The UFS Phoenix is on a mission to find a lost data-core that may contain the secret to defeating the alo-deepynine alliance. But the means to find the data-core is hidden deep in tavalai space, in a highest-security vault where the tavalai's manipulative State Department keep all their most treacherous secrets. To recover it, Phoenix must pull off the most daring heist the Spiral has ever seen. But Phoenix will need help - in the form of a rebellious faction of the tavalai Fleet; a fanatical parren mystic who lusts mostly for power; a cynical old tavalai marine who's spent much of his life fighting humans; and a superintelligent AI queen who will sacrifice anything to rescue her race from extinction. None of them can be trusted, and neither Captain Erik Debogande nor Major Trace Thakur is experienced in this kind of work. But each must gather his ingenuity and courage and learn as they go, as the scale of the threat confronting humanity looms larger, and the clock is ticking.
©2016 Joel Shepherd (P)2016 Audible, Inc.
Kantovan Vault is Joel Shepherd's 3rd book in the Spiral Wars series. Following on book 2, Eric, Trace, and the rest of the Phoenix crew are in the hunt for an old Drysine memory core in order to counter the apparent evil axis of Alo, Sard, and Deepynine. Venturing further into Tavalai space, they encounter another alien race, the Parren with an old history with the Hacksaws, leading them to undertake a heist of cosmic dimensions. Basically, they must steal an old Parren diary kept in a super secure vault held by the Tavalai fleet's arch nemesis, the Tavalai state department. What ensues is a complex series of maneuvers that begin to go wrong as soon as initiated.
The sci-fi elements are in line with earlier installments with the added additions of more unique alien races and "gravitons" devices that can create and modulate gravity. Eric is coming into his own as the Phoenix captain. Interspersed among all the action, which is plentiful due to Eric, Trace, Tif, and Dale simultaneously carrying out independent actions to complete the heist is the added feature of Phoenix crew's enlightenment regarding alien interactions. Specifically, Dale must work with a retired Tavalai fleet Sargent (that he probably fought against during the recently completed war) and comes to appreciate their commonalities more than their differences, while Trace is gradually coming to an understanding of the depth and organic-like psychology and sociology of machine intelligence, and Lisbeth is gaining insight into a new alien race (a bit "divergent") that is growing in prominence for the larger story arch.
John Lee's narration is simply outstanding bringing excellent range not only to genders, but also to the various alien races that are easily identifiable without resorting to nasal or phlegmatic renditions.
Note: This is not a trilogy as the hunt is leading Phoenix further into the Spiral, away from humanity as well as further back in time, well before humanity's entry to the galactic party. Shepherd has created a universe with much to offer with the Holy Grail, the eventual vindication of their mutinous acts.
Really awesome continuation of a great series. Wonderful characters and a very cool space heist adventure told smartly here! As always, can't wait for the next one
I bought the first book in a whim and instantly fell in love. the characters are relatable and the story while not unique is well constructed.
John Lee delivers the story with the gravitas you would expect from Richard III and it is enhanced by his performance.
the next book in the series can't come soon enough.
Military and Science
I am not sure if it is due to John Lee or the writing but I really enjoy this series... I really look forward to the next one!
I drive from Palm Springs 2 Downtown L. A. 4 work approx. 2 & 1/4 hrs ea. Way & don't think I'd make it without Audible!
Not quite as good as books 1 & 2 but keeps the story of the Pheniox & her crew moving the right direction & sets the stage for this expanding universal story! How I gauge a good to great story comes @ the end, if my knee jerk reaction is to immediately look to download the next book in a series! And so I'm happy to report, that has now happened 3 times to me with this series!
Unfortunately, I do not see book four currently available on Audible, so I find myself wanting more, with less!
If you are a fan of well written space opera a la Jack Campbell, give this series a listen. But be forwarned, book one takes @ least 2hrs of "what the hell is this" & "will this ever get going" thoughts before hitting its stride. But once the author sets his story table you may have just found how you'll be spending your next credit few credits!
A trilogy. Say it in three. Done.
Contents: PG 13. No sex, lots of F-bombs (marines), no religious cussing, several ship-to-ship battles and close-quarters combat. There is obviously death, but nothing too grisly. The violence does not feel gratuitous. The tone of the series is fairly upbeat and heartwarming, but serious, not frivolous.
I've heard all three books in the series and am looking forward to book four. Sequel or bust! This particular book had fewer ship-to-ship battles than the first two books. Most of the action occurs on the ground, in the various segments of a major galactic-level heist. Crew Phoenix must break into a top secret vault, the titular Kantovan Vault. It's location is fairly extreme and rather hard to credit, but it makes for a good story. There are some poignant scenes in this book, including the death of a lovable character.
