Call to Arms - a solid middle book in the Black Fleet Trilogy
Sci-fi authors do love their tropes, especially when they write a series focused on the discovery of an overwhelming alien threat, which has been done many times before. Invariably, after it becomes obvious that humanity is not prepared and faces a real possibility of being wiped out, the story turns inward and the human infighting commences. This is also where I sigh as the story goes on a tangent from the storyline that has my attention; however, much like he did in book one, Joshua Dalzelle embraces this typical trope and finds a way to deliver a compelling story anyway. This means that Call to Arms is more about human interactions than it is about the alien threat looming in the distance, but it is still worthy of your attention and it does set things up nicely for the series finale.
Humanity has no answers for the threat coming its way from the aliens now known as the Phage but they do have Captain Jackson Wolfe and he better be enough. Unfortunately, Captain Wolfe is sent on a mission to deal with a conflict between human factions, and that means the Phage are free to do as they will. While trying to carry out his mission as quickly as possible Wolfe comes across some information that leads him to distrust his leadership even more than he already does and he plans to get to the bottom of it. Once again he teams up with CIS Operative Pike to get to the truth of matters while everyone hopes that the Phage continue to stall their advance for an unknown reason.
Luckily, things do finally turn to the Phage towards the end of the book and the story picks up momentum towards a final desperate confrontation. This is where Dalzelle both disappointed and intrigued me. After a Deus Ex Machina moment that left me thinking the series had taken a turn for the worse there was once again an epilogue that piqued my interest for the third and final book in the series. With the context that I now have after completing the entire series I can look back on the event that caused me to doubt the author and know that it fits into the story better than it initially seemed.
For audiobook fans, Mark Boyett does another excellent job on the narration, and without a doubt his reading makes this one a worthy listen.