I'm a retired USAF officer from Texas, and life long fan of the Royal Navy. I even had the happiness of serving (on land) with the Royal Navy a numbe..Show More »r of times during my Air Force career while stationed in England.
I even instructed for a month on board 'HMS Dryad', which is of course a land based training school, not a ship at all. But I was always tickled by the RN practice of calling their land bases 'ships'.
I've read all the classic RN 'age of sail' novels. I was excited when this book showed up on Audible.
The good news first: It's an interesting story with some fun twists. I grew to care about the characters. In fact, I knew military officers who had all of the problems that plague the characters in this book.
The well connected up and coming candidate angling to replace the older Captain of the Ark Royal was very realistic. In the USAF we called that kind of officer a 'fast burner'. I bet every military has them, including this future RN.
Good officers with drinking problems are very common, Nuttall scored a direct hit with this character.
The mid-grade officer whose marriage is threatened by long deployments is very common, and very heartbreaking!
I liked the way Nuttall handled his aliens. Unlike almost every other SciFi space war novel, these aliens don't want to talk to us. Very probably they can't talk to us, they may not even have the concept of 'talking' as far as the characters and readers know.
For some reason the aliens want to kill us and break our stuff. Why? What the heck are they after?
Sometimes the aliens seem much smarter than us, but then they'll do something that to us seems stupid. Why? Nuttall's aliens are much less of an actor in a rubber suit than most SciFi aliens. Are they devilishly clever or what?
I like Nuttall's aliens, they were very interesting.
The things the other reviewers complain about are all there.
I got really sick of 'gave them a bloody nose'! I kept saying 'forget giving them a bloody nose, they are fish! Gut them"!
Some of the conversations were pretty disjointed by the inserted mental self-dialogs.
It's tiring working on a ship. It's been tiring working on a ship since the first caveman hollowed out a log and rowed across a lake! In Nelson's time ships crews worked four hours on four hours off for years at a time! And they didn't even have sleep machines! Enough about being tired. Man up, space squids!!!!
It bothered me that the RN fighter squadrons of the future are commanded by 'Wing Commanders'. The RN does not have a rank or position of 'Wing Commander'. The RAF does, and for a while I thought that the Ark Royal's air detachment was in fact from the RAF.
I'm pretty sure that a typical RN fighter squadron is commanded by a person with the rank of 'Commander', or perhaps 'Lt Commander'.
That kind of bothered me.
I was disappointed in the narration. The RN officers I knew did not grunt like constipated old men, and they never shouted at each other. I've never sailed with the RN, but I really got the impression that the RN officer corps personifies the very reserved, dignified British gentleman's manner of speech. RN veterans please correct me if I'm wrong about this.
I can say for certain that RN officers are much less demonstrative than USAF officers from Texas! At least when they are sober. ;)
Britten has dozens and dozens of regional and class accents, and the Brits are very accent conscious. The narrator had only his own accent, his attempts to replicate other class and regional accents sounded very forced.
I came to overlook Mr. Nuttall's and Mr. Lister's little quirks because I wanted to see what was going to happen next! Isn't that what makes a good story?
If you liked 'Battle Star Galactica' and/or 'Master and Commander' you very well may like 'Ark Royal'!
EPILOGUE: I just finished volume two of this series, 'The Nelson Touch'. I'll review it separately, but you should know that the second volume is better edited, and has a tighter and more clever storyline. The narrator does a better job as well.
I'm looking forward to the third volume in this series.
I wrote in my review of Ark Royal that I found the overall story to be a bit dry and the characters to be stereotypical.. Not much changes with book 2..Show More » except that the characters do get fleshed out a bit more. However, it is the overall story arc that carries the day with this series and that continued to fuel my desire to keep listening.
Theodore Smith is promoted to Admiral and must lead a fleet of human ships, led by Ark Royal, back out to confront the Aliens. Humanity has progressed their technology somewhat but Ark Royal still remains the only ship in the fleet able to stand up to the enemy plasma weapons. Their mission is high risk as Earth will be left without Ark Royal's protection so a lot is at stake.
