Duel in the Dark: Blood on the Stars I

Duel in the Dark: Blood on the Stars I - Jay Allan Duel in the Dark is a good start of a new series, Blood on the Stars, from Jay Allan. It is an action filled story which essentially is a prelude to an all out war. It has good world building, enjoyable characters and plenty of action.

The underlying premise of the story is the all too common one, in fiction as well as in real life. The Confederation has beaten the enemy once, actually three times, and once the threat seemed to be gone dumbass politicians have let their defense forces slip. Why spend money on defending the nation when you can be shortsighted and use the money to buy votes for the next election. Of course the threat was not gone, at least not forever, and now the bad guys are knocking on the door once again. Invasion is imminent.

In this first book we focus on Captain Tyler Barron and his battleship the Dauntless. After 10 months on the front lines Dauntless is sent on a mission intended to be somewhat of a vacation for the crew. Well, there would not be a story worth reading if that was true would there? Political machinations and backstabbing abound and Barron finds himself face to face with a unexpected and ruthless enemy in the flagship of the enemies fleet. It’s clobbertime!

For the large part of the book we get to follow the Dauntless and her crew as they go head to head with the enemy. Battleship against battleship. We get to know Captain Barron and the enemy captain in pretty much equal parts. There is plenty of action, both on the surface of the planet that resides in the playing field of the duel and, of course, in space. It is a ruthless battle and both ships have more holes in them than a Swiss cheese towards the end.

Barron and his crew are quite likable and, surprisingly enough, the enemy captain becomes almost likable towards the end. There is a second book out already so it is really not much of a spoiler when I say that Dauntless survives if only just barely.

It is a well written military science fiction story. It is quite tense, moving forward at a brisk pace and the action as well as the parts of the story that glues the action together is definitely well done.

I have no hesitation about jumping on the next book in the series.