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The saga of the Rêveur continues in this second novel in The Silver Ships series. The surviving Méridiens have returned to Confederation space, aided by their recently discovered cousins, the New Terrans. They expect a celebration after their 71-year absence. Instead, they’re shocked to find the silver ships have destroyed half the Confederation.
The Méridiens are fleeing in advance of the horde of alien ships. But Alex Racine and his crew didn’t come this far to run away from humanity’s enemy. They intend to hunt the silver ships. But, to succeed, they need help.
Renée de Guirnon, the leader of the Rêveur’s Méridiens, reveals a sordid secret of Méridien society: citizens who defy their House, for any reason, are stripped of their rights, declared “Independents,” and imprisoned on the planet Libre.
But the Independents aren’t everyone’s pariahs, especially if you’re Alex Racine and you’re looking for allies against the silver ships. An entire colony of independent, free-thinking radicals offers just the sort of people Alex wants on his side, and an alliance is struck.
Soon the enemy ships will swarm off the planet Bellamonde, so the race begins for Alex and the Librans. The planet must be evacuated and the military force readied before the silver ships attack. Alex knows a battle is coming, but will they have enough time to prepare?
The Méridiens are fleeing to their far colonies—and they have reason to run. Over the course of decades, they have lost hundreds of ships, billions of people, and seven Confederation colonies to an alien enemy: an advancing swarm of silver ships transported in the bowels of a gigantic, spherical vessel.
Alex Racine, who once enjoyed the solitary life of an explorer-tug Captain, is now an Admiral and responsible for the lives of a quarter million Librans. Further complicating his life, Alex’s Librans have made it clear they don’t want to settle on his home world. They want a new home, and he must secure them one.
The silver ships await Alex’s makeshift flotilla at Libre, the last colony they consumed. Thus far, Alex’s people have succeeded in skirmishes against the enemy’s fighters. Now, though, they’re preparing to attack the entire alien fleet and halt the devastation of the colonies.
To the surprise and chagrin of his officers and crew alike, Alex concocts a new plan, because he believes humanity faces not one but two alien species, and one may be enslaved to the other. If so, Alex believes slaves should be liberated, not obliterated.
To test Alex’s theory, his people must capture a wholly intact silver ship—a feat never before accomplished. The crew remains doubtful, but their Admiral is determined to communicate with the aliens before he’s forced to destroy them, and his wish is their command.
Claiming to have followed the course of a colony ship launched a millennium ago when Earth wrestled with resource wars and climate change, the mission commander, Antonio García, requests a meeting with the planet’s leaders. The Earthers profess a kinship with all humans, and their great desire is to have Méridien join their United Earth (UE).
Alex Racine journeys to Méridien to investigate and uncover the Earthers’ intentions. In the Haraken world, SADEs (self-aware digital entities) have been freed from their boxes aboard the Méridien-built starships. The mobile SADEs are powerful players in Alex’s strategies, inventing ingenious methods to investigate the Earthers and their ship.
Complicating matters, the Méridien leadership is in turmoil. The Council Leader insists her people ignore the Earthers, but this path has costs.
As tensions escalate, García sends a request for support to his superiors back on Earth, lest his discovery of the rich, Méridien worlds, boasting unbelievable advanced technology, slip through his grasp. A UE battleship heeds the call, escalating the pressure for action. Join the journey as the Harakens and Méridiens work together to protect their planets and their way of life from the newest invaders.
What’s Alex’s grand plan? He hasn’t a clue, but his people believe in him and hope he will find a way to protect them. Alex does have powerful assets: the Haraken space fleet; the genius SADEs, mobile Haraken digital intelligences; and the defected UE scientists, who are providing a wealth of intelligence about their home world.
Arriving at Sol, Alex discovers the perfect opportunity to make his statement to the UE Supreme Tribunal in the form of the aging Idona Station, which has fallen into disrepair as UE militia and rebels battle for control. Alex explains his unorthodox plan when he says, “The UE tribunes will succumb when we overpower them with prosperity.”
The Harakens work to meld Idona’s militia, stationers, and rebels into the Haraken’s view of the world, one based on peace, purpose, and equality. The Tribunal is at odds over the Harakens’ interference in their system, forcing the rifts in the UE’s political structure to widen into chasms.
In the exciting conclusion to Haraken, the series’ previous book, Sol is the story of a clash of cultures and ideals as Earthers struggle to find a way toward a successful new future.
