Top positive review
One of the best Mil Sci-Fi I have ever read!
Reviewed in the United States on September 25, 2021
If you are looking for a Mil Sci-Fi story, then this is absolutely the best book to grab without a doubt. It is not only brilliant in its fast-paced action, but the first person storytelling, and just the quality of the characters lends this breathtaking urgency and excitement to what is just an outstanding opening episode to the USS Hamilton Series.
We are introduced to Commander Galvin Quintos, the XO of the USS Hamilton, one of the Earth’s Navies Dreadnaughts, an ageing starship that has seen better days, but is still a powerful and deadly ship, and one of the centrepieces of the fleet.
When they are ambushed by an alien race known as the Grish, an aggressive race that Humanity is in a multi-sided war with, that they are struggling to stay ahead of, the USS Hamilton, and the fleet that they are with is decimated, the 8 ships being culled to 3, and those 3 in a very bad state. One of them is the mighty USS Hamilton, battered, but far from defeated.
However, during the battle, Captain Tannock, the Hamilton’s Captain, is severely wounded, and is not able to continue. Further to this, both of the captains on the other 2 surviving ships have also been killed, leaving our main character, Galvin Quintos, as the highest ranking officer in what remains of the battered fleet.
Quintos quickly steps up, although he feels out of place, and like he is not fit for the job. He has a long history of insubordination, and not following the rules both in his role as a former fighter jock, and in his current role as an XO. It is not so much that he is a bad officer, just that he does things that aren’t regulation when he tries to find a solution to a problem. He tends to think outside of the box, and in his early years, this got him into trouble for his unconventional thinking. However, he has not been without supporters, with Admiral Block having noticed him, and taken an interest in his career.
Now onboard the ship, he and the bridge crew must face a slew of challenges, for the ship is without its A.I. system, known as “Mother”, which has been damaged in the fighting. Mother controls just about everything onboard the ship, from propulsion, so missile targeting and food dispensing.
To make matters even worse, Quintos has only just learned that he has two very important delegates on board his ship that are desperately needed on Earth as it is a matter of life and death for basically the human race.
As Quintos is trying to save his ship, the fleet, determine how to save Earth, he learns that someone on board is killing crew members in a very graphic way. So now he has a murderer to hunt.
The story is just incredibly fast-paced, compelling and utterly engaging. Although the story is in first person mode, and it is largely from Galvin’s point of view, it does hop to other characters at the time as well, building this tension so that you never fully understand what is happening, even though you have just been with some of the primary characters.
McGinnis uses his characters to tell the story with such realism, it is so gritty and at times intensely brutal. Galvin Quintos is just brilliant as he tells his story. His character is fascinating, a mix of this complex in-depth background, and yet, he is a very impulsive character that follows his emotional instincts. It is these instincts that have allowed him to make some inspired decisions (albeit ones that are totally against any sort of regulation or previously approved tactics), and whilst they are effective, they go against everything that he has been taught. McGinnis has captured this character so well, just the cocky attitude, the underlying insecurity, but also his uncompromising courage and determination when it really comes to crunch time. His character has so much depth, and there is a lot of history and complexity within his personality that makes Quintos not only captivating but just fascinating to.
The Commander/Captain is not the only character who engages you though, as there are so many others, from the beautiful, but fiery Dr Vivian Leigh, the always morose Chief of Security Alistair Mattis, to his direct opposite, the very perky, and always happy Gail Pristy. Also on the bridge is the Science Officer Stefan Derrota, and at the start, there is the original Captain, Eli Tannock.
Along with this, there is the Chief of Engineering, Craig Porter, and the Commander of the Pilots, Wallace Ryder.
All of these characters are just brilliant, a couple get their own individual storylines, and the chance to have their own chapters, but most just turn up in Quintos’ character feed. However, McGinnis has provided so much depth to each of these characters that we feel that we know them.
The character and world building is another exceptional part of this story, in which McGinnis has provided so much incredible depth and detail that you quite literally feel that you are walking the decks of the Hamilton with Quintos as he tells his story. By the end of this book, you really feel like you know the Hamilton like you knew the Enterprise from Star Trek, and it just adds so much more depth to what is such an extraordinary Mil Sci-Fi story.
If you love Mil Sci-Fi, you have to read this, as it is one of the best Mil Sci-Fi, I have read, from so many different aspects, story, characters, world-building, tech, the USS Hamilton herself, McGinnis has just excelled with putting together what is an exhilarating thrill-ride as an XO, thrust into a role he doesn’t want, and doesn’t think he is ready for, must face off against a dangerous foe, to save his ship, and 2 others, thousands of lives, and what he is told is potentially the lives of everyone on Earth. On top of that, someone is killing crew members in a brutal manner, his ship doesn’t work, and he has one officer with a crush on him, and another contacting high command trying to get him sacked. This book has everything you could want and more. It is an absolute must read!!