My rating: 4 of 5 stars
‘Admiral’ is a thoroughly enjoyable military space adventure. For whatever reason, it’s been a while since I’ve found a pure science-fiction adventure that I’ve really enjoyed. This novel breaks that ‘meh’ streak in a no-holds-barred way!
Reminiscent of ‘Alien,’ it would also translate well to the big screen.
The ‘Admiral’ of the title is the narrator. Waking from coldsleep, he finds himself aboard an empty, abandoned spacecraft, accompanied only by a small team of three untested ensigns. The trainees have serious doubts about the credentials of the Admiral, who chooses to remain anonymous. His insistence on keeping some information close to his chest extends not just to the other characters, but to the reader. I see that some reviewers found this frustrating, but I think it actually worked very well. The way things eventually play out justifies the author’s decision and fits with the character that he created.
Unable or unwilling to reveal his identity to his new crewmates, the Admiral may or may not be who he says he is. But whether or not he is an enemy spy, or any of a number of other possibilities, he does seem to have the leadership skills and experience needed to bring them together as a team. Although under suspicion, he’s their only chance of survival, and their best chance of figuring out what on earth (or rather, in space) happened to the ship, and where in the galaxy they might be.
As they figure out more details of their situation, things go from bad to worse… and it’ll take both ingenuity and luck to make it through.
The detailed descriptions of the variety of technical ‘fixes’ needed to make it through one crisis after another may remind some of ‘The Martian’ – however, unlike that book, this story has excellent pacing, great suspense/tension, and never gets bogged down in lame and unfunny jokes.
Highly recommended for sci-fi fans.
Many thanks to NetGalley and Berkley Publishing Group for the opportunity to read. As always, my opinions are solely my own.
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