STRANGER STARS by Cameron Cooper
Iron Hammer 6.0
Space Opera Novel
A new hope for the Carina worlds emerges…
Danny Andela and her Carinad allies make a desperate bid to recruit a new ally to their cause, one who could change their fortunes in the war with the Slavers.
Stranger Stars is the sixth book in the Iron Hammer space opera science fiction series by award-winning SF author Cameron Cooper. The Iron Hammer series is a spin off from the acclaimed Imperial Hammer series, and features many of the characters and situations from that series.
The Iron Hammer series:
1.0: Galactic Thunder
2.0: Stellar Storm
3.0: Planetary Parlay
4.0: Waxing War
5.0: Ruled Out
6.0: Stranger Stars
7.0: Federal Force
8.0: Redline Rebels
Space Opera Science Fiction Novel
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I was completely hooked me from the start, plunging me back into the action where 'Ruled Out' left off. It's satisfying and reassuring to be back with these characters.
I admire Cameron Cooper's style which is able to transplant me into this complex world of space cities and space ships, making me feel like I'm there! What amazing new worlds are being created in this series through descriptions that are detailed, relevant and intriguing.
I feel like I have a vested interest in the welfare of Danny and her crew / extended family of friends which is what personalises and makes this war story so interesting.
Over the course of this Iron Hammer series (& the Imperial Hammer series before it) various characters have been introduced gradually, building the interesting cast with which I have a rapport. I loved how they all evolved and interacted during this latest book.
I can highly recommend this latest book in the Iron Hammer series and especially advocate reading all the books in order.
If you want to enjoy these characters in their fully enriched complexity then it's even better to read the Imperial Hammer series beforehand.
This is another great addition to the Iron Hammer series. This piece of the adventure definitely gets darker as others have said. The world building and character building is wonderful and there was dark gritty feel to the events that make you worry for the characters. Highly recommend this series and although you can read as standalone i recommend start with one and binging your way through to number six.
Stranger Stars is Cameron Cooper’s sixth book in the amazing, space opera series, Iron Hammer. Wow! Danny Andela and her allies among the Carina worlds, have to fight the warlike Terrans who have been attacking vulnerable cities along the edge of Carinad space facing the Terran territories.
The Terrans have been building bigger and better ships, allowing them to attack more of the Carinad Federation. I just love the descriptive detail, and explanations, in these books for the technologies and science behind their civilizations, i.e. FTL travel as well as the battle plan discussions. It is these seemingly little things that make the story so real.
And the characters continue to develop, as we learn more and more about them. Is there a traitor among them?
I have always read science fiction And this series reminds me of why I originally fell in love with this genre. Cameron Cooper’s stories truly rival the greats, like Frank Herbert.
Thank you Cameron!
This series continues to be gripping and realistic in its attention to detail.
How do you fight an enemy who thrives on war? What do you do when they are toying with you, just to prolong the inevitable?
A hopeful initiative ends in a crushing loss, which could have been much worse. How are the Terrans tracking them, and how can the tide be turned.
The inventive nature of this series is beyond any I have read. It will keep you on the edge of your seat and gasping for your next breath. Simply Stunning!
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EXCERPT FROM STRANGER STARS
COPYRIGHT © CAMERON COOPER 2021
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
We couldn’t afford to fail, this time. The Temar Mountain base was huge, one of the Terran’s biggest military command centers. Shutting it down would seriously crimp the Terran war effort. It would also be a morale booster for the Federation. The Carinad people were as bruised as my Marines and could use the lift.
“Gone to Blue!” Colonel Marlow called.
Shit. Juliyana was committed. The attack on the base beneath Temar Mountain was launched. That changed things.
I moved closer to the ball, where the yellow dots were streaking toward us. “Dalton!” I called.
“General?” Dalton’s voice issued from a dozen different speakers around the bridge, which had the effect of centralizing his voice, as if it was coming from the tank.
“Peel off and drop carriers over Beauramis, ready to land and pick up the troops. Go fast.”
“Going,” Dalton replied.
I looked at Jai. “Battle plan, Brigadier?”
Jai nodded, staring at the ball and the yellow lines. “Command Fleet captains, listen up. We engage with sequence three-seven-five, then roll into four-two-two. I’ll call after that. Acknowledge.”
Low-volume affirmations sounded, on top of each other, creating an elongated note of agreement.
Jai glanced at Slate.
“All acknowledged, sir,” Slate told him, staring at his dashboard.
I lifted my chin. “Gloria, sequence three-seven-five, go!”
“Yes, General,” the ship’s primary AI acknowledged.
Beneath my feet, the floor vibrated as the massive reaction engines fired up. Stars shifted their positions to the right as the Glory turned to meet the Terrans.
“Battle stations!” Jai yelled.
Everyone who wasn’t already at their station scurried back to it. Yoan’s engineering crew scrambled to pick up their equipment and tools and put the fascia board back on the wall, while Major Rosalie shoved them aside with her hip, trying to reach her scanner tables.
I moved back to the command chair, my heart thudding heavily, distracting me. How could the Terrans be here?
How did they know we were here?
