I read this book a couple of years ago and while I’ve been on a bit of a LitRPG quest recently, I recently came back to this universe with Shadows of the Fall (Duchy of Terra Book 8) which was quite enjoyable. I thought, however, that before we get into what happened in that book, it made sense to explain everything that had come before so you had a full and complete grounding.

In the Terran Privateer, the Earth is on the brink of a technological renaissance with the discovery of inertialess hyperspeed drives, and compressed matter armor. However, this discovery puts them square in the crosshairs of the universe at large which they realize when an alien armada destroys the UESF (United Earth Space Force) and takes control of the Earth.

While this occupying force is a self-proclaimed benevolent race, the remaining government of the Earth determines their only hope is with Captain Annette Bond. Bond commands the Tornado – Earth’s only experimental hyperspace cruiser & provided with a letter of marque, she sets off to find allies and technology that she can take back to Earth to help remove the occupying force.

Written by Glynn Stewart, the Terran Privateer is a much more ambitious story and universe than the one that I previously read in his book Space Carrier Avalon. In this universe, there are a host of different aliens, each with their own motivations and desires, and the Earth is almost an afterthought to the larger struggles at play.

Characters (4.0)

While there are other bit characters around, from the old French Admiral to the lonely tech genius, this story is all about the lonely Captain Annette Bond and her struggles to save Earth from the perceived tyranny of alien occupation.

Her story actually starts before the invasion when we learn that she was drummed out of the service by other officers when she tried to bring a rapist to justice. While a bit heavy-handed, it does serve to give her a bit of justification and validation, but it is sad that none of the other officers backed her as it’s hard to believe a worldwide navy would allow such corruption to continue.

Now, while I stated the story is all about Captain Bond, I might have been fibbing just a bit. When we talk about important characters, we cannot afford to ignore the alien occupiers themselves. As the story progresses we learn that the A’Tol Imperium truly is benevolent. While they might be occupying Earth, they do so in some respects to help keep humanity safe. For along with the A’Tol, another race of slave trading aliens is also on Earth’s doorstep.

When discussing the aliens of the A’Tol – one we get exposed to over the course of many books is K’Tana. Her introduction helps us understand the A’Tol in a way that would otherwise be impossible. While her inclusion is convenient as a plot device and guide, it is also well done and I can excuse it due to her unique circumstances.

Plot/Story (3.5)

The overall idea of the story is quite good. Earth being taken over by aliens and a single, lone starship captain forced to find a way to help remove the heel of the alien oppressors sounds interesting.

As we gradually learn more about the A’Tol and their inability to lie along with the other aliens in the universe at large, the underlying story becomes even more interesting. In some ways it echo’s the challenges of Battlestar Galactica but perhaps with a mix of Mos Eisley added to it.

As we continue to learn more about the technology and the differences between the core and rimward empires, new mysteries and puzzles are introduced. Bond and her crew do seem to navigate these waters with a bit more aplomb than you’d expect of the first humans to meet aliens, however, I’m willing to give that a pass. Also, the characterizations and motivations of the aliens and how “human” they are, might be a bit too generic also. There were no real motivations that would not make sense to us which was I believe a real miss.

Opinion (4.0)

Overall, I quite enjoyed this book – I’ve read quite a few of Glynn’s books over the years that I hope to review in future posts and this series is one that I’ve enjoyed through 8 books and counting.

I will say that there are some elements of risk that I feel is missing from the book. I do not think any of the key characters are ever really in danger and Tornado itself seems to gradually become a Mary Sue in its own right as she continues to get upgraded and more powerful. In fact, while in the early stages she would struggle to defeat a single vessel from the A’Tol imperium, by the latter stages of the book, she’s become quite capable of defeating a small task force on her own.

Recommendation (4.0)

In the early stages, you’d think this series somewhat similar to Weber’s Honor Harrington books, but you get quickly disabused of that notion in a positive manner. Weber spends chapters and even books on character and world-building which can become excessively tedious. Fortunately, that is not the case here. The book starts off with some decent action and that trend continues throughout.