Christie Racine and her friends visited a hidden club rumored to be a source of the dangerous drugs and have run afoul of the criminals running the illegal establishment. Kidnapped and transported out of Hellébore’s system aboard a freighter, the girls become desperate to free themselves.
Alex Racine, Christie’s brother and president of the Harakens, races to discover where the girls were taken. The trail leads Alex from Espero to the pleasure domes of Jolares, a moon orbiting a gas giant in Oistos, the New Terrans’ home system. Alex’s search is complicated by the discovery of not one, but three sets of pleasure domes, each on its own moon and run by its own criminal mastermind.
It becomes a dangerous game of hide-and-seek, as the Harakens attempt to recover their girls and locate the biochemist who created the dangerous hallucinogen, without panicking the kidnappers. The Harakens’ efforts are complicated by the duplicitousness of “Mr. Blue” and “Sniffer,” two gang leaders, who seek to steal the domes of “Craze,” the third gang leader, in a dangerous double-cross.
Alex and his people thought things couldn’t get any more complicated until they discover the gangs have gone to war with deadly stunners and plasma rifles in a fight for possession of the Haraken girls, who are caught between the rivals.
Trapped in metal-alloy housing on the bridge of a luxury passenger liner, Allora sought to possess the same freedom enjoyed by humans, who came and went from her starship with abandon. Allora’s hope for emancipation rested on Alex Racine, the Haraken president who had freed his SADEs, and she yearned to walk the worlds a free entity, as they did.
Racine had pleaded for years with the Council of Leaders to give the Confederation SADEs equal status as citizens, and it was Allora’s thought to have him intercede on her behalf and bargain for her transfer to a mobile avatar so that she might live among the Harakens. But Allora’s plans were thrown into disarray when she learned that Racine would soon end his presidency.
Desperate, Allora, known to her fellow SADEs as the wild child, concocts a plan to kidnap the Council Leader and his associates. She intends to hold them hostage until they acquiesce to her demands. Little does Allora know that her actions will set the Confederation and the Harakens on a collision course.
Quietly waiting and watching the drama unfold are tens of thousands of SADEs, who control Confederation starships, stations, and Houses and have a vested interest in the outcome.
To the Harakens’ surprise, they discover, not one, but two alien species engaged in conflict. One of the entities, the Dischnya, hides their nests underground, and each nest owes its allegiance to a queen. On the grassy plains, where the Dischnya live, the resources are scarce, and the alien warriors compete fiercely to protect their nests.
The ceena, the other species, shelter their people far away from the Dischnya, who hunt them. Unfortunately, the Harakens’ landing party is late in discovering the Dischnya’s hidden nests. A shuttle and some of its crew, including Teague, Alex Racine’s son, are captured by the dog-like warriors of the Tawas Soma nest.
The mission is soon mired in a standoff, and Captain Asu Azasdau fires off a comm to Haraken, pleading for a rescue from Tomas Monti, the Haraken president, and Alex Racine. The survey group might have been forgiven for their hasty landing. They were focused on investigating three objects buried in the sands along the continent’s shoreline. Smooth, dark, and silver, they’re ships belonging to the nemesis of every human and alien civilization — the Nua’ll.
The dark travelers present a clue as to the direction of the Nua’ll home world, but they also invoke a question: Where are the Swei Swee, the six-legged, whistling aliens, who once were aboard the dark travelers?
Except Alex doesn’t see fulfilling the desires of the two sentient species, identifying the third species hiding in the green, and gaining permission for humans and SADEs to settle the planet as challenges. To Alex, these are merely steppingstones to what he seeks.
Two centuries ago, Swei Swee escaped from their masters, the Nua’ll, and landed their dark travelers on the shoreline of Celus-5. This was the first clue the Harakens had received in twenty years as to the direction the enormous and deadly alien sphere of the Nua’ll originated before it attacked the first Confederation colony.
Alex was intent on solving the thorny issues of Celus-5, so he could garner the Dischnya’s support to help him solve the burning questions: When and from which direction did the Nua’ll sphere enter the Celus system? To do this, and prevent potential future attacks on human worlds, Alex realizes he must shed the responsibilities of the past years and return to the foundations on which he built Haraken, which were city-ships, Independents, and SADEs.
This striking discovery, combined with the final broadcast of the Nua’ll sphere at Libre, prior to its detonation, gave Alex Racine and company the means to narrow the search for the Nua’ll home world.
