by Sam B Miller II
Amazon.com Services LLC

"He wants the technology in the ship and no witnesses to how he got it."

Lieutenant Ty Lavender fights for America against native insurgents in Afghanistan. Then an alien spaceship crashes in the desert nearby, and Lavender must fight fellow Americans to protect Earth from destruction by alien technology found in the wreckage. Representatives of SEED, a rogue government agency, seek to destroy an insectoid alien race and appropriate their technology for SEED’s use in its study of aliens. Meanwhile, ambitious SEED Director Richard Cruneval watches from the helm for a chance at the world-renown he craves. Agent Lincoln Frost is assigned to procure U-10, a weapon with numerous destructive capabilities. To their mutual surprise, Lavender and Frost encounter Koritt Diviak, the spaceship's operator, tasked with bringing human specimens and technology home to his planet for experimentation. Diviak never thought the humans would intelligently use U-10 to resist capture. Nor is he prepared for their capacity for dispassionate ruthlessness, fathomless love, or both at once.

Miller’s writing style is pleasantly clipped and businesslike, giving the whole book the same efficient tone as one of its characters: Elvis, the semiautonomous computer. The notion that an alien race created humankind lends some novelty to the genre. It might encourage female readers, in particular, to discover the author’s evident disapproval of male chauvinism and avoidance of the objectification of female characters. Physical descriptions of women are minimal. Conversely, there exists a marked objectification of men, as during the account of Cruneval’s metamorphosis into a paragon of masculine health, strength, and beauty, which certain feminist audiences might find intriguing. The book relies heavily on unexplained acronyms, which might confuse someone unfamiliar with science fiction or modern military-grade weapons. That being said, all major characters, alien and otherwise, shift relatably between moments of supreme toughness and resilience and wrenchingly human vulnerability.

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