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Publisher's Summary

The elite crew of the pirate ship UNS Flying Dutchman had a simple mission: determining whether the Thuranin are sending another starship to Earth. Along the way, they became sidetracked by securing a future for the UNEF troops on the planet Paradise. When asked whether Earth was now safe, their ancient alien AI responded "Not so much"...now they have to deal with the consequences.

©2017 Craig Alanson (P)2017 Podium Publishing

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Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    16,045
  • 4 Stars
    3,232
  • 3 Stars
    459
  • 2 Stars
    59
  • 1 Stars
    21

Performance

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    17,136
  • 4 Stars
    1,363
  • 3 Stars
    115
  • 2 Stars
    10
  • 1 Stars
    13

Story

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    14,086
  • 4 Stars
    3,592
  • 3 Stars
    757
  • 2 Stars
    91
  • 1 Stars
    36
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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Not as good as the first three

While still enjoyable, this 4th installment seemed long and overly complicated. In order to understand what was going on the explanations were long and convoluted. The banter between Skippy and Joe was not nearly as funny as before. I did gafaw out loud, but only a few times.

25 of 27 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Solid continuation that fizzles at the end

What I love about Craig's writing style that really shines in this book is diving into the randomness of an unpredictable universe. Exploring the minutia of various events along the story that are anywhere between game changing to inconsequential. And they can be either unfortunate or fortuitous or both. It gives the story more chance to tell a larger picture and creates a living world that, especially for a sci-fi series, feels very grounded in reality. Sometimes the story is a grind as they duck and weave through updating situations and unintended consequences because that's how combat and problem solving actually is.

Unfortunately he sticks to the style a little too well, as the book sputters at the end without a very satisfying conclusion before setting up the next book. By the end the characters are exhausted and strung out and so are we. And I appreciate that this is very likely representative of what most of real life combat is like. But the book just ends there, without excitement or satisfaction. Postponing the payoff to the next book. And since we already had to wait a little longer for this book to fit in "Trouble in Paradise", it's going to make the wait for the next story EXCRUCIATING. And not in a great way.

It hurts to say because I overall I really love the book and the series, and it's a small knock on what's otherwise a great read, unfortunately that little bit is what's going to stick with me while we wait the months for the next installment.

My suggestion, if you haven't jumped on this book as soon as it came out like I did, (and, admittedly, would likely still do even if I read my advice from the future because I am a sucker for this series,) hold off on this until it's closer to the next release, so you can jump right into the next for the payoff that we should have at least gotten a piece of in this one.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Still fun but losing a bit of luster

Still fun, with great narrator, but the story is losing some steam and the banter is getting stale.

17 of 19 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Good listen, but should have been 5 stars

R. C. Bray's performance & Alanson's writing were both great. I don't want to spoil anything, but I didn't like the ending. Obviously there's more to come, and that is great. However, after putting that much time into this book, to have it end on lackluster scene is depressing.

16 of 19 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

A Good Middle Story Series Entry

This was a good book and RC Bray's narration was on point once again. The Skippy dilemma continues though as a beer can sized deus ex machina is used a bit much for another book. Luckily, the story is still enjoyable, but I wish this was more star trek and less star wars in the story. I find that I enjoy EF books that are more focused on the merry band on a planet and less on the spec ops side. Both sides are good, but Skippy + Bishop exploring the galaxy are fantastic to listen to.

I would probably have continued through this series if it stayed as that narrative of Joe Bishop alone. The book changed completely as soon as that beer can unlocked that first door. That was a total plottwist. Sadly, without the deus ex beercan, this series wouldn't really continue in any sensible way.

My biggest qualm this book is the freakin' non-ending cliffhanger ending. It feels like this story was either too long or too short for the narrative it was telling. Book 3 suffered from this problem as well, made even worse since Book 3.5 should've been interwoven into that to make 1 longer-than-normal entry into the series.

Now, time to sit around and wait for book 5, which is a guaranteed pre-order for me.

As always, trust the awesome!

11 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Worth listening to for the narrator alone

If you are even mildly into to science fiction this is a great book to pick up. The story is good as with all the other books in the series, but RC Bray's narration, especially his characterization of Skippy, is worth the price of admission all by itself. Trust the awesomeness

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Joshua
  • Eagar, AZ 85925
  • 10-02-17

This book was excellent.

