The Barbarian Bride - a solid conclusion to the series
With the events that occurred at the end of book 2, The Shadow of Cincinnatus, the stage was set for an epic showdown between the Federation and the Outsiders. The Federation has stood for over 1,000 years but it is riddled with problems that may not have any answers. Emperor Marius remains dedicated to the ideals of the Federation and he has shown that he will do anything to protect it, but that very attitude is likely to be his undoing. Despite his failing state of mind, and the deep economic and social flaws that are fracturing the Federation, there is still one thing that can ultimately unite them - a fear of subjugation by aliens. Along come the Outsiders who are offering progressive economic and social changes that are attractive to many, but they have allied themselves with multiple alien races and that is a bridge too far. This book reveals once and for all which of humanities many flaws will ultimately dictate the winner in this epic fight for the future.
Solid military sci-fi is what Christopher G. Nuttall is about and he delivers more of the same in this final installment of the series. As the Outsiders head towards a final showdown at Earth their fleet encounters resistance along the way that must be met efficiently if they are to have any chance of winning. That being said, ultimately this war will be decided by human loyalties over military tactics. Each side in this war has a weak foundation that it is built upon and neither side can afford to lose the wrong person at the wrong time. This one builds up to a satisfying conclusion that provides the payoff for some of the slower parts of the series.
For audiobook fans Tim Gerard Reynolds does his usual excellent work but it should be noted that this one ends with a long political rant by the author. I found it off putting to end the series with a rant about the real world even if the author ties his fictional Federation back to ancient Rome and the current day US.