Nate and his friends in Ironclad Squadron are returning to the fleet when they detect a mysterious signal. Sensing a trap, Colonel Gun sends Nate out alone in his captured fighter to scout the source. The signal is emitting from inside the heart of the abandoned Kalar Anchorage. This massive facility was once the Byotai Empire's greatest shipyard, but now it lies cold and lifeless. Or does it? Upon arrival Nate runs headlong into the center of a fierce battle. On one side are the numerous forces of the insidious Orion Interstellar Empire. On the other, the powerful attack cruisers of the Byotai outlaw, Warlord Katanga.
Kalar Anchorage has become a refuge for the lost and the damned. The former facility is populated by displaced people and wounded soldiers that have fought, and lost against Star Empire incursions. As well as the exhausted crews of a number of ships. Yet the forces of Katanga, though weakened by the fighting, still wish vengeance upon those that seek their utter annihilation. Katanga's desire for further violence may come earlier than expected. An entire fleet along with numerous ground forces has entered the system, and they will not leave until every defender is dead or captured. With no time to fully abandon the station, the preliminary skirmishes erupt into a major battle. The last stronghold that stands between the Orion Interstellar Empire and the hastily mobilized fleets of the Alliance. The Siege of Kalar has begun.
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"... Unholy monsters."
The galactic battles continue in this fast paced military S.F. series, with enough action to satisfy the most ardent fan. Without being overly technically detailed, the fight scenes are exciting as the dreaded Star Empire push forward. And there are surprises in store with the discovery that not as many Byotai ships had been destroyed as previously believed - and they are commanded by the legendary Warlord Katanga.
Although this can be heard as a standalone, the plunging directly into battle status is initially confusing without knowledge of the previous books. But only briefly, as the individual characters emerge in their distinct situations. The writing is thrilling, if a little Boys' Own in style, with some silly sentences such as , "...She pushed her body to the limit, and then further." But, overall, good fighting fun.
Narrator Andrew Wehrien helps bring tension to the action with his fast, intense reading and his dramatisation of the various protagonists breathes life into individual personalities. A good performance throughout which definitely enhances the written text.
My thanks to the rights holder who gifted me my copy of Star Crusaders: Seige of Kalar, via Audiobook Boom. I enjoyed the quirky incidents amongst the battles and, although not the best, this is a worthy inclusion in the battle for the stars of military fiction.
- Norma Miles