The Phoenix Conspiracy by Richard L Sanders - 5/5 stars
I’ll get straight to the point here: fantastic, epic, galactic space-opera!
The first chapters pulled me in immediately. The story had an interesting premise. Intel Wing, the Empire’s investigation division, is assigned to look into a very unusual case. A decorated imperial military captain, Asari Raidan, has uncharacteristically destroyed several Rotham ships. Why would Raidan risk his position and his impeccable record just to destroy what appears to be several innocent Rotham Ships? Calvin Cross of Intel Wing is tasked to discover why.
The conspiracy angle was very unique. The reader sees the conspiracy (this shouldn’t be a spoiler since it is in the title!) through the perspective of Calvin Cross and his laid-back crew. This enabled us to learn a lot about Calvin and his crewmates. When Summers Presley, a beautiful by-the-book commander, formerly under Asari Raidan’s command, is sent to help Calvin Cross, on-ship tensions threaten to breaking point. Calvin Cross and his loyal investigative crew’s ideals clash with those of Summers Presley because she is a fleet officer of the empire and she is used to doing what she is told.
About a third of the way through the book the story became even more interesting. Characters are introduced, and more information is given to the reader to digest regarding strange galactic events. The book never ceased to amaze me. My eyes were glued to it from page 1 to the end. I don’t think there was one single moment where I drifted. The characters were believable and the plot was riveting and moved forward at a fast-pace.
I have seen a few reviews citing this book as being similar to Star Trek, but I failed to see much similarity. Yes the main characters are on a ship and there is a commander trying to solve problems … hmm. The Mass Effect video-game series was where I thought similarity existed: events of galactic importance hitting the main characters again and again, and added with a sweet mixture of unusual and very interesting characters.
I am very tempted to buy his next book and read it. It was one of the best sci-fi books I have read. If you like sci-fi/military/space-opera/thriller books that are un-put-down-able then read this book!
(review of free book)