Excalibur by Tim Marquitz had me at the cover, then I stayed for the wild rollercoaster ride of wall to wall action.
This book was pretty much everything i ever wanted out of a science fiction TV show in book form. The opening scene is pure action, reminding me of Babylon 5- A Call To Arms with the main weapon that has to recharge. Then we get the cool phasing device that operates like a Romulan cloak. The captain Albion isn’t afraid of action, very much like Kirk or Kevin Sorbo’s character in Andromeda. He’s got an on again off again relationship that’s strained yet tense like we saw with Sisko and Yates in DS9. There’s an alien invasion that’s looming of creepy beasts that remind me of playing Halo. And finally, the crew banters back and forth like the finest moments of Firefly.
Though these aren’t directly referenced in any means, this is a definitely a unique and well detailed original world, Marquitz hits all of the high points that made for great moment in the television shows I listed and more. We have an estranged captain and ship, having to hide from his own human government while dealing with these aliens. It’s tense on all fronts, constant action with vivid ship battles and even some great ground combat thanks to their battle bot named Ares. The secondary cast and crew are very fun as well, each having their own unique flare to them. I can’t remember the last book where I remembered so many of the secondary characters, but in Excalibur, I feel like I got a glimpse of the whole crew like watching one of those 90s or 2000s space shows.
And with the pacing and the cool characters, it was extremely quick to read with that. This definitely felt like a “pilot” for a series where we get to see these characters again, and I for one can’t wait for it. I love the military culture in the book, the aliens, the romance the captain has with his former wife (which I’d like more details of!) and just about everything else. A fantastic ride from start to finish.
The way the plot unfolds is all about discovering what the aliens are up to, so I won’t spoil it for you, but it’s completely satisfying and I’m glad I picked this up and gave it a shot.