science Fiction publisher called Tyler Vernon had a few ideas on how to get the Horvath off Earth's back, and was willing to stand up to anyone, human or alien, to do it. And some of his ideas were very big ideas indeed ...
At the start of the second book Tyler Vernon, more in spite of earth's governments than because of them, had seen off the Horvath, though not before they had unleashed a whole raft of nasty things on humanity.
Among other things Tyler has turned an asteroid into a gigantic battlestation called the Troy. The main viewpoint characters in the second book were two new crew members assigned to the Troy, Dana "Comet" Parker as an engineer and shuttle pilot, James "Butch" Allen as a space welder. Their story, particularly Dana's, continues in this third volume.
In the second book, it proved that seeing off the Horvath had been nothing compared to the next challenge faced by humanity. A much more powerful race than the Horvath, called the Rangora, decided to conquer first the Glatun and then, almost as an afterthought, the supposedly primitive human race.
But the Rangora, for all the vast power of their military machine, had underestimated the peaceful Glatun and badly underestimated humans.
At the start of this third book, the Rangora have retired to lick their wounds while Tyler Vernon, aware that the respite may be temporary, decides to strengthen Troy further and provide other defences to make the solar system impregnable. And sure enough the Rangora are soon back - and after getting nowhere in conquering humans by brute force, this time they're prepared to try guile. And we'd better win, because they've decided humans are too dangerous to be turned into slaves. "Life Free or Die" is no longer a policy we have any choice about - those are the only options the Rangora will leave humanity ...
I didn't find this third book quite as brilliant as the first two in this series - in particular the presentation of almost all the latin american charcters as sexist, chauvinistic, snobbish bigots was a bit over-done. Nevertheless I did enjoy the book and there are more than enough ideas still bubbling out to keep the series going.
In my opinion the "Troy Rising" series is the best thing John Ringo has written, even ahead of his Council wars series which begins with "There will be dragons" or the first four books in his "Posleen" universe. Strongly recommended.