I found this book to be a bit more enjoyable than book one with one new key character added - a star fighter pilot with a secret. This helped a bit with the level of character presence but it was the overall war with the aliens that held my interest throughout. For my money you can just skip the forbidden shipboard romances and launch fighters! This one is worth picking up if you enjoyed book one and again I would peg it at 3.5 stars.
The strength of this series, the story arc of humanity's war with the Aliens, comes to a conclusion in The Trafalgar Gambit. Christopher Nuttall does ..Show More »not leave many loose ends as he builds the story to a crescendo that results in a satisfying ending to humanity's first interstellar war.
Fundamentally this book is more of the same as far as the characters and plot goes. If you are already sick of being reminded that Ark Royal is old and the only ship that humanity has that can stand up to the Aliens then you should move on, but if you want to find out if the Old Lady can survive another confrontation with the Aliens then you won't be strung along. Humanity is losing the war and Ark Royal is sent out on a final mission to make contact with a peaceful alien faction as a last chance to save humanity.
I am not a fan of "trilogies" that get milked for extra books so I applaud the fact that Nuttall wraps up the story arc of the war very nicely with this book. It concludes a solid military sci-fi trilogy and yet still allows for more books to begin with a new story arc. If book 2 kept you engaged then there is no reason not to pick up book 3 and see how it all ends.
Ralph Lister remains consistent as the narrator so I am giving him 4 stars this go round for yet another 3.5 star performance. :)
This book picks up where the Ark Royal trilogy ended. This could be a standalone book or a beginning of the new series.
The first interstell..Show More »ar war is over. The Royal Navy is rebuilding and has lots of work to do. The earth is struggling to recover from the war. Our new protagonist is Captain John Naiser who is Commander of HMS Warspite, an experimental heavy cruiser. HMS Warspite is ordered to escort a squadron of colony ships to a star system of strategic importance to Earth.
Nuttall provides us with space pirates; tension building among the colonist in what might become a civil war. The story provides action, humor and some interesting developments for future stories. The story has both space battles and ground battles. We are introduced to a new human like aliens that are still in a primitive state.
Nuttall has made in my opinion a couple of gross mistakes that would never happen in any military in the world , and as far as I am concerned not even in military Sci-Fi. The first error is a corporal never out ranks a sergeant and the other error; never would a civilian been given a military rank and made the executive officer of a ship.
It looks as if Nuttall is launching another series. I will be in line to buy the next book if this becomes a series. Nuttall has created a couple of interesting characters I would like to learn more about. Ralph Lister narrated the book.
Star Trek's Federation always touted a policy of non-interference with alien cultures that were not capable of space travel. Of course that policy was..Show More » violated often throughout the many different Star Trek series but those violations have nothing on this book. This is 12 hours of human beings doing their best to screw over an alien culture and use it for their own interests. Where's the Prime Directive when you need it?
Things go from bad to worse for the crew of Warspite and the Royal Navy as many different human factions vie for influence on the planet of Vesy. Despite being the most modern ship in orbit, Warspite is overwhelmed when multiple earth governments and special interest groups arrive at Vesy and ignore all attempts to contain human interaction with the natives. A combination of weapons trading and religious preaching are enough to ignite the powder keg on the surface and put Captain Naiser in a no win situation.
When it is all said and done this book is only slightly more interesting than the last one and at the same time it is slightly more boring. This is all about human politics playing out on an alien world and there is little advancement of the interstellar aspect of the story arc. So far the "Warspite" series remains a step below the "Ark Royal" series when it comes to interesting sci-fi.
Ralph Lister's performance remains on par with the rest of series.
So far I've read 16 Christopher G. Nuttall novels each one is my favorite!! I fell in love in high school with science fiction. The ability of the gen..Show More »re to let and author give you an analogy of his view of the future. I buy them for myself for quick easy Entertainment while reminding myself the future will have all the same human problems faced by both current events and history. I buy them for my grandchildren in the hopes that this author can interest them to think beyond the level of a good shooting up. I vote for keep it simple and have fun I believe you will enjoy!!