I’ve got to hand it to Anspach and Cole. The world building they are doing in the Galaxy’s Edge franchise doesn’t seem like it will ever slow down. They’re at least fifteen books into this universe and I keep running into newer and weirder twists and turns in the history of their galaxy. And they’re always throwing in new characters and cross-connecting old characters and advancing new plot lines. These boys are on their game.
(Spoiler Alert – Skip down to last paragraph to avoid spoilers and read recommendation)
In this latest installment Aeson Ford (/Captain Keel/Wraith/Tyrus Rechs (imposter)) is working undercover for his old Legionnaire friend Chhun. He gets mixed up with an investigation into Nether Ops interference into the chaotic political situation that has existed since the Legion put an end to the House of Reason. Working with the Nether Ops agent “Honey” he infiltrates several bases of the nefarious spy agency leading up to the capture of vital intel. Meanwhile Ford is also in search of information on his own forgotten origins in the Kill Team Ice that stretches back to the Savage Wars by means of cryosleep.
Meanwhile we discover that his crewmate Leenah was not killed when the Indelible VI was attacked by bounty hunters in the last book. We learn how her ship was all but destroyed just as she made the jump to light speed. The jump saved her life but left her stranded in the middle of nowhere with almost no air and no way to get help. Through her mechanical ingenuity she rigs a signal and waits with time running out. Meanwhile Ford’s other crewmate Garret is Lenah working with Nilo’s Black Leaf mercenaries and because he hasn’t given up on Leenah’s life, he locates her signal and convinces Nilo to go on a rescue mission.
When they get to the beacon Leenah and the ship is gone and Nilo figures out that Leenah has been captured by Gomarii slavers and they go on a mission to save her and take down the Gomarii. During the rescue Nilo and Garret discover that the Gomarii vessel is actually a Savage hulk that contains information in its memory banks crucial to the upcoming resumption of the Savage threat to the galaxy.
Aeson Ford fabricates a plot to capture a rogue Naval Commander who has been doing the Nether Ops dirty work. During the action Honey betrays him with her former colleagues in Nether Ops and she is killed along with the rest of the agents that Ford defeats. When he returns to the Legion base, he learns that his old comrade Masters is in dire straits. Instead of returning to Garret and Nilo he heads off with the legionnaires to save Masters. But at the end of the book, we find that Nilo also has business on that same dangerous planet.
Dark Victory winds two plots together and both are done well. The rescue of Leenah from the salvers is the more dynamic and satisfying of the subplots but taking Ford out of the action allows the secondary characters like Leenah and Garret to get their moments in the sun. Plus, it allows Nilo and Garret to advance the information on the Savage Wars back story which will tie in with other characters that don’t figure in this book but will return soon. Let’s face it, once you’re into the series this deep all you want to know is whether it’s still a good read. It is.