Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Review: Ship of Destiny by Frank Chadwick

Ship of Destiny (Sam Bitka, Book #2)
by Frank Chadwick
Release Date: March 3rd 2020
2020 Baen
Kindle Edition; 480 Pages
ISBN: 978-1982124434
Genre: Fiction / Science-Fiction
Source: Review copy from publisher

4.5 / 5 Stars

When a mysterious alien probe materializes from Jump Space and remotely reprograms The Bay's star drive, Sam and his crew begin an involuntary voyage that takes them three thousand light years out of known space, across the galactic rift to the Sagittarius Spiral Arm, and into the heart of an ancient, previously unknown civilization—the first encountered by Humans and the other five races of the Cottohazz—Stellar Commonwealth—in over a century. The genetically altered immortals known as The Guardians, a race so old they do not remember their own origins, soon turn murderously violent.

Now Sam and his crew must elude capture by the Guardians, find some means of reprogramming their own star drive, and then return to the Cottohazz with the news of a powerful new civilization bent on their destruction. But they may also be carrying the secrets of the origin of their own star drive and of the path to immortality.

My Thoughts
Ship of Destiny is the second book in the Sam Bitka series, and I really enjoyed this book.  This is the first book I have read by this author, but I have become a huge fan and plan to read his other books as soon as I can.  And while this book is the second book in a series, I had no problem jumping into these alien worlds and understanding what was happening.  I also have to admit to a bit a fangirl crush on Sam Bitka.  He actually reminded me a bit of Captain Picard so if you are a fan of Star Trek, you will understand the draw that Sam can have others.  

While this book apparently picks up not long after events in the first book, the reasons for Sam's promotion and eventual tasking to "USS Cam Ranh Bay" are loaded in political warfare between two brothers and a nephew, something of which I only got a taste.  But it was enough to understand the deep undercurrents that were going on and to realize that Sam must have annoyed some important people; however, being a hero, they just couldn't ship him off to nowhere as how would that look?  Unfortunately for Sam, he ended up on a ship that was remotely reprogrammed by an alien probe which hurtled their ship thousands of light years away from their known space.  And this is where I loved Sam; he was able to keep control of a crew that could have gone ballistic, but his leadership ability and his tactical genius kept everyone alive.  They meet up with the immortal Guardians, aliens who behave like gods to their own people, and not necessarily like benevolent gods either.  

I really enjoyed all of the characters. I have always enjoyed science fiction for its political intrigue and this one was no exception.  And while the political stuff was interesting, I did feel that it didn't quite go deep enough for my liking which is why I didn't quite give it five stars.  However, the space battle scenes are quite amazing and they feel so realistic.  I am not a scientist, nor do I have a background in physics, but I was engaged in the scenes and could feel the tension right to my toes.  I like how the author showed some of the thoughts from the alien POV as well.  In fact, I would have liked a bit more of their POV as it was interesting.  

The plot moved at a good pace, a nice balance between action and calmer periods.  I have never read this author before so I wasn't sure what to expect, but I have to say I was shocked a couple of times in this book over events and even yelled out a "What?! No!!!"   After the first shock, I read with a bit more trepidation as I wasn't sure I could handle any more shocks.  Science fiction can sometimes get bogged down with too much technical details, but the author was able to explain a lot of the stuff in layman's terms so the reader wouldn't get lost, something I appreciated.  

Ship of Destiny was a lot of fun to read and I definitely enjoyed the whole 'space opera' feel of this book.  The characters, especially Sam Bitka, were interesting, and flawed, something that I like as it makes them more empathetic.  While I can't say for sure how accurate the science was in this book (my science background leans more towards biological sciences), it sounded good and I could understand a lot of it so I have to give credit to the author for his ability to explain things really well. I highly recommend this book and I will be reading the first book in this series at some point as well. I am looking forward to more books in this series as I have a lot of questions for the author. Who exactly is Te-anna? 


  1. I'm very glad you enjoyed the book so much, and for what I think are all the right reasons. I think you can figure out who Te'Anna really is if you think about who else had gray eyes and was often associated with an owl.

  2. Who is Te'Anna? Well, think about it for a moment: immortal being, gray eyes, often associated with an owl . . .

    1. I think I meant more, What is her role in this series as opposed to what is she. I couldn't figure out exactly if she was going to help or hinder. I am looking forward to finding out more about her as I found her character so intriguing.

  3. Fair enough, and I won't say going forward, because that's her journey to continue. In the context of this novel, I certainly wanted her role to be ambiguous, at least at first. On the surface her role becomes essentially the same as her mythological counterpart's was in the source material. But beyond that, and unlike the source material, this story becomes as important a spiritual journey of discovery for her as it is for Sam. It's really their joint story, but I don't think I can say more without poisoning the experience for those who haven't read the story yet.