Whenever I start the second or later book in a series, I have a dilemma. Do I go back and re-read the first book(s), or just dive right into the latest release?
To help readers with this, I include a summary of the previous books. I try to make these funny, and have done this for all my novels.
BE WARNED! If you haven’t read the books being summarized, there are massive spoilers on these pages!
You can read the rest of the summaries here.
Let’s get to it.
In an announcer voice: “Last time, on Void Wraith…”
Four months have passed. Nolan used it as a training montage (Google ‘Team America Montage’), and has been getting his ass kicked daily by Fizgig. They’re out of contact, have nothing but goop to eat and plenty of time.
Meanwhile, Dryker, Khar, and Juliard have been imprisoned by the Primo. They’re ‘guests’ aboard the First Light, a Primo vessel controlled by The Voice, Celendra. During their forced stay, humanity and Tigris go to war, because the Void Wraith used altered footage from the battle in the Ghantan system to get humanity to attack.
Both sides have taken savage casualties, and Dryker can’t do anything but watch. He’s pretty butt-hurt about it, but we don’t blame him because we are also a little butt-hurt.
The Primo take more time than the frigging Ents in Lord of the Rings, debating whether or not they should talk about doing something. It’s like the American political system, basically. They call a moot, with every Primo vessel attending.
Dryker’s all…so guys, you realize the Void Wraith are just going to wait until you’re all here, and then attack, right? And the Primo are all Psssshh, there’s no way they’d be bold enough to attack us. Dryker preemptively prepares his ‘I told you so’ speech, which comes in handy when the Void Wraith *gasp* attack the moot. Most of the Primo are wiped out, and the survivors retreat to a hidden system to lick their wounds.
Nolan and Fizgig finally reach a Helios Gate, and head to a human mining station in an out of the way system to get access to a Quantum transmitter. The weasily guy running the place is horrified when he hears that Nolan has Tigris on his vessel. That makes Nolan a traitor. He claims there’s a war on, and tells Nolan to leave. Nolan docks anyway, and we find out that he’s been to the station before.
It’s like he had a whole other adventure, one the author wants you to be curious about so you’ll read the prequel, Exiled. Anyway, we meet Annie, a tough-as-nails miner who used to be a soldier. She and Hannan become fast friends, and Annie joins the crew. They take the transmitter from poor Administrator Bock, and finally reconnect to the Quantum network.
So like I said, the war between humanity and the Tigris was caused by doctored footage of the battle in the Ghantan system. The footage shows humanity wiping out the Tigris, but conveniently leaves out the big-ass Void Wraith bomb and factory. Nolan knows he doesn’t have the political clout to use the real footage. No one will listen to him. But they may listen to war hero Dryker. Nolan tries finding him, but there’s been no word of the captain’s whereabouts since the fight in the Ghantan system.
Nolan is dismayed that he can’t reach Dryker, but he’s received a message from Kathryn. He doesn’t know that she’s been infected with a Gorthian larva, but he’s also not a total dumbshit. He agrees to meet her in a public place to exchange intel on the last four months, knowing there is a chance it’s an ambush.
We’ve already seen Kathryn’s perspective, so we know it’s a trap set by Reid. Nolan and Kathryn get into a scuffle, and Kathryn is amazed that Nolan can fight (talk about a montage). Nolan and his squad narrowly escape, and they now know that Kathryn has been compromised. They also know there’s a war on, and that they have to find a way to prove that the war was started with a lie. But how?
Cut to Dryker. The Primo are all, like what just happened? Somebody kicked our asses. Dryker gives his ‘I told you so’ speech, and the Primo realize they’re not all that good at fighting. Since they consider humanity incredibly militaristic, they figure Dryker is an excellent commander. The Primo put him in charge, committing their remaining fleet to his service.
Nolan finally links up with Dryker and the Primo, and we get the happy reunions we’ve been waiting for. They bring each other up to speed on how lame the war is, then come up with a pretty terrible plan. Fizgig and Khar will expose the Void Wraith, and try to oust Admiral Mow. Dryker will gather the 11th fleet, since he knows they don’t give a crap about command and will actually listen when he presents the evidence from the battle of Ghantan.
Nolan heads to a Primo library, where they hope to learn more about the Void Wraith’s origins. Kathryn gets there at the same time, and manages to sneak a cloaked harvester past the Primo’s absurdly scary defenses. She and about two hundred Judicators (I just made that up, I have no idea how many I actually said in Void Wraith) brawl with Nolan’s crew. Edwards gets to fight another Alpha for the first time, and he kicks its ass. It’s pretty cool.
