Reckoning - the conclusion of the Ixan Prophecies
Captain Keyes is not the same man he used to be and he has emerged from his captivity placing vengeance above all else. He is also willing to pay any price to get it. None of this is good news for his crew or his allies since the enemy fleet is far larger than they ever imagined. Even so, the real threat to team Keyes is not the enemy fleet itself but rather the Advanced AI that is controlling it. The presence of the AI behind the scenes makes things more complicated for everyone caught up in this mess and that AI is quite capable of out thinking anyone fighting against it. It has been lurking in the background for quite a long time and it planned for this very war long ago when it wrote the original Ixan Prophecies. Using its incredible ability to predict the future the AI put the prophecies into play many years ago and so far they are proving to be quite accurate. Is this a case of the AI predicting the future or are the prophecies themselves a form of manipulation? Free will may be battling destiny in this war but no matter which side you believe in there is no denying that the prophecies have always fortold the destruction of humanity.
This series has really picked up steam as it has gone along and everything is on the line in this final book as Keyes and his alien allies fight against overwhelming odds to prevent the Ixan Prophecies from coming true. It will all come down to the price each of them is willing to pay to do what is right because nobody is going to get through this unscathed. Scott Bartlett has elevated the overall story from what appeared to be a battle between alien races in the first book to a struggle of multiple races against an Advanced AI. An AI that was designed to prove it could control the galaxy, which also sets the stage for the follow-on series that takes place a number of years later. It would have been easy for me to bail on this series at the start because of the initial lack of compelling human characters but I am glad I stuck with it. By the time this one ended there were plenty of characters to care about, although I still prefer the aliens, and the story arc itself built up to an epic conclusion.
For the audiobook version Mark Boyett does a great job narrating the whole series and on Audible all 3 books can be picked up in a boxed set for a single credit, which is definitely worthwhile.