Jackson Wolfe, Celesta Wright, and Agent Pike are back in the fifth book of a nine book series, and I have to say that this adventure didn’t disappoint. Wolfe is back on the bridge of a starship, and back to making the impossible, possible. Wright who was formerly Wolfe’s XO is now a Senior Captain herself and on the bridge of one of the most technologically advanced ships in the fleet. She is still walking the line between bucking the system like her mentor, and following regulations. While some in the chain of command are rightfully frustrated by her choices and behavior, none can argue that she is one of the greatest starship captains along with Captain Wolfe within the United Terran Federation. They need both her and Captain Wolfe to pull out another miracle if those left living on Terran worlds are going to survive against their new enemy, the Darshik.
While the title of the book plays lightly on Otto von Bismarck’s speech about the unification of Germany, and the book starts with the following quote from Bismarck “The great questions of the day will not be settled by means of speeches and majority decisions, but by iron and blood” it does not dwell much on politics. When taken at face value as Dalzelle states in the afterward, it alludes to what this book is about. Wars are fought and won on the front lines, and not through speeches and backroom deals.+
I found the plot interesting in this series because it isn’t the norm. Most sci-fi books that revolve around space fights with alien species involve a vastly superior foe with technology centuries ahead of our own. This story-arc involves a species that is in our ballpark as far as technology is concerned. A species that, had us humans not had the snot beat out of us in the Phage war, wouldn’t pose much of a threat. But the loss of much of the fleet, the capital planet of Haven, and the ensuing post-war political upheaval have made it possible for the Darshik to lay waste to humanity for unknown reasons. I also enjoyed how this book also didn’t try to deal with the fight on a grand scale, as the majority of the book revolved around trying to get a contingent of marines onto a planet that is under a Darshik blockade.
The book is fast paced, the premise is strong, and while it is sci-fi one doesn’t have to overly suspend belief. I am already eagerly awaiting the next book in the series. Dalzelle in his afterword tells us it is to be called Destroyer, and with the foreshadowing at the end of Iron and Blood I have a little bit of an idea of what it is going to be about, and It’s going to be a fun one.
As a side note, I was cruising around some other blogs and I found another Interview with the author. Personally, I enjoy getting to know a little about the people who write what I enjoy reading. The background helps me get into the story a bit more. Here it is if you’re interested.