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While I have enjoyed the majority of the books written by Stewart so far, the kindle version of this book was very grating on the nerves. Several mistakes such as mixing words such as hear and here can be found throughout the book, something spellcheck would not catch but a proofreader would. Another problem is that Stewart forgets his own supporting characters names, the most glaring one is the change of General James Arthur Valerian Wellesley to just General Arthur Wellesley and no reason given why a character mentioned in three other books who went by James is now Arthur. As for the story, though an easy read, it is weak and seems to be focused on how nepotism affects even mediocre officers who are related to the ruling body. The new main character Morgan gets a promoted at the beginning of the book since she has clearance for the classified data, and then later in the book a family friend who is a rear admiral promotes her again for doing her job. Everyone else sees what is going on but Morgan who is clueless as to why she is being promoted but has no problem reminding everyone around her that she can influence admirals by stepping outside the chain-of-command because of who she is. Another weakness to the story is the fact that the new enemy does not leave any live bodies behind and no way for the protagonists to actually learn about their enemy except that they are tough and they are currently and always outnumbered and always behind in many technological aspects. If you ignore all those problems, it isn't a bad continuation of the Duchy of Terra series and gives the reader some ideas of what has happened over the last few years.
Darkness Beyond continues the Duchy-of-Terra series. It is fifteen years later, and an unknown force is deploying hundreds of battle ships on a mission of extermination. DB begins a new trilogy. As with the first trilogy, the characters are engaging and the background satisfies.
It is hard to write military space opera that is not dishonest. The genre calls for the enemy to have an overwhelming advantage - and to lose. This generally requires the enemy to make a lot of bad decisions. The weakness of this book is that it focuses on space battles that are manipulated by the author to be close but to have the desired outcomes.