Alex has a consuming desire to locate the point of origin of the Nua’ll before another gigantic sphere arrives to destroy more colonies. The first sphere’s incursion into the Confederation burned billions of humans to ash.
Six scout ships are constructed by the Omnians and crewed by SADEs, self-aware digital entities, to search the stars along a narrow path defined by the two clues.
During its search, a scout ship, the Vivian, is captured by an alien warship in a faraway system, the SADEs dub Vinium. The two ships, locked tightly together in a form of electronic warfare, achieve an impasse.
The scout ship calls for help, and Alex Racine receives the strange message. According to the SADEs, the aliens aboard the warship appear to be plant people.
Rescuing the scout ship presents Alex and his companions the opportunity to meet the plant people, the Vinians, on their home world. It leads the Omnians to one more incredible discovery about the Nua’ll, which, unfortunately, proves Alex’s worst fears.
During the Omnians’ previous encounter with an alien fleet at the wall, the Nua’ll comm sphere spoke to them in multiple languages. When the messages were deciphered by SADEs, the humans’ digital friends, the Omnians realized two things. One, they would face a vast empire composed of hundreds of races, and, two, the Nua’ll were not the leaders of the federacy. They had spoken of masters.
Multiple challenges faced Alex Racine, the Omnian leader, to cobble together the fleet he required. The Confederation, which was composed of many colonies, could produce ships, but most of its people lacked the will to fight. Haraken and New Terra were worlds with limited material production capability. But they produced individuals who were anxious to deliver a blow against the federation.
A debate raged over whether humans should flee, wait, or fight the onslaught of giant spheres, which ravaged humankinds’ worlds, and the probes that spied on them. It was Alex Racine’s choice to confront the alien race. Anything less was only delaying the inevitable.
The Omnians knew nothing about what they would find beyond the wall, where the federation’s enormous empire lay. Alex knew he couldn’t defeat the federacy in a long series of protracted engagements. His plan was to attempt to conquer and divide. He just needed to find the right sentient race for his idea to work.
The sentient digital entity rules a vast swath of worlds, known as the federacy, through ruthless intimidation. Its insidious programs are embedded in every races’ digital systems — warships, shuttles, stations, domes, comm platforms, and power plants. One misstep by a race could see its citizens exterminated in vast numbers. The survivors, if there were any, would be thrown back to the days before spaceflight.
Artifice has had millennia to secure its base. Powerful battleship fleets guard the system’s periphery and the approaches above and below the entity’s planet, Toral. Probes surround the system and warn of unauthorized encroachment, and Artifice has control of the planet’s army of bots.
The Omnian expeditionary fleet, led by Alex Racine, desperately needs allies in order to defeat or circumvent Artifice’s defensive measures. The Omnians are curious about the fleet of black-hulled battleships, which bear a resemblance to Artifice’s probes and guard the Talus system. The SADEs, the Omnians’ digital friends, believe that the sentients aboard the black fleet and Artifice share a common history.
Whether or not the Omnians can gather allies, they don’t intend to abandon their goal and return to Omnia. They mean to capture or destroy the entity, Artifice, or die trying.
The elimination of Artifice’s rule should be a time of relief and recovery for Alex Racine’s Omnian fleet and for the Toralians, whose home world was Artifice’s lair. Instead, it’s a chaotic period.
Visitors appear, sailing the distinct, black-hulled Toralian battleships. Five colonial governors wish to witness the recovery of the ancient home world. President Sargut welcomes them, but Alex is suspicious about the governors’ motives. In a face-to-face meeting, it becomes clear that the governors have a dark, ulterior purpose.
With the release of the federacy from Artifice’s reign, word reaches the Omnians that races are embracing their newfound freedom. Some enjoy peace, some desire expansion, and some yearn for revenge.
The races’ latter choices mean danger for the Toralians and Alex’s fleet. Powerful battleship fleets are either sailing for the Toralian home world to exact reprisals, or they’re seeking new territory. Every encounter presents a challenge for the Omnian fleet.
Some fleets have crossed the federacy’s boundary and are headed toward humankind’s worlds. Alex and the Omnians face a difficult choice. They must choose whether to defend the Toralian home world, which is forming a nascent society, or chase the fleets that are headed toward their planets.
After Sol’s construction of Tridents, Omnian-designed warships, Earthers possess the ability to transit quickly among the stars. The desire to know what happened to Earth’s colony ships sent to the stars a millennium ago is resurrected.
