The Road to the Goberlings is a ship of secrets. Its Captain, Hammond Royston apparently knows something about a lost planet of riches. Josune Arriola is posing as a junior engineer to keep an eye on Royston until her ship, the Hassim can intercept them. Nika Rik Terri, the famous body modder, is trying to escape an assassin, the powerful corporation that employs him, and her abusive ex-boyfriend who got her into this mess. One peaceful cargo ship is suddenly at the top of the galaxy's most wanted list and on the run for their lives.
As he did in Snow Crash, Neal Stephenson once again constructs a bizarre dystopian world composed of an eclectic combination of future technologies and ancient traditions and uses it as the backdrop to tell a unique story. At its core this is a coming of age tale about a young girl named Nell who comes to possess a very special book known as the Young Lady's Illustrated Primer. This book is an engineering marvel that is fully interactive and capable of customizing itself to match its reader in order to prepare them for the challenges they will face on their journey to adulthood. In Nell's case the book ultimately winds up raising her in place of her parents and it enables her to survive amid the chaos that eventually comes her way from the unpredictable society around her.
The Extinction Cycle series picks back up as the fight against the Juveniles heads over to Europe. Kryptonite did its job against the Variants but the Juveniles are growing up now and they are much worse. Luckily in the U.S. most of the major cities have been reclaimed and there are now Safe Zones being established where refugees are gathering to start to rebuilding process; however, Europe is a different story. Over there the Juvenile threat was not dealt with when they were still young and now they have grown into something far worse than their US counterparts. That's bad news for everyone.
At the end of the last book, Plum Island was attacked and the Variants captured Dr. Lovato thus putting humanity's last hope in jeopardy. Kate was working on a new Variant killing weapon, Kryptonite, and Plum Island was the key to that weapon being ready on time. Of course Master Sergeant Reed Beckham is not going to stand around while the woman he loves is taken to her death by a bunch of mutants so this book starts off right in the action with a rescue mission that is a race against time.
The number of humans left alive continues to drop at an alarming rate and there isn't much time left. It has only been a few weeks since the apocalypse began and so far all efforts to slow it down have failed. The Variants control all of the major cities and Central Command is being moved to the last remaining Naval strike group as no place on the mainland remains safe. Does that even matter now that it is obvious that the military leadership can't be trusted? Team Ghost knows that they will pay for their actions at the end of the last book and all they can do at this point is to protect Dr Lovato at all costs. She is the only hope there is of coming up with a solution before it is too late and nothing can be allowed to happen to her. At least things can't actually get any worse at this point can they? Actually, yes they can...
Mankind has experienced many ages over the years, but few could have predicted the age that would come next. As the Industrial Age gave way to the Information Age the possibilities for advancement were endless but out of nowhere the Extinction Age was upon us. With the human population falling at an alarming rate humanity has only a handful of weeks remaining before going extinct unless something is done to change the trajectory. With Operation Liberty a failure it is now obvious that the military is not the answer so all eyes return to Dr. Kate Lovato in the hope that science can offer up an answer before it is too late. To make matters worse, resupply from central command is not possible so there may not even be enough food to sustain Kate and her team for the little time that remains.
By the end of book one it was revealed that Dr. Kate Lovato's bio weapon, which she designed to destroy the zombie hordes, was quite effective, but also not effective enough. Doing the math we know that 80% of the human race had turned into flesh craving zombies before her weapon was deployed, and that her weapon killed billions of them, but it also left behind a resistant strain of Variants. The real question is, how many Variants are there and what are they capable of? Do they number in the thousands or the millions? Can this new threat of intelligent, agile Variants be contained or is it actually a bigger problem than the billions of mindless zombies that were wiped out?
Ebola is one of the scariest threats to humanity that nature has to offer and we live in fear of nature morphing the disease into something that can't be contained. Of course this means that a military project to weaponize the disease can't possibly have a good outcome so when a facility working on such a project goes dark, Delta Force Team Ghost is called upon to investigate what happened. Master Sergeant Reed Beckham has led his team into danger many times but this time he is not prepared for what they find. With the military leadership telling only half truths to keep their involvement in the project a secret, team Ghost finds itself involved in a series of events that could very will mean extinction for the human race.
If you are considering picking up book 3 of the Expeditionary Force series then you already know what to expect as the formula doesn't change at all. Facing an impossible situation Colonel Joe will come up with a clever idea that somehow eluded Skippy's vast intellect and then the crew of the Flying Dutchman will execute the plan, which in turn will lead to the next impossible situation. (Lather. Rinse. Repeat.) Of course the entire sequence of events is always laden with the typical banter between Skippy and Joe so the only real hope of this book being something unique is the progression of the larger story arc. Is that enough to make it worthy of your time?
If you enjoyed book one of the Expeditionary Force series and wanted more of the same kind of humor then Craig Alanson has you covered here; however, if you were starting to get tired of hearing "stupid monkey" insults being hurled at the human crew of the Flying Dutchman, then you should definitely steer clear of this one. The story heads back into space when Joe Bishop and an elite crew of special forces and scientists attempt to help Skippy find the Elders who created him. A mission that must be carried out in secrecy because if anyone figures out that humanity has a ship capable of traveling through wormholes then Earth will become a target once again. But there is no need to worry because nothing will go wrong with Joe Bishop and Skippy working together to lead the mission, right? lol