The tank chimed. The dotted yellow lines turned to solid red lines, each with a little dot at the front end. A mothership.
“How many motherships?” I asked. Someone had to have counted the lines by now.
“Thirty-six, sir!” came the call. Ragno, I think.
We were picking up speed, preparing for attack. The weapons team in the pit were working swiftly, preparing weapons, shields, and defense measures. Calpurnia stood behind them, her feet spread, providing soft directions, asking for statuses. The Glory was never part of the frontline offensive, but we’d had to fight our way out of trouble many times. Bringing the ship to attack status was simple commonsense.
I left Calpurnia alone. She knew how to do her job.
Most of the ships in the fleet were heading to a location that, once the fleet was assembled, would form a loose spherical cap around the emerged motherships, keeping them contained. Another, smaller wall, composed of the balance of the ships, would herd the Terran motherships into the net.
But no plan survives contact with the enemy, which was why Jai had only called out two sequences.
The starfield beyond the windows shifted as our speed increased. But apart from stars sliding across the windows, there was still nothing else to see. The motherships were too far away to pick out with the naked eye. I abandoned the windows and turned to the tank. The red heads at the tip of the lines were slowing. They’d seen us.
“Watch for aperture glow!” Jai shouted.
We couldn’t see the ships from here, but we could see and detect on the scanners the super-heated maws of their fireball launchers as they fired.
Sergeant Cooney, in the weapons pit, would by now have the ship’s shields up and at full draw. I glanced to the left, where Captain Seong Ogawa stood with Major Rosalie. Seong stared at the table display next to Rosalie’s heads-up charts, his eyes narrowed. His primary role was to interpret the data the scanners provided and give me coherent information I could use to form decisions, but at times like this, he could supplement the weapons pit’s warning systems.
“Fireballs!” he called.
I glanced at the window. Pinpricks of light, far away, announcing the launch of the fire-encased balls which could pass right through every level and bulkhead of a ship, exposing its interior to vacuum from two sides. The balls looked quaint, but were deadly.
I pulled my gaze back to the tank. After a first volley, the Terrans always split and separated the targets they presented, while attacking us from as many angles as possible. That was why we used a net to try to scoop them back into a condensed area where we could deal with them.
And they were separating and running, today. Jai studied the red dots as they parted. “Sequence four-two-two, now!” he called.
The Glory’s rail guns and cannon launchers all spoke at the same time, making the ship shudder. The rail guns traced green lines across black space, crossing and mingling with over a hundred others, seeking out their targets.
A mothership lit up with a quickly-extinguished explosion.
So did one of ours.
The sides of the Marine net surged forward. We were attempting to pull the net in around the Terran ships.
The next few minutes were busy and noisy. Busy, because we all had our assigned tasks, depending upon what the current sequence was. We listened to Jai call the numbers and responded accordingly.
It was noisy because we talked over the top of each other. Everyone on the bridge but me gave status updates or drew attention to anomalies. If a status changed for the worse, I gave directions. I told individual crew what to do with new data.
None of us shouted. The acoustics system made that unnecessary. Jai was the only exception. He raised the volume of his calls to draw our attention to the swift river of new battle sequences to set up and execute. Not just the Glory heard Jai. Every officer captaining every ship in the fleet—which included colonels and commanders—was connected to the Glory and could hear Jai’s calls. Slate made sure of that.
We took fire more than once, but the shields repelled nearly everything. We were jolted and rocked, and my dashboard reported breeches on several decks, but molecular barriers were holding, and fire crews were in attendance.
I made myself focus, so I didn’t hear the rattle of voices around me. “Marlow, ground troop status?” I looked directly at him where he stood by the analysis wing, with Rosalie and Seong beside him.
He met my gaze. “Red, General.”
They were taking fire. The status didn’t tell me how much fire they were taking, though.
My belly tightened. The troops had expected to be fired upon. You can’t sneak fifty armed men into a base. But the Terrans engaging us here in nowhere-space told me Juliyana had walked into a similarly-rigged situation. It wasn’t a few sentries and the odd uniformed personnel they were facing.
I nodded in response to Marlow’s update. “Tell them to pull out. All troops, disengage and retreat at double-time. Dalton, are you hearing this?”
“Got it,” Dalton replied. “All carriers directed to land as close as possible. Extraction underway.”
A thought occurred to me. “Are you taking fire yourself?”
“Yes.” His voice was calm. “Fighters are out.”
Two dozen one man fighters and a lone destroyer. Granted, the Dominant was heavily armed. My throat tightened, anyway. “Jai, I want three destroyers to jump to the Dominant, reinforce its position and guard the personnel carriers while the ground troops are extracted.”
Jai nodded, even though he had his back to me as he studied the tank in front of him.
“We stay engaged until Dalton is out of there,” I added to Jai. Then I made myself forget about that part of the operation.
“General!” Slate cried. Loudly.
I spun on the wide seat of the chair to look at him.
He shook his head. “I don’t know how, but the Terrans have spliced into our data stream. They’re…calling us.”
The bridge fell silent.
I got to my feet and faced Slate properly. “Calling the Glory?”
Slate swallowed. “You, General. They are requesting to speak to you.”