Colonizing slowships, multidimensional hideaways, decaying alien empires, and a breakaway Mars feature in this week’s newest science fiction releases.
Black Phoenix – B V. Larson and Wayne Wightman
Earth’s first colony ship finally reaches the target world. The excitement of planetfall is indescribable, but quickly transforms into sick disappointment when they find the atmosphere is a roiling mass of hydrochloric acid, carbon dioxide and other deadly poisons.
They fly onward, seeking better planets. They find them, but none are ideal. The search goes on for a century, then longer still. As they move farther from Earth, aliens discover the intruding ship, and they begin to investigate humanity. They find our species unacceptable.
The years and the light-years go by without relief. The colony begins to splinter. Some accept that their voyage is eternal, while others seek to end it any way they can. The colony’s culture grows darker, and a war begins, both inside and outside the vast ship.
What lives among the stars we see at night? Can we reach out to them and survive?
The Callisto Gambit (Sol System Renegades #7) – Felix R. Savage
Amid Earth’s all-out war against Mars, the asteroid belt spirals into chaos. Kiyoshi Yonezawa—smuggler and occasional pirate—struggles to find a new home for his people. But all his plans change when Earth’s dreaded secret police, the ISA, capture his brother Jun, a rogue AI.
Kiyoshi will stop at nothing to free his brother.
A lethal confrontation on Callisto gives Kiyoshi a temporary advantage. As the rule of law crumbles, he strikes a deal with the biggest crook in the asteroid belt.
This victory will be paid for in blood …
Running from the ISA, Kiyoshi, Elfrida Goto, John Mendoza, and their allies formulate a desperate attack on Pallas, the ISA’s secret prison asteroid. But their fight to free Jun may unleash a worse evil than any seen in the solar system before.
The PLAN is dead … long live the PLAN?!
The Fifth Column: The Solaris Initiative – J.N. Chaney and Molly Lerma
The Rebellion has begun.
Two framed soldiers turned liberators, an unhinged Vice-Admiral with mass murder on his mind, and a new rebellion.
After deserting the Sarkonian Empire and stealing one of their best stealth ships, Alyss Cortez and Farah Shahi knew it would be like this.
Always looking over their shoulder for a far-reaching enemy.
But they aren’t running or hiding.
Instead, the pair are accepting search and rescue jobs and planning to take down Vice-Admiral-Kaska, antimission by antimission.
Until their plans go completely off the rails.
When a terrorist attack takes out a train on Solaris, the rebellion rises – with Alyss and Farah deeply entrenched in its message.
It’s a long, terrible road ahead, but every victory requires sacrifice, and every war has its costs.
Fracture (First Colony #8) – Ken Lozito
Colonel Sean Quinn is stranded in another universe, along with two thousand people under his command. They’ve been hiding from the enemy long enough, now it’s time to return home. Outnumbered against a superior foe, Sean must risk everything in a daring operation, but the mysterious enemy has a few surprises of their own.
Meanwhile, a division threatens to tear the colony apart and Connor Gates is caught in the middle. Their best chance to prepare for a formidable multidimensional aggressor is to form an alliance with one of their victims, but the more they learn about New Earth’s inhabitants, the more resistant to an alliance the colonial government becomes.
When a shadow group seeks to undermine the alliance, Connor must do what he swore he would never do in order to protect the colony. For Connor, the stakes have never been so high or so personal. The price will be paid by everyone if he fails.
Iron Dogs (Fire and Rust #1) – Anthony James
Humanity is within months of losing an interstellar war to a species of aliens known as Fangrin. Giving up isn’t an option. Victory doesn’t seem like an option either.
When assault craft pilot Commander Jake Griffin is sent out with the Eternity carrier group to hunt down and destroy enemy facilities, he has no idea what’s coming to him. The planet Graxol-4 out in the middle of nowhere hides a critical enemy base with vital resources just waiting to be stolen.
The only problem is, it’s guarded by a war fleet and surface troops, while the planet itself is toxic and gripped by constant storms.
The coming fight will be relentless. It will test Griffin’s combat skills to the limit against a vastly superior foe. In a way, he’s got it easy – the troops on the ground will have to beat the Fangrin in the most challenging circumstances imaginable.
That job falls to Lieutenant Tanner Conway, a man who just wants to go home to his family.
Victory on Graxol-4 may not win the war, but it will buy time for humanity to regroup, toughen up and come back harder.
However, a third – unknown – player has an interest in this game and their involvement will turn everything on its head.
Lucky Bastard (Lucky’s Marines #8) – Joshua James
Rescue never looked so dangerous.
Lucky and crew think the worst is behind them when a ship finally arrives to whisk them away from a doomed diplomatic mission.
It doesn’t take long to learn how wrong they are.
Before they know it, a seemingly vanquished foe returns more powerful, and with more resources, than ever.
But it’s the source of this new power that proves more disturbing than anything else.
As time runs out, and the stakes rise to inconceivable levels, Lucky realizes that even if he wins, everybody loses.
Don’t ask Lucky. Just give him a weapon and get out of the way.
Marque of Caine (Caine Riordan #5) – Charles E. Gannon
It’s been two years since Caine Riordan was relieved of his command for following both his orders and his conscience. Now he’s finally received the message he’s been waiting for: a summons to visit the ancient and enigmatic Dornaani. And this time, making direct contact is not just professional, but personal: the Dornaani still have his mortally-wounded love, Elena Corcoran, in their unthinkably advanced medical facilities.
But instead of arranging a swift reunion, Riordan’s new Dornaani hosts are not only disinterested in human affairs, but are in such social disarray that they have lost track of Elena’s surgical cryocell. Riordan must blaze his own trail through dying and dangerous worlds to find the mother of his child, her fate as uncertain as the true agenda of the Dornaani leaders.
However, as new clues and new threats push Caine’s quest beyond the edge of known space, he discovers that the Dornaani empire is not merely decaying; there are subtle signs that its decline is being accelerated from without. Which means that rescuing Elena is just half the mission: Riordan must report that the Dornaani collapse is not only being engineered, but that it is the prelude to a far more malign scheme:
To clear a path for a foe bent on destroying Earth.
The Solar War (The Long Winter #2) – A. G. Riddle
After the Long Winter, Emma Matthews and James Sinclair hoped life would get back to normal. They’ve settled down in Camp Seven and welcomed their first child, a daughter. And they have waited and watched the sky for any signs of the grid’s return.
When NASA discovers that several asteroids have broken from the Kuiper Belt and are headed for Earth, James instantly realizes the truth: the grid is back. And this battle will be one to the very end.
As he and his team prepare for humanity’s last stand in space and on the ground, Emma makes a discovery closer to home, one that will change life for her and James once again.
With war raging around them, Emma and James fight to keep their family alive. In the cold darkness, humanity splinters. New alliances emerge. At every turn, Emma and James face new dangers–and question whom to trust.
Just when it seems that all hope is lost, James uncovers what may be the key to humanity’s survival. But it comes with enormous risks. To implement his plan, he and Emma will have to survive the grid and another, even more deadly enemy. One thing is certain: their gambit will change the future of the human race forever.