Published by Titan Books and written by Gareth L. Powell, Fleet of Knives is the sequel to Embers of War. A sequel I was GREATLY looking forward to as the events of the first book certainly left loose ends that needed tidying. This book picks up right where the first one left off. Sal Konstanz and her ship, the Trouble Dog, are faced with uncertainty in a Universe that now has the presence of an ancient alien fleet known as the ‘Marble Armada’. Sal and Trouble Dog awoke these sleeping ‘peace keepers’ on accident and gave them a purpose to end all war. Little did the two know, they unleashed a force hellbent on segregating humanity and severing ties to ALL technology.
As the Trouble Dog heads into Nymtoq territory in response to a distress call the Marble Armada is taken control of by Ona Sudak. Yes, THE Ona Sudak who was the “butcher of Pelapatarn”. THE Ona Sudak who was sentenced to death, rescued by Conglomeration Intelligence and secreted onto one of the Million Armada ships. That very Captain signaled the Marble Armada, now called ‘The Fleet of Knives’, to do whatever was necessary to end all war. Thus she started a NEW war on humanity as thousands of superior vessels swept through the Human Generality destroying ANYTHING with defensive properties; anything that was a weapon of war.
While Sal and the crew of the Trouble Dog work out their place in the Human Generality and The House of Reclamation, a different ship with a different crew settled into the hyper dimension with the goal of entering the Restless Itch. Befitting its name, this ENORMOUS asteroid turned ship has traveled back and forth on the edge of Nymtoq territory (an alien species of LARGE avians who don’t take crap from others) for thousands of years. As a ship meant to last generations, its AI has maintained the course it was given but BOY is it bored. So when that different ship with that different crew (aka the Lucy’s Ghost and “Lucky” Johnny) fell out of the hyper dimension with a chunk bit out of them, the Itch could not HELP but offer assistance. After all, it wasn’t like the Nymtoq were ever going to let it do something interesting again.
Johnny and his crew are down from ten to five. Their crash landing from the hyper dimension and onto the Resltess Itch was more than his ship, the Lucy’s Ghost, could handle. And yet, even though her metal carcass is floating in space far beyond their current location, a clone of Lucy stood before him. The ship he and his crew took refuge in absorbed her AI and cloned her into a REAL HUMAN BODY. Even stranger, when they crashed the creature who literally BIT THE SHIP IN HALF dropped some ‘fleas’ off on the Restless Itch. Faced with armored enemies in the form of giant space crawfish, several injured crew members, and a newly cloned ship…well, faced with all of that Johnny is feeling like his ‘luck’ has run out. That and his day just got REALLY weird.
Fleet of Knives is just as wonderful as Embers of War. The writing is fluid and easy to read (at 403 pages I got through this book in 6 hours). The descriptions are impeccable, the character development intriguing and the plot is immensely entertaining. So WHY am I frustrated? Well, put simply…CLIFF HANGER. Where Embers of War left you wondering how the universe would survive with new technology, Fleet of Knives makes you want to tear pages out in frustration because the story is SO GOOD WHY DID IT STOP AHHHHHHH! Albeit a necessary evil, this makes we want the third book MORE now.
This book is on book shelves and can be bought online at: https://titanbooks.com/9179-fleet-of-knives-an-embers-of-war-novel/