We Lead - the conclusion of the 3rd Ark Royal trilogy
The latest interstellar war has been a back and forth affair so far, but an advancement in technology on the human side of the equation offers up a unique opportunity. So far the enemy has had the tech advantage due to their faster-than-light (FTL) communications, which allows them to react much faster than the humans or tadpoles, but now FTL travel without a tramline is becoming a reality. This means that ships will no longer need to take a predictable path from one star system to another and humanity can strike directly at the home world of the enemy. There is a catch though: it is a one way trip, which means it is a win or die mission for every ship involved.
Of course Vanguard is one of those ships and this one-way scenario allows for a build up to a high stakes conclusion. Susan and Georgina both find their lives on the line in very different ways as humanity goes for the knockout punch. Avoiding a long drawn out war that we probably can't win has a lot of appeal and the nature of the foxes to completely surrender when they are beaten makes this tactic a viable one. Of course this new technology is not without its kinks and Nuttall never hesitates to use that as an excuse to create some of his bigger plot points. In past books I have had issues with how contrived some of those scenarios would feel but in this case it worked for me. This book is a solid conclusion to the 3rd trilogy and a definite step up from the second trilogy.
Overall I have enjoyed my time with Ark Royal books, and there are plenty more of them, but I am not sure I am going to proceed further than this. The next two books go back in time to revisit the first interstellar war to tell more stories in that setting and then book 12 starts up a new trilogy to move the story arc forward once again. I may pick up with book 12 at some point, but for now I am happy with where things are at the end of this book. Ralph Lister narrates the audiobook version and frankly it wouldn't be an Ark Royal book without him, even if he isn't my favorite narrator.