I would recommend you wait for the next book to come so you don't get as irritated at the non-ending as i did.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

More PLEASE

I got on board with the first book and have enjoyed the journey hugely. I look forward to more Joe Bishop and Skippy adventures.
NOW HURRY UP AND WRITE MORE.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Slightly better than books two and three.....

If not for the fan-fu**ing-tastic narration of Mr. R.C. Bray, I would have stopped after book two. The stories are essentially the same narrative time and time again. Problem = Solution = Secondary Problem = Solution....and it's almost always a Bishoped plan with a Skippy (I hate my life) technical solution. How do we get onto that Starship/Asteroid/Planet or how do we intercept/transmit messages to gain or give information that will help our mission. Skippy is one giant Deus Ex Machina, and it's entertaining for a while, but when the narrative begins to argue with itself over what Skippy can and can't do....well, it's a bit much.

More importantly, the lacking character development is painful. This is book 4, and by now I would expect that some of our team would have grown, especially in light of all that they have witnessed. These characters are still paper thin with very little depth. I know almost nothing about our Protagonist Joe Bishop is basically Joe SixPack. An everyman that has been placed in the right place at the right time. In the first book, we watched him go from grunt to Sargent and then to Colonel...it was a feel good moment to see this everyman put in charge of an entire brigade, then a starship. When Joe and the Merry Band of Pirates returned home after their second journey, I expected another promotion. Instead we watched as he was dressed down by superiors for making decisions that were (at the time) very reasonable and even heroic. But for the sake of the story, I accepted this bizarre twist. And now we have Chotek (sp?) who is essentially an amalgam of every undesirable government agent from Earth. Now that he's seen the universe unfold before his eyes, has his disposition changed? Has he become a more tolerable leader? Has he come to understand that Joe is a hero and not a hapless idiot? No, no and no. There is no character growth here at all. These people have seen some sh*t and they need to behave in ways that make sense. The most ironic thing in this entire series is that Skippy has the most character growth of them all....an AI that supposedly lacks depth or empathy has the most complicated character arc of them all.

And for the love of all things Skippy, PLEASE resolve some of these loose ends. With every chapter we seem to get more hints at the origins of Skippy, but we learn almost nothing. It's book 4, we should have made some progress towards that goal. I cannot sit through another set of books waiting for progress.

I have so many more issues with these books, but I also love them so much, it hurts to be so critical. But if the author happens to be considering a change in narration, DON'T DO IT. R.C. Bray is your Tom Brady. Don't forget that.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Another fantastic listen

another great addition to the series. Good story, funny, and RC Bray is perfect for this series. can't wait for the next one!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Simon
  • 09-27-17

Super-Skippy-Just-Fantastic-Expeditionary-Force!

Sit down strap in and get ready for another episode of one of the funniest and most inventive sci-fi series I've come across in a long time. Episode four of Alanson's Expeditionary Force sees Joe Bishop's Merry Band of Pirates careering across the galaxy, staggering from crisis to crisis only to end on another cliffhanger! Yes there will be even more to come after this one!

Earth is once again under threat so The Flying Dutchmen and her crew including Skippy, the sci-fi world's favourite beer can are once again embroiled in Alanson's heady mix of impossible situations, amazing alien politics and of course zany humour. In fact he really does go Spinal Tap on us and dial it up to eleven in this one.

I suspect that sense of humour is also being directed at his narrator here. His text has Maestro Bray doing everything from singing a high-pitched La Marseillaise of all things to a wonderfully credible Chewbacca. Being the trooper he is RC Bray rises to each and every challenge with suitable awesomeness!

I could split hairs over some of the editing including some very repetitive small passages but even I can't spectacularly miss the point of these books by quite that much. They are the Sci-Fi equivalent of a good boozy night down the pub with old friends. Good fun, warmly humorous and thoroughly satisfying until the following morning - when you realise you stayed up waaaay too late listening to it!

18 of 19 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Gavin
  • 09-30-17

Skippy the Magnificent

Another excellent installment , expertley narrated by RC Bray, believe in "The Awesomeness" of Skippy the Magnificent..

