I don’t often review books, but I’m making an exception here because a writer whose work I like has branched out into a new field. Space Opera. So it would be churlish not to mention it so others get a chance to look at what he’s doing.
Scout Pilot of the Free Union
Infinity is for losers.
By Will Macmillan Jones
Published by Red Kite Publishing
Just to note that I received advanced copies in return for an unbiased review
The books follow the career (in this case, career as in ‘When the brakes failed, the wagon careered downhill’) of Captain Frank Eric Russell, who becomes a Scout pilot of the Free Union. The stories are told by the good Captain in the first person.
This means that we whilst we see events through the eyes of our hero, we also begin to realise that he is in some things an unreliable observer. It begins to dawn upon the reader that Russell is a far better pilot and far more generally competent than he admits.
The universe is divided between three main powers. The first two that we meet are the Free Union, which our hero serves, and the Imperium, who are the enemy in waiting. There is no war between the two but there is a constant bickering at the outposts and attempts to destabilise the other. Finally there are the Merchant Princes, who happily trade with anybody.
In the first book, ‘Scout Pilot of the Free Union’, each chapter seems to be a separate mission and a separate story. But eventually you start to realise that there is a common thread starting to pull them together, until by the time you get into the second book, ‘Infinity is for losers’, we see that our hero is caught up in something far more complicated and dangerous than he first thought. I have no intention of saying more and spoiling the plot for anybody.
This isn’t hard military SF; similarly we are spared being plunged into some dark angst ridden dystopia, these stories are Space Opera. Admittedly there are times when Russell sees his superiors as a bigger threat to his survival than the enemy, but I suspect many service personnel could empathise with this.
Will Macmillan Jones is a story teller and a fine one. As I read these books I found myself swept along by the story.
At some point it appears the modern reviewer has to award ‘stars’. It’s not longer good enough to describe something as a ‘cracking good read.’ But I am not a number, I am a free man. I will wave my hand airily and announce that these books are undoubtedly somewhere betwixt and between four and five stars.
The far more important question is will I read the rest of the series. Too damned right I will. I’m looking forward to them and when they arrive I’ll tear open the packet and start reading. They’re fun!