Hold on, I’m going to go back and read that chapter. Okay back. Yeah, that chapter rocked. Annie, Hannan, and Edwards all had some cool roles to play in the library fight.
Anyway, Nolan gets ambushed by Kathryn, Delta, and two other cybermarines. Reid remains behind on the Sparhawk. Kathryn gets the drop on Nolan, and it looks like he’s screwed. Then Delta unexpectedly defects. He and Nolan take down Kathryn and her goons, then successfully flee the library. They put Kathryn into suspended animation, hoping they can find a way to safely remove the larva.
Dryker and Juliard terrorize Ceres station using a Primo carrier, which gets the immediate attention of his old buddies in the 14th (since they protect the station). He arranges a meeting with the most influential captains in the 14th, and convinces them to join him. In exchange, Dryker will have their vessels outfitted with Primo weaponry. They’re reluctant, but Dryker has the real footage from the Ghantan system. He proves they’ve been lied to, and that convinces them.
Meanwhile Admiral Chu is being disgusting. The larva is slowly transforming his body, and the admiral realizes it will hatch soon. Since he’s got time to kill, he decides to be a dick and wipe out the Tigris homeworld. Chu leads several of humanity’s best fleets, including the vaunted 11th. Normally, the Tigris orbital defense platforms would make short work of any human attack, but the Tigris Admiral Mow ‘mysteriously’ ordered them away. Tigrana is defenseless, and humanity bombs the shit out of it. This couldn’t come at a worse time, almost like the author planned it that way.
Fizgig has finally tracked down Mow, and challenges him for leadership. The attack on Tigrana forces her to withdraw that challenge. Most of the Tigris follow Mow to Tigrana to battle the humans, which is exactly what the Void Wraith want. Both militaries will be wiped out.
Fizgig, tired of Mow’s bullshit, does something unprecedented. She founds her own pride, Pride Fizgig. Fizgig takes in all the nameless Tigris, her ranks swelling with the castoffs other prides won’t take. There’s like, some real symbolism here and shit. Fizgig is taking the untouchables, and Dryker has already done the same with humanity’s castoff 14th fleet. It’s soldiers of the line circumventing their messed-up command structures to pull out victory in spite of the tools at the top. I think that’s like a theme. If you’re in school, check with your English teacher. Maybe they’ll know.
Anyway, Fizgig, Dryker, and Nolan come up with a plan. Admiral Chu is in charge, and many of his captains have been implanted with the same sort of chip that Delta has. Now that Delta has defected, they’re able to study the chip. They figure out how to send a jamming signal to the chip. All they need to do is wait for Chu to use the transmitter, then they can trace the source. They’ll jam his signal, which will stop him from controlling anyone. Once they do, Nolan’s cloaked harvester will find him and take him out.
Fizgig and her new pride head to Tigrana. Dryker grabs the 14th, and they head there too. There’s a massive space battle with all sorts of pew pew, even though you can’t hear pew pew in space. Every race is getting chewed up. Things are looking really bad, and our heroes will only get one shot at this. Do they pull it off? Of course they do. Heroes, remember?
Dryker convinces humanity to join him, which forces Chu to use the chip. They then block the signal, so the captains remain unaffected. All human fleets join Dryker, pulling back from the Tigris home world. Fizgig takes the opportunity to attack Mow’s flagship.
She boards, and in an absolutely epic battle fights her way to the bridge for a final confrontation with Mow. They duel, and Mow proves to be freakishly strong. Fizgig is badly wounded, but Mow underestimates her and she tears out his throat. The Tigris fall into line behind Fizgig, and she orders them to pull back. The battle stops.
Meanwhile, Nolan’s cloaked harvester attacks Chu’s ship. Nolan, Hannan, Delta, and Annie make for the bridge. Nolan’s montage serves him well, and he’s now kind of a badass in combat. Not like Fizgig badass, but more of a ‘Hannan is proud of him’ kind of badass.
They find Chu on the bridge, but his transformation has already begun. He’s now covered in a mass of ropey flesh tendrils forming some sort of cocoon. Nolan, in a scene John Carpenter would be proud of, fights his way inside the cocoon. They kill whatever Chu was going to turn into, and find the transmitter. They’ve won.
All three surviving governments now know about the Void Wraith fleet, and their tattered remnants are ready to fight for their lives. Their only hope? Nolan has learned of an ancient Primo vessel called the Forge. It was the only weapon the Void Wraith and their Gorthian masters ever feared, and if Nolan can find it, they have a chance.
On to Eradication!