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Publisher's Summary

First in a New Military Science Fiction Series

"I was on a dead ship on an unknown planet with three trainees freshly graduated into the Imperial Service. I tried to look on the bright side."

He is the last to wake. The label on his sleeper pad identifies him as an admiral of the Evagardian Empire - a surprise as much to him as to the three recent recruits now under his command. He wears no uniform, and he is ignorant of military protocol, but the ship's records confirm he is their superior officer.

Whether he is an Evagardian admiral or a spy will be of little consequence if the crew members all end up dead. They are marooned on a strange world, their ship's systems are failing one by one - and they are not alone.

©2016 Sean Danker (P)2016 Penguin Audio

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  • 4.3 out of 5.0
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Hard to put down- exciting

This one was a definite "page turner". In my case, since I was listening to the audio, that meant I walked around with headphones in my ears almost non-stop for 3 days. This book has two "mysteries" to keep the reader engaged. The one is a sci-fi thriller that finds the "admiral" and three military trainees trying to rescue themselves from a deadly situation on an inhospitable planet while trying to figure out what caused their transport to crash and the barebones crew to die. The other is the mystery surrounding the "admiral"-- who is he and why is he so secretive about his identity? The thriller part was exciting and satisfying. The mysterious identity of the "admiral" was a little less satisfying to me, but at least I got an answer. (It was so close to the end I was afraid it might not be revealed.) For all the secrecy shrouding him, I felt like the explanation could have been a little less anti-climactic. It wasn't a complete letdown, but it was a little (for me). Nevertheless, overall the book was still a very good read (or listen). The reader of the audiobook did a very good job. I'm glad I took the chance on a book with so few reviews (though good ones). Definitely worth my time and my Audible credit.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Admiral?

So this was actually the first time I listened to a book with no reviews (when I got it), it was pretty good overall. The narrator did a good job, it was also the first time I've heard him. I felt he fit this book well. When I first read the synopsis I thought this was going to be very similar to other stories- they wake up, they don't remember who they are, they have to survive. Pleasantly, I was surprised that wasn't the case. They wake up, they know who they are, not each other, and other things happen- sorry no spoilers. The writer did a good job keeping me entrenched in the story, not giving all answers until the final minutes of the book. This is well worth a credit and a very easy listen. No harsh language, so I'd say it's good for most ages f that is a concern.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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it awesome strory

the story is mystery and suspense with lot of hidden plots give it chance it start slow. but it become to be a awesome story

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Get this now, you won't be sorry.

I could not put this story Down.

I think this is great SF,, I will look for any other books by this author.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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A bland story with some bland characters

The story starts out interesting enough with 4 soldiers awaking from a stasis sleep on a freight starship and none knowing the others nor the circumstances surrounding their current situation. All suspicious of the one who claims to be an honorary admiral and who insists that following him is their best chance to find out what happened and to survive their current dangerous situation.

Unfortunately, what follows after that is a long meandering and, at times, rambling unfolding of mostly unexciting situations told by the admiral's perspective.

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The Empress only negotiates one way

This is the audiobook I listen to when I am between books and need to cleanse my pallet with something good.

I stopped counting the number of times I have listened to this book after about the eighth listen. This is the book I come back to when I want to remember what a good, tight SF story sounds like. The author does not insult your intelligence with too much exposition or backstory. The attitude is uncompromising and allows you to fill in the blanks and sort out much of it yourself until the very end.

(Mild spoilers) That said, downsides include stock characters, large plot holes, and the solution to nearly every obstacle the characters encounter seems to include copious amounts of high explosives and extreme violence ("the Empress only negotiates one way"). Not to mention that although one of the first problems the characters are faced with is whether or not to loot a shuttle for gear is settled by the realization that they cannot get the freighter doors open to fly it anywhere, somehow they forget that every other time they have to try to get a small flying craft out of a large flying craft for the rest of the book.

Are these deal breakers? No.

What keeps this all together are fun characters and smart dialogue. Plus the story is written from a very entertaining first person perspective that reads like a friend telling you a funny story about something that happened to them recently. The narration assumes that you are in on the joke, so it does not go overboard with backstory or highly technical, science-y explanations of how a gravity drive works or what an Emergency Medical Stasis module does.

This book also has a lot to say about leadership. At the outset of the story there are four characters who do not know each other who all wake up on a dead interstellar freighter: a private, an ensign, a lieutenant, and an admiral. The admiral does not look, talk, walk, dress, or act like an officer of any rank. The other three respond to his authority uniquely with greater disregard for it growing according to their rank. The private does not question the Admiral's authority, the ensign is ready to listen to whoever has the best ideas, and the lieutenant thinks he is an impostor working to kill them all. How he handles them, especially the lieutenant, is educational.

One last--and my only real criticism about this book: The sequels can't come out soon enough for me.

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❤❤❤

For me Admiral was one of those books you're always excited to come back to. The story had enough going on that even until the end, and even after it, you were pulled to keep uncovering the story.

I doubt there will be a sequel but if there ever is I'd read the shit out of it.

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My favorite new book of this year

I wasn't sure what to expect from Admiral, but from the first few minutes it was non-stop fun. It's part character story, part space opera, and part horror story and absolutely zips past while you're putting all the pieces together. It has a feel reminiscent of Lois McMaster Bujold's Vorkosigan books, with the same irreverent humor and attention to character. It's deceptively intricate, too, right down to the little details, and the ending was fantastic. Hands down my favorite new book of this year.

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  • Joy
  • Annapolis MD United States
  • 10-10-16

Excellent find!

I found this book by accident and I'm glad I did.This was an interesting story more about being team players even though there was a healthy dose of unease flowing between the crew. The narrator was wonderful and kept you engaged.
A worthwhile listen and worth the credit

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  • Adam
  • Abita Springs, Louisiana
  • 07-07-16

pretty good book

not to slow not to fast. You really have no idea about the characters in the book until the end and it keeps you guessing. Overall a pretty good book.

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  • Helen
  • 09-27-16

An Admiral, a spy or something else?

This was a fun listen - a good mix of SF adventure (how to get out of their predicament) and mystery (who is the Admiral?)

In places, the unknown identity of the narrator was very clunky and felt a bit forced. I had guessed a bit of his identity, but some of it came completed out of left field and felt quite unsatisfying. But the door is left open for more adventures, so maybe that's why?

On the more positive side, I did like the characters and technology - the escape plotline was fleshed out with just the right level of "gadgets" and ingenuity.

On the narration: McClain does a good job distinguishing between the characters. I'd definitely listen to his narration in future