The two outcomes of colony ships are known. They gave rise to Méridien and New Terra, which Sol’s previous government, United Earth, had the misfortune of trying to subvert. Now, Earthers want to learn the fate of a third colony ship, the Honora Belle.
An Omnian Trident and the Rêveur, the liner that launched Omnian leader Alex Racine toward a destiny he couldn’t have imagined, accompany three Sol Enclave Tridents in search of the Belle’s colonists.
Swiftly, the Omnians and the Earthers are enmeshed in a centuries-old conflict enveloping a vast area of space inhabited by the alliance races. The enemy is the Colony, a race composed of two giant insectoid species. They’ve progressed from usurping domes, the alliance gateways between worlds, to arriving in force to overtake an alliance home world.
Olawale Wombo must decide whether to abide by the expedition’s original purpose or help the embattled alliance races. He asks himself one question: What would Alex Racine do? He knows the answer to that question. Every Omnian knows the answer.
The SADEs, self-aware digital entities, express to Alex Racine and Renée de Guirnon their desire to know the method of their creation. Alex and Renée, the Omnian co-leaders, want to obtain the knowledge for the SADEs, who are humans’ closest allies.
Alex, Renée, and Julien, a friend and a SADE, board the giant city-ship, Freedom, which sails for Méridien, the home world of the far-reaching human colonies of the Confederation. They have a long overdue appointment with House Brixton, the Méridien group responsible for creating the SADEs. However, Shannon Brixton, the House Leader, is expected to zealously guard the secrets of the SADEs’ origination.
While at Méridien, Alex receives an urgent message requesting help in alliance space, where a small group of Omnians and Earthers battle the Colony, a race of insectoids, which is subsuming planets.
To complicate matters, a rogue battleship fleet left the federacy, bypassed the human colonies, and is searching among the alliance worlds for a habitable planet. If an unoccupied world isn’t found, they’re prepared to evict the inhabitants by force.
In the wake of Alex’s exit from Omnia for alliance space, Hector is left in charge of the Omnians’ second fleet. The SADE temporarily carries the mantle of protector of human colonies and allied worlds.
For the Omnians, life and its challenges couldn’t be more precarious, or could they?
The Colony has had centuries to expand through the network of domes built by the Messinants, an ancient race. The domes’ Q-gates allow the insectoids to invade planets through their inventive use of rings, which extends the power of the domes.
It’s Omnian superior technology that gives a temporary advantage to the peaceful alliance members who lead the fight to retake their planets.
Omnian warships and fighters, Tridents and travelers, possess beam weapons to destroy the Colony’s shuttles and transports. However, the Colony escalates, turning its transports into deadly explosive traps.
In the past, the few alliance races that fought back could barely hold the line against the Colony’s seemingly never-ending incursions. Now, Jess Cinders leads a group of dedicated veterans armed with explosive dart weapons borrowed from the Loopah race.
Again, it’s the Omnian advanced tech that changes the dynamics in favor of the veterans. Engineers upgrade an invention first used decades ago. It’s a shadow, a multilegged avatar, with a mounted laser.
Unfortunately, for those races fighting to halt the Colony’s expansion, the insectoids aren’t willing to retreat. They fight back with even deadlier tactics that take the lives of the unwary.
The sisters, whom the SADEs created during the fight to defeat Artifice, possess advanced tech. They construct warships, the vaunted Tridents, to protect their new society. However, despite the support of the enormous Toralian battleships, the nascent Talusian fleet is no match for the numerous ships that ring the planet.
The envoys’ lists of demands against the Talusians are long, and the envoys compete to be heard, complicating the negotiations. The chaotic conditions buy the Talusian president, Sargut, time to send an urgent plea for help. His message requests the assistance of the Omnian fleet.
The city-ship, Our People, and two Trident commands make preparations to sail for Talus to relieve the beleaguered Talusians. But the fleet must solve a dire local emergency before it can get underway.
Nata, a new lieutenant, makes a terrible misstep. She visits Sawa, the Dischnya home world. Her investigation results in her capture by an underground nest. Now the Omnians must recover Nata before she comes to harm.
A shocking discovery is made on Sawa, and Nata’s rescue becomes a race to save a dying Sawa nest. Omnian Dischnya take matters into their own hands, freeing the fleet to sail. Having resolved one exigent issue, the fleet arrives at Talus only to confront a much greater problem.
