The Oncoming Storm & Falcone Strike, by Christopher G Nuttall

Rod Walker enjoyed reading The Oncoming Storm and Falcone Strike by Christopher Nuttall, and they made for a pleasant diversion during the past week.

The setup did remind RW a lot of the Honor Harrington novels, at least in the beginning and in the premise of the books. The idea is that the Commonwealth of Tyre, a parliamentary monarchy, encounters the violent and paranoid Theocracy. The Theocrats espouse a new religion that arose in the years since mankind developed spaceflight, and believe that God has given them the right to unite all of humanity under their banner.

In other words, it’s Space British Navy vs. Space Jihadis. (It is a clever plot device that allows the author to write a parallel to contemporary jihadis without all the baggage of actually writing about them.) The Commonwealth is in denial about the threat the Theocracy presents, even as the Theocrats build up their forces for an attack.

Into this confrontation comes Captain Kat Falcone, the youngest daughter of Duke Lucas Falcone. The Duke knows war is coming, and so he arranges for his daughter to receive command of a starship long before she would have otherwise, hoping to have someone reliable in place when the war starts. Kat is horrified, since she knows she was promoted only because of her family connections, but she knows her duty is to prepare for the threat of the Theocracy and win the trust of her officers and soldiers.

The books are an easy read. That sounds condescending, but it’s not intended that way. Clear and transparent prose is really hard to do, and it takes a lot of practice to get it right. (The difference between a writer’s 1st novel and his 30th is often jarring.) Mr. Nuttall has it down pat. The books are entertaining and the characters are engaging.

RW’s chief quibble is that a mixed-gender navy and military like the Commonwealth seems highly unlikely to function that well in real life. It’s like how in fiction line marriages and polyamory always seem to function perfectly, but in real life they always seem to end in court cases at best and murder-suicides at worst. (Of course, given how badly the Commonwealth fares in the first couple of battles, perhaps that is an in-universe explanation.) It seems unrealistic, but then hyperspace is unrealistic, so there’s that.

Looking forward to reading the remaining two books when they are released!

If you like space battles, check out Rod Walker’s book.

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