This book does however offer a bit too easy a path for Annette Bond and her crew though as they quickly stumble across an interpreter and guide. A guide that is able to surprisingly take them to the only place in the quadrant able to upgrade their ship and help them retake Earth. This giant space station hidden away from sight is the Tortuga of space and has technology that can magically retrofit and upgrade Tornado into a force worth reckoning.

As with any good adventure story there are a few twists and turns along the ride but I have to say that the surprise at the end was…well…surprising. There are some overtones of LGBTQ preaching in the book, but in all honesty that didn’t really bother me too much. With the way the world is right now, I don’t really have an issue with it except perhaps to say the sexual natures of any of the characters are somewhat inconsequential to the story as a whole. Having that information in the story did nothing to either add or detract from the story in my opinion.

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I’ve spoken already about Kindle Unlimited (its pros and cons) so won’t go into too much detail on it here. Suffice it to say from my point of view its a way of getting books cheap (often from new or fairly unknown authors), but that being said, no one wants to read books that aren’t worth it, so here is my quick and dirty list of the books to get and the ones to miss for the Military SciFi buff. So without further ado, here’s my list from worst to best. Oh yeah, if you’re interested in purchasing any of the books on this list, click through to Amazon on this link.

Constitution – Book 1 of the Legacy Fleet by Nick Webb (3.3)

My thoughts

I think this was one I’ve rated lower because of the quality of other books that I was reading at the time and it just jarred me. Reading through this overall list now, I’d probably give it a higher overall score and might end up adjusting it in the future depending upon how the other books in the series do (assuming that I read them 🙁 )

What’s it about?

Broken down ship, broken down and down on his luck captain, Engineer and Doctor that are caricatures of Scotty and Bones … unfortunately nothing really new or original to this tale and the writing and editing errors simply don’t help the situation. The enemy is somewhat interesting but they are also limited in my estimation and I think its the lack of originality that is probably the most disappointing here.

Escape to Earth Series by Andrew Saxon (5.8)

My thoughts

Some interesting ideas and concepts but the massive fleet battles tend to take away from any caring that you might have for the characters. In addition, it seems that regardless of the challenge put forward, there is always a technical solution waiting in the wings ready to be deployed. Its hard to really have any empathy for the death and destruction when you know that its only temporary.

What’s it about?

In this case an escape pod from an advanced race crash lands on Earth with one survivor. This survivor is “changed” to look like Human’s although he retains his strength and intelligence which are both greater than normal mankind. Realizing that the people that attacked him will not rest till he is recaptured, this escapee decides that his greatest hope for survival is helping Earth’s forces and Earth itself modernize in preparation for the upcoming alien invasion.


Swarm Series by BV Larson

My thoughts

The first book is actually quite good although you will be exposed to quite a few typo’s and other writing related errors. As a 10 issue series (& counting) it will keep you engaged for quite a while, and while its good (mindless) reading, its definitely not at the same level of quality as some of the others in this list. However for a read on the beach or a similar distraction it will probably keep you quite well engaged.

What’s it about?

Similar to many others on this list, Swarm is about an imminent attack on Earth that could cause the extinction of Humanity. Once again – similar to Ember Wars – another species chooses to send out emissaries to save those under attack … this time the emissaries choose their candidates in a brutal Darwinian process that weeds out all but the strongest and smartest leaving those survivors as the pilots of a fleet of ships. These ships are the only hope for Earth’s survival and as they are somewhat self aware, they don’t always have Humanities best interests at heart.

Human Legion Series by Tim Taylor (6.1)

My thoughts

Book 1 starts out way too slowly and while its written well, the action sequences take forever. Subsequent books are definitely better paced which is good, although this is primarily in terms of the action itself, unfortunately the underlying (and overarching) story progresses only slowly.

What’s it about?