Alex’s fleet arrives too late to prevent the Ollassa from attempting to oust the interlopers. The ill-equipped Ollassa attack the harvesting machines, and alien fighters destroy every Ollassa ship. The Omnians find not a single piece of debris from the alien fighters. The Ollassa fail to score one kill.
The fleet’s SADEs, self-aware digital entities, make contact with the aliens and discover an artificial intelligence (AI) guides the ship and its defenses. Omnians are reminded of recent encounters with AIs, none of which have been good. Wary of the new AI, precautions are taken.
Alex’s first-contact efforts are embroiled in a mire of political conflict. A highly structured race exists aboard the alien ship. Those individuals, who live in the core, service the elites who inhabit the arches. One elite, the Deloy, rules the ship and the AI.
Alex must broker a shift in the ship’s political structure to balance the power within the alien race. Afterward, he must deal with the Ollassa losses. During these delicate steps, the fleet prepares against the launch of the alien ship’s fleet of deadly fighters.
Sand serpents, Usaanans, are suspected of undercutting outpost contracts, necessitating Major Sam Fleetfoot investigate the source of their production. His time on the Lemgart’s home world, with Lieutenant Candace Weller, progresses through a series of alien contacts. When the Usaanans are exposed, the sand serpents attempt to eliminate the human pair.
Meanwhile, Chief Engineer Mickey Brandon and his teams, led by the SADEs, investigate the Messinants domes. Their aim is to duplicate the ancient race’s technique of transporting individuals and goods through quantum-linked platforms, called Q-gates. The teams produce requests for console inputs that stymie them and lead to cataclysmic events.
Omnian Co-leader Alex Racine’s mysterious dreams turn into nightmares, and he fears for events in alliance space. The dreams herald multiple calamities, such as the loss of the Transit Tripper. The freighter, carrying an alien drone from the Worlds of Light, was sent to Mickey to examine.
To make matters worse, the Colony has escalated its tactics against the Resistance. The alliance defenders, having had a modicum of success, recently suffered setbacks. Jess must add to Mickey’s tasks, requesting the chief engineer find a way to defeat the Colony’s new energy weapons before more lives and ships are lost.
Alex selects the human colonies of New Terra, Haraken, Omnia, and Méridien to solicit their attendance. Unknowingly, he sails toward a deadly encounter.
The Omnians have their supporters, but they also have their detractors. Nowhere is that truer than on Méridien. Alex, Renée de Guirnon, his partner, and Julien, the SADE leader, have continually disrupted the long-held norms of the powerful Confederation Houses.
In one instance, Alex wins the rights for SADEs to be freed from their boxes. In another, he presses the Confederation Council to construct ships and supply crews to support Omnia Ships’ fights against the dangerous Nua’ll spheres and Artifice.
However, Alex’s influence is most heavily felt when Mahima Ganesh, the tyrannical Council Leader, is deposed. Her supporters never forgive Alex for his trespass, and one House Leader decides Alex must pay for that insult.
Leader Darse Lemoyne is a clever man, who hopes to deal with Alex. Also, he desperately wants to be rid of an ambitious daughter. Daphne Lemoyne covets the House, while she pretends to be a doting daughter. If Darse succeeds in this plot, he rids himself of one problem or the other. If fortune stands by him, he will be done with both.
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I'm a reader, I always have a book going, and while I read a variety of genres sci-fi has always been my favorite, and in particular the Space Opera has always been a huge draw for me. This one hits all the right notes.
I started when there was just one book and I told everyone I knew that they absolutely had to read it! I bought it for several fellow sci-fi fans, I so much wanted to share this amazing story with them. As each new book has come out sometimes I've re-read the series just for fun, but even if I don't, just seeing that there's a new book brightens my day.
Five stars doesn't seem sufficient for any single book, and certainly not for the entire series! I give a star for each book, which now brings it to 13 stars as I was just informed that the 13th book is out and I've just downloaded it. I know what I'll be doing with my snowy day, snuggled up in front of the fire with the dog on my lap. It's going to be an excellent day; :)
I've found some amazing authors through Kindle Unlimited, Jucha being one of them and Hugh Howey another. I am glad I took the chance on KU and on many of the new authors who probably wouldn't have made it to my reading list if I relied on what is only available at local bookstores or the "bestsellers" lists.
Imaginative, great characters, there is action but it isn't overdone, no sex or foul language. Entertaining and thought provoking. Highly recommend this series!
My only criticism (and it is a very minor one) is that at some points in a few of the books the story bogs down in details.
Over all this is a great series!