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The Aule Stratagem- Slave Ship Review

The debut novel from Author David Clegg- 26th April 2022

The Aule Sector, a crucial region of space between the Confederacy of Bellona and the League of Independent Systems, is being plagued by piracy.

Lieutenant Commander Michael Patterson, newly assigned tactical officer on CSS Aurora, is part of the Confederate Navy's response.

Intelligence reports tell him that pirate attacks are increasing by the day and patrol ships are being evaded. The news that frontline warships are in these scavengers’ hands adds to the tension.

Many crews have been captured and sold into slavery; their cargo now pirate booty.

Cara Tayley’s ship is one of those destroyed by the vultures, and she and her crew are now prisoners. But she will not go quietly, she will fight against the vile pirates that have them, even if it means her death. Better that than a slave.

Patterson is out to complete his mission and stop these marauders, he may be Tayley’s only hope of salvation.

But questions plague the crew of the Aurora.

What is really going on in the Aule Sector?

How are the pirates so well informed and well-armed?

Is there a traitor on the station?

Can Patterson find the answers, make the sector safe and find Tayley before it is too late?

So I'm not a traditional sci-fi fan in terms of reading, especially those involving space missions, yet as I have often mentioned this year I want to be taken out of my usual comfort zones and get stuck into genres I wouldn't usually read. This was a corker though. I am very impressed. I feel as though I have neglected this certain genre but I am so proud to have been transported into another world, another realm.

When I first received the novel, I was immediately impressed with the cover of the book, I think we all know that we get drawn in to certain covers when it comes to choosing books, and this one was gorgeous, and definitely one I probably would of picked if I saw in a book shop. I didn't think from the blurb that this book could make me cry, but boy about 75% in my tears were flooding (without spoiling anything). WHAT BOOK DO YOU KNOW THAT IS ABOUT SPACE, CONFEDERATE NAVY....AND PIRATES?!. None?? I thought so! So pick this book up and give it a chance, because it is fantastic.

The first thing that impressed me with David's novel was the intelligently researched knowledge that was packed in surrounding all things, navy, ships, military and space, you could tell David spent a long time perfecting this and it is shown almost straight away within the first few pages. I don't know much about the terms and the language used in the surroundings within ships and the navy, but I feel like a professional now haha! My favourite bits of the book was how the technology that needed to be used was explained with such precise detail that anybody would be able to understand. I am a huge fan of Doctor Who and have been since I was a child, Russell T Davies' ability to convey such fantastic character development to keep watchers/readers addicted really reflected through David's work, from the offset the characters in this novel, not only the MC but also the contributing characters were developed incredibly well. I wanted to know more as soon as I was introduced to each one.

The plot was well structured, and although fast-paced it was completely full of action, and not at one point did I find this novel boring, I was hooked right from the start, the writers description of futuristic space settings, battleships and strong imagery is the reason you kept wanting more. If you love Star Wars, Doctor Who, Guardians Of The Galaxy, I strongly recommended you get a copy of this book for yourselves, as it's a perfect mixture of all of them.

My favourite characters were Cara and Patterson, their ability to remain calm, collected and professional no matter the situation was emphasised clearly, and I loved how the female characters were not made out to be naïve, they were powerful, independent and clever, which can be unusual to see in novels like this. Going into the novel I thought the story would mainly focus on an all-male crew, yet I loved the variety of different characters all working together no matter the gender. The growth and wisdom of all characters who are onboard CSS Aurora was first-class, and I am so excited to be able to see the development of this in Book 2.

For thrill-seekers, this book is full of high-risk adventures which will keep readers guessing, excited and desperate for more.

I must say there is a LOT of trigger warnings in this book that I think some people may find uncomfortable, such as rape, sexual assault and abuse towards the slaves by their captors, so it's worth taking aboard this advice before reading ahead.

The one thing I think I would of liked in this book is a map of the layout of the space, and the background they are all part of, I think it would of put a brilliant touch for the imagery in this novel.

I'm really excited for part 2, and if I'm honest, I hope it comes soon because the ending made my jaw drop open and I WANT MORE!

Congratulations David, what an impressive first debut novel.

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