In the not too distant future Earth was approached by an Alien Superpower. In exchange for Earth’s survival, millions of children were sold into slavery to found the Marine Corps. These “children” without any knowledge of Earth would change/grow and develop over the centuries to come into an enhanced race of warriors – and while most of their enemies see them as nothing more than cannon fodder with third rate weaponry and training, over time that changes.

Battle Cruiser by BV Larson (6.8)

My thoughts

The same author as the Swarm series (also on this list), this one is written significantly better & has a much larger scope than that one. The characters are much more interesting and while the book starts out somewhat slowly, it quickly picks up pace.

What’s it about?

Earth had established a small interstellar empire with several different colony worlds and more continually being founded. However when a solar flare disrupts the wormhole network that connects these splintered colonies together, Earth is left alone once more. With widespread devastation throughout the solar system, the colonies are left to wither as a secondary concern and gradually Earth focuses more and more on issues closer to home. Hundreds of years later however, it seems that the colonies haven’t necessarily forgotten or even forgiven Earth for their abandonment and they have some lessons of their own they want to deliver.

Space Carrier Avalon by Glynn Stewart (7.3)

My thoughts

Space Carrier Avalon is also about a legacy ship (similar to Constitution also on this list) from a war fought decades previously but that’s pretty much where the similarities end. The Captain is absolutely not a broken down has-been, the engineer is not Scotty and the ships’ doctor is not Bones! This book is well written and is absolutely engaging almost from page 1.

What’s it about?

No aliens here, the battles are human v.s. human and the “baddies” are the Terran Commonwealth. Lots of good fighter action and also some well explained and detailed inter-ship combat.

Steel Breach series by Casey Calouette (7.7)

My thoughts

Really well written and thought out, this book definitely takes us in a different direction to the others in the list. While there are some significant battles being fought, the technology on the front lines is absolutely understandable and recognizable and is in some ways more archaic than you’d expect.

What’s it about?

Penal battalion is sent in with unfamiliar leadership, weaponry and training and expected to make a difference in an all out war to the death. We’ve seen similar scenarios before, but this one is definitely well conceived and written and the underlying story arc that is only explored briefly in Book One is extremely interesting and engaging.

Fractured Space Series by J G Cressey (8)

My thoughts

Looking at the list as a whole, I’ve probably rated this one a bit higher than it should be, however I’m going to let it stand right now as it is written well and while the story is a bit weird, it is also interesting.  Interesting enough for me to want to read the next part that’s for sure!

What’s it about?

A ragtag group of castaway’s are thrown together through a bizarre set of circumstances on a strangely changed Mars.  Here Mars is a big game preserve and a farming planet where the monsters from other planets and dinosaurs from Earth’s past are left to roam free … prey only to a few solitary hunters that track and kill them for Earth’s teeming masses.  By itself that would be quite interesting, but Mars is just the start of the story as these castaways need to determine not only why they were marooned on Mars in the first place, but also why all communications with all other humans in all the populated planets seems to have ended so abruptly.  Are they the only surviving humans left?

Saiph Series by PP Corcoran (8)

My thoughts

Really well written and gripping right from the get go.  The characters are interesting and engaging and perhaps most refreshing – they are not infallible!  They make mistakes and are as human as we are.  The enemy in book one is somewhat faceless and amorphous but that quickly changes in book two – in fact by the end of the second book the question of who the real enemy is starts to raise its head!  Definitely recommend this one.

What’s it about?

In the not too distant future mankind manages to perfect faster than light travel.  This isn’t the type of travel you’d expect with wormholes and varying degrees of acceleration but is almost instantaneous for thousands of light years in all directions.  On the maiden voyage their ship detects an artificial signal on a planet and after much investigation they realize that these are the remnants of a long dead civilization.

However this civilization has a connection with humanity as the DNA of the alien species and humanity is almost identical.  We quickly come to realize that while we were not seeded on Earth, our DNA was manipulated in a last ditch effort by the Saiph to escape oblivion and destruction and to leave a little bit of themselves behind in their battle with the “Others”.  What they have also left us is a library of information to help bootstrap humanity so that they can survive when the Others come hunting them too!