Fear God and Dread Naught - things heat up in the war.
Ark Royal book 8 picks up right after the events of book 7, Vanguard. The first engagement of the war is now over and both Susan Onarina and Georgina Fitzwilliam find themselves in very different situations based on their decisions during that conflict. Vanguard barely survived to make it home under Susan's leadership and upon return to Earth she finds herself taken into custody for relieving Vanguard's former commander. Although she is quite certain that he was unfit for duty, Susan knew at the time that taking such a drastic step would have consequences and now is the time to find out just what those consequences are. On the other hand, Georgina is now in the uncomfortable role of being first middy in charge of four new midshipmen and she is not certain that she is ready for this new responsibility.
As both lead characters face their new challenges head on, humanity must sort out what role it is going to play in the new war. The two new enemy species are much closer to tadpole space than they are to human space so many governments feel that we should hold back resources and worry about ourselves first. Of course, we do have a treaty that obligates us to fight alongside the tadpoles and if they are unable to defend their space then we would be next anyway, so the military leadership stresses that doing our part now is really in our best interest. Humans being humans is always annoying.
Being the middle book of a trilogy, little is resolved by the end of this one but the story does advance for both the main characters and the story arc. I am certainly enjoying this more than the second trilogy and would say it is on par with the original, although that one was still a little better just because the stakes were higher. Ralph Lister continues to narrate the audiobook version and his many British accents remain a solid choice, although as is usual his performance is good but not great.