Wednesday, August 29, 2018

ARC Review: Her Majesty's American by Steve White

Her Majesty's American
Author: Steve White
Publication: Baen (September 4, 2018)

Description: THE UNION JACK TAKES TO SPACE! All-new alternate history science fiction from New York Times best-selling author Steve White.

In an alternate future where the British empire never crumbled, the space ships of Her Majesty’s Navy work to keep the spaceways safe. Commander Robert Rogers of the Royal Space Navy is a defense intelligence officer known for his unconventional ways. Rogers is American born-and-raised, a loyal citizen of the Viceroyalty of North America. He’s a descendant of the founder of the highly effective, pro-British Rogers’ Rangers during the Colonial unpleasantries of 1776, and he’s inherited his ancestor’s intelligence and drive in spades.

But there are those among the stars who are not so happy being subjects of the British Empire. In the Tau Ceti system, a cauldron of trouble brews as a terrorist faction of the rebellious Sons of Arnold attacks the empire from within, and warships of the theocratic Caliphate enters the system, prepared to do their worse to destroy the hated empire head on.  Yet standing against the coming anarchy and tyranny is one intrepid spy prepared to risk all for queen and empire:


My Thoughts: This book hits all the tropes and quite a few genres too. It is alternate history depicting a future when the American Revolution was lost and North America is part of the British Empire. It is science fiction taking place in a future where residents of Earth have expanded onto numerous planets and a faster-than-light drive has been developed. It is an espionage novel in that the hero Robert Rogers is an agent for Naval Intelligence trying to track down a terrorist plot.

Robert Rogers gets some information from a colleague telling him that the Caliphate (think very extreme Muslims in space) have some plans for something at New America - a planet settled by North Americans who aren't happy with the results of the failed American Revolution. At first, he is skeptical but when his colleague is killed in front of him he decides that this needs investigating.

Rogers travels to New America to check things out. He is assigned to work with Special Agent Grey Goldson from the New American Internal Security Agency. She is also skeptical about the existence of a Caliphate plan on a planet with few Muslims. Of course, her more usual activities are tracking the Sons of Arnold who are the secret group who want to "free" North America from the Empire.

Grey and Robert are ambushed when they are returning from a meeting but rescued by Empire security. Shortly after they are ambushed again this time with Grey's assistance. Turns out she's a member of the Sons of Arnold. Extremists in that organization called the Sons of Wilkinson are working with members of a Caliphate trade delegation to further their plans. This comes as a surprise to Grey that the Sons of Wilkinson even exists. But the bigger surprise is that the Caliphate is working with an alien group who also want to destabilize the Empire.

This book has plots within plots and schemes aplenty. Robert reminds me of a sort of James Bond in space - super competent, bright, a babe magnet, and completely loyal to the goals of the Empire. Grey is more a character of mystery since her loyalties seem to keep shifting.

I liked the fast pace and the space adventures in this story. I'd be glad to read of Robert Rogers further adventures defending the Empire.

Favorite Quote:
Her look grew even odder, and more intense. "But they're aliens -- and aliens whose government is hostile to the Empire, at that. Why did you give a damn?"

He matched her look for look. "They're sentient beings. And I don't believe in random mass killing. Only fanatics do -- people so obsessed with ideological abstractions that life means nothing to them. The kind of people that the Empire has prevented from ruining the world in the name of some fine-sound ideal or other."
I received this one in exchange for an honest review from Edelweiss. You can buy your copy here.

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