Sunday, September 25, 2011

Book #47 - Helfort's War Book 4: The Battle for Commitment Planet

Helfort is back. I went back and re-read the first three books in preparation for Book 4, and really enjoyed this story. The one downside, which really annoys me, is that this book ends like Book 3, with a cliffhanger that has you wondering what is coming next. I prefer books to standalone, and this one doesn't do that.

We pick up with a little backstory from book 3. Helfort has achieved a lot, but Anna is captured by the Hammer, and Polk realizes who he has. He gives Helfort 3 months to make his way to surrender. Meanwhile Helfort is assigned to a remote backwater system to keep him away from action and presumably not give the Hammer Worlds a target. The reason is not to have his troops be in more danger than otherwise.

As Helfort struggles, he receives the last of the dreadnaught squadron to command and continues to train his crews to manage them. When they find out his situation, they work with him to commit treason and get to Commitment, the Hammer home world. Without the need to escape, they can attack the planet and rescue the Federation prisoners and release them into the wild of the planet. They manage to do it, reuniting Anna and other prisoners who are shocked at the treason committed. However it's a chance to take the war to the Hammers, with the NRA rebels.

The second half of the book is the view of Helfort and Anna, married now, struggling to fight the guerrilla war against the Hammer. They have some success, but only so much. The number of troops the Hammer can muster is far beyond what the rebels have. Despite some wins, it's a slow war of attrition that will doom the NRA.

The Hammer is hurting, but not enough. The book ends with Helfort's plant to escape and get back to the Federation to ask for help. We'll find out in book 5 if it works.

The writing is good, the gory, difficult life of the rebels revealed, the anger of the Federation prisoners at treason and their struggle to integrate. The fear Helfort feels for himself, and Anna in various situations, including the hard decision to leave the Federation. It's a great read, and though it stands on the first three, it's worth reading.

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