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Vorpal Blade –by John Ringo and Travis S. Taylor (2007)
--Review by Nic Brown---

John Ringo and Travis Taylor team up again to bring out a sequel

to Ringo’s 2005 Sci-Fi/action novel Into the Looking Glass. Thanks to the events in the first book the door has been opened for space exploration on a new scale as faster than light travel is now possible. So in order to scout out the neighborhood and protect against possible invasion by the alien Dreen, the humans and their allies cobble together their first faster than light spaceship: the Vorpal Blade.

The Ship was a former U.S. Navy nuclear missile submarine and now through alien technology, human ingenuity, and a lot of duct tape and bailing wire it is ready for its maiden voyage. Familiar characters Dr. William Weaver and SEAL Chief Adams are joined by a mixed bag of scientists, naval personnel and force recon marines (now the space marines). Their mission takes them to a number of different worlds and through encounters with aliens both friendly and hostile.

The book is a return to a more classic feel for sci-fi, with real monsters, aliens and strange worlds. Ringo’s ability to write engaging military and small unit action stories combines well with Taylor’s “techy” side, to give the reader a combination of action, adventure and science based-science fiction. The book especially shines in that it doesn’t just depend on the monsters and aliens for tension. The very nature of travel on the first faster than light ship provide intense and often amusing segments to the book. The crew must deal with everything from gravity issues, to possibilities of space viruses to, the question of where in space is the best place to get a drink of water and more. All of this handled with a mix of ingenuity, luck and elbow grease.

As is the case with many of his works, real life rocket scientist Taylor brings the scientific side of the story to life for the readers. Concepts and theories are explained as they are encountered and this gives not only a realistic feel to the whole experience, but it also makes the reader feel a bit smarter for having read it. Ringo also brings his touch to the story with great attention to the details of the military aspects of the book. He helps cover everything from the practical (what kind of gun is best for killing armored aliens) to the political (which branch of the military will ultimately be responsible for the space program) with a lot of insight and humor.

Over all Vorpal Blade is an exciting, fun book to read. The story is fast paced enough to keep the reader going while at the same time not skipping many of the little details. Ringo and Taylor work well together and their combined work plays well to both of their strengths. Of course Vorpal Blade leaves a number of loose ends, but regular readers of the pair know that the prolific Ringo often crafts stories that require more than one volume to be told. That being said, Vorpal Blade works well as a stand alone book, but it leaves the door open for more adventures to come. Pick up a copy of John Ringo and Travis S. Taylor’s Vorpal Blade by today and please keep your hands inside the vehicle until the ride comes to a complete stop!

 



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