Set in the distant future in the far reaches of the Milky Way, Joel Shepherd serves up a solid space-opera populated with humans, aliens (froggies, humanoids, furballs, bugs) and even some robots and drones (various species of cybernetic super-intelligence). The crew of the military warship Phoenix are likable, and the main characters grow on you across the three books published so far. Bonding occurs credibly as this honorable but renegade crew gradually uncovers a conspiracy at the highest levels of authority, a secret terrible and fearful, hidden away for centuries, and protected at all costs. When Phoenix stumbles on the truth, they are forced to make some tough choices, and to engage in desperate missions, driving them further and further from home, into deep space. For the most part, they stand alone, but gradually they do acquire a few allies. I hope to see more alliances, and to see some of the current alliances deepen, and maybe some to be tested.
Spiral Wars feels a little like Sullivan's Riyira fantasy series, because long-believed lies are slowly uncovered, history revealed to be myth. Some friends prove fickle and some alliances false. There is a sense of suspense and intrigue, of holding one's breath for the next shoe to drop.
I've been reading space opera lately, but I tend to avoid tales told in 1st person "i-me-my perspective" because a singular voice gets old fast. This series, told in 3rd person, is better than most I've read. It compares on a par with Bujold's Vorkosigan series. I would rate it higher than Ryk Brown's Enjoyable Frontier Saga, and a little better than Dalzelle's Black Fleet and Omega series. I liked it more than Fox's Ember Wars series, and slightly more than the Expeditionary Force series by Alanson. I also recommend the engaging Linesman series by Dunstall, but it is somewhat lightweight. I also enjoy the Liaden series by Lee and Miller, but it is a very slow work in progress. I also highly recommend The Expanse series, by Corey.
One flaw in Shepherd's writing style is that he tends to slow the pace by stopping to describe things too much — including trivial aspects of the setting, and how the technical stuff works. Some people might like the technical explanations, but I zone out a little.
If the author can maintain this quality of storytelling until the conclusion of the series, he will have created a solid hit. I say quality of storytelling, not quality of writing, because his books are riddled with punctuation errors, resulting in fragmented sentences that hamper reading. I recommend the audiobooks instead of the e-books. He needs an editor.
The narrator John Lee cleans up all the proofreading issues and delivers a value-added and highly enjoyable rendition of Spiral Wars.
Enjoy the adventure
The action during the last 25% of the book left me dizzy and John Lee’s narration kept me captivated throughout the book. That said, “Kantovan Vault” lacks the originality of the first two books in the series. The space crew must steal a valuable artifact which is surrounded by high tech security and an army of guards. Accomplishing the mission will require assembling a group of people with specific talents, some sleight of hand and luck. Can anyone say “Oceans 11 or 12”?
The earlier editions of this series were some of the best books I've read in a while. Thus one was confusing, and unbelievable, even for SF.
I thought this was a good concept and good story line but it almost seemed that half way through the writer thought a better pathway to take the story. It's enjoyable but not nearly as good as the previous book but not bad.
I liked some of the alien characters and their interaction with the crew and team members
No nothing extreme, like I said it is not as good as the previous ones but worth a listen for sure.
The characters are great as before and there are some great action sequences. Looking forward to books four and five as this goes beyond a trilogy.
"Building up well."
The third in the series and beginning to develop some real investment in the characters. Enjoyed it.
A little more gritty than some although, not very. Good story though with some a bit of everything. more like a treasure island than anything else.
Exciting story, well balanced between action and explaining the importance of the actions. Intriguing characters.
"The best yet...And so much room for more"
I have read a fair number of Joel shepherds books, and his characterisation has been solid, if prdictable. Don't get me wrong, love the story and love the characters. That said the best thing here is the character of Styx. I cannot work out what her/ his/it's game is. Part of the enjoyment is trying to work out if or when Styx will pull the rug out from under everyone.
John Lee reads Most of Peter F Hamiltons work. I love his reading, so much that lesser narrators just don't cut it.
No idea, but this would make a great film series.
If you love Starwars read this
Another great book from a great series. Together with awesome narration from Lee, highly recommended.
Stupidly i thought it would be more of a story but i should of read the title. I was expecting the story to go further and visit more places but not to wory. it is a very good story and narrated very well also, i was left wanting more at the end but i felt the ending fell short.
"Good series well worth a listen"
Just finished the series, for me if you like sci-fi this was worth the credits. The first book was the best, the action sequences are great and very exciting in all of the books.
I particularly liked the slow introduction as the scene is set and when it kicks off it does with an vengeance.
Where the series does fall down for me was the overwhelming odds the crew has to overcome, it wasn't necessary. The storyline would still have held up with a magnitude reduction in the number of opponents.
Great space opera opportunity as the current 3 book series continues. Before I forget the narrator John Lee is very good, I thoroughly enjoyed listening to him.
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