Imperative: Starfire, Book 7 Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
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The war with the Arduans - profoundly alien invaders who originally arrived in STL ships - is over. Most of those attackers are now probationary (and very productive) citizens of the Rim Federation.
However, many among the Arduans' warrior caste have accepted neither defeat nor the personhood of any of the other intelligence races. Their leader, the ruthless admiral of the second Arduan exodus, Amunsit, is in firm control of the Zarzuela system. Along with a fifth column among the peaceable Arduans, she hopes to find allies in subsequent refugee fleets that abandoned their race's now-dead home system long ago.
But as the victors' diplomats attempt to soothe tensions with these warlike neighbors, two heroes of the last war - veteran admiral Ian Trevayne and young troubleshooter Ossian Wethermere - suspect they have stumbled upon a deeper Arduan plot: one that could shatter the Pan-Sentient Union and perhaps interstellar civilization itself.
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|Listening Length||16 hours and 14 minutes|
|Author||Steve White, Charles E. Gannon|
|Audible.com Release Date||March 01, 2016|
|Best Sellers Rank|| #179,800 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
#2,936 in Space Opera Science Fiction (Audible Books & Originals)
#11,164 in Space Operas
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Middle Answer: read In Death Ground at a minimum first. Then Imperative.
In 1977, Task Force Games published a little game of starship combat called Starfire, so small of a game that it came in a ziplock baggie. It was a huge hit. Fans and TFG kept adding to it and in the 1990s, David Weber of science fiction fame rewrote the rules AND made a truly wonderful scenario book called Stars at War, which reads like a novel (combining in depth narrative sections with scenarios) but you can actually play out the battles using the game system. This covered four different wars and the major races in the Starfire universe.
Next came Crusade the scenario book and Crusade the novel, so if you didn't play the game you could read about space battles the old fashioned way...in a book.
Then came In Death Ground and The Shiva Option, both novels, and the massive scenario book ISW-4 Arachnids.
Then there is the orphan novel called "Insurrection" which had just the novel and not a game treatment.
Then David Weber moves out of the picture and revised writing teams take over. This is where Exodus, Extremis, and Imperative slide into place as novels but no game treatment.
BaenBooks has reissued Crusade and In Death Ground as Stars at War One and Insurrection and Shiva Option as Stars at War 2. These are NOT the same Stars at War that David Weber wrote for Task Force Games back in the early 1990s.
The game system is now owned and supplied by Starfire Design Studios
Imperative unfortunately is simply silly. Spoilers ahead...
One of the main plot points is kinetic kills against numerous systems from generational ships from one source. The ships are allegedly moving at .6c to .8c. Ok, so far I can buy that. They align the ships and destroy them creating clouds of debris that continue at the same relatavistic speeds towards inhabited systems. Still ok so far although starting to get sketchy. The objects destroy planets and installations throughout the PSU. Ok, now we are into LotR fantasy and a complete disregard for basic physics.
The stars in the PSU, as stated many times, are hundreds of light years apart. The kinetic bombardment would have taken hundreds, if not thousands, of years to take place. Sublight objects starting from relatively close together, required by the storyline of fleets fleeing a supernova, would have a gap of 7 or 8 years just between Sol and Centauri, and they are close together. In the PSU three light years was considered incredibly close in an earlier story. The main characters would have been dead of old age generations before the bombardments destroyed the listed planets and locations. I don't mind suspending disbelief under certain circumstances but not when they are trying something like kinetic weapons.
The authors completely lost me at that point. I'm not even going to bother getting into the idea that an object weighing a few tons moving at .6c could destabilize a main sequence star while managing to pass entirely through it.
I wanted to like the book, and I'll read the next one, but I am very disappointed by the complete disregard for science in this one.
In this one the various human space empires as well as several of their alien allies come under attack from not one but two of their old enemies. This book is an excellent example of Military Science Fiction with good character development and great space battle scenes. The Arduans’ who appeared from space in slower than light colony ships were defeated in a very bloody war and at great cost to the humans and their allies. A few of them however fled and awaited more of their colony ships to arrive to reignite hostilities. During their wait they discovered a hidden colony of "Bugs", a species that had attacked with genocidal intend against all the other sentient species. They had been though to have been totally destroyed but had been in hiding biding their time before attacking again. Now both the Arduans’ and the "Bugs" are attacking on several fronts and things are looking bleak for the humans and their allies.
I highly recommend this book and this entire series to fans of Military Science Fiction and of Space Opera.