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • sfak107
  • 09-29-17

Trust the awesomeness

Just trust the awesomeness and keep listening to another great story and performance by RC Bray. What will be in the next book......

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • CNS1995
  • 10-10-17

Incredible! Couldn’t get enough!

This book gets full marks from me! Seriously entertaining! When is the next book due to come out... I can’t wait any longer! Congratulations Craig this series is tremendous, please hurry and publish more audio books in the series.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Christopher
  • 09-28-17

More outstanding work!

Another amazing adventure with Skippy and the merry band of pirates... Cannot wait for the next installment and hope it comes soon we rather than later 😀

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • allan smith
  • 09-28-17

Oh you Bastards!

loved it
you didn't have to do that at the end... WHEN IS THE NEXT BOOK!!!!!!!!

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Kindle Customer
  • 09-28-17

Love it!

Not much to say other then I want more!!! If you liked the last 4 books your going to like this. The whole series is well worth a read if you haven't allready

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • jamie
  • 11-05-17

Damn it

Hurry up and write the next one haha. This guy is excellent at cliff hanger endings. Though I will say the inclusion of book 3.5 made me lose track a little with the main plot.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Tom
  • 09-28-17

#trust the awesomeness

Some things are certain in life.

Death, taxes and Craig Alanson writing wonderfully fun books.

I feel bad only giving 4*, and really it's 4.5* as I stayed up to 3am last night listening. But after 3 super previous books this one seemed to just slightly lack the originality of the first books. R C Bray is his usually genius self and in Skippy, I think I've found an audio character that will never be topped.

It's just that the jokes are now more comfortably familiar than laugh out loud (though lots of sniggering) and action scenes felt just a little flatter with plot twists even more outrageous. This is of course like criticising Usain Bolt for only running a 9.9s 100m. It's still great by any standards, but not quite the best. So overall great fun and my standout series of 2017 continues to deliver.

Get listening!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Shane Scott
  • 02-16-18

Fantastic<br />

If you suffer from insomnia then this is the book for you. If you don't you may want to read up on the condition because you'll have it after this book. Great continuing story line and RC Bray brings it all together. I think I'll take a break before I listen to the next one as I need some sleep.☺

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Mike
  • 10-20-17

Love it

Been enjoying the series and has only got better
Can’t wait for the next one

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • shane.slape
  • 10-03-17

Trust THE AWESOME!

I love this series. I couldn't stop listening. I can't wait for the next book.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • James
  • 10-03-17

need more soon, very soon. is it out yet?

need more soon, very soon. is it out yet? why is it not out yet? us dumb monkeys need to bathe in the glow that is skippy

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Anonymous User
  • 10-20-18

Best one yet

This series just gets better and better. Humour, wit, action and monkeys. This one was probably the most balanced of all the books so far and comes off with enough suspense, action and drama to not feel over saturated with any of those. Couldn’t put it down. R C Bray = legend

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Aaron Littlefield
  • 10-02-18

Awesome story

Story continues from previous gripping plot. Never a dull moment hooked on every word. Can't wait to start next book.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Kate
  • 09-23-18

outstanding

I haven't been hooked on a book like this in years. R C Bray does an amazing job at bringing the world to life.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Simon
  • 08-28-18

Starting to get formulaic

These books are great fun and I have just finished the first 4 within 2 weeks.

I honestly have my doubts that Craig Alanson is a 'real person', and I suspect that he is just a pen name for a group of writers. These suspicions were reinforced after looking at 'his' facebook page. It just seems far too 'constructed'.

However, I do plan to continue listening to the series as it is very entertaining.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Mark
  • 08-17-18

The Flying Dutchman saves Earth AGAIN!

RC Bray is excellent, and the witty dialogue and situational atmosphere of doing something monkey brain stupid is hilarious!!
Thank you Craig Alanson for creating enduring characters for us to be empathetic with.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • nigel
  • 08-01-18

Trust the awesomeness

2nd best in the series, this story continues straight on like it's predecessor. Looking forward to the next one

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Anonymous User
  • 07-31-18

Will Nagitha be able to help?

Will Nagitha be able to help? Will Skippy ever return god I I hope so.