Center of Gravity (Star Carrier 2) by Ian Douglas [Book Review]

Earth Strikes back …

Ian Douglas likes the theme of humanity against a huge galactic empire where the American military by human ingenuity and flexibility overcomes both the aliens and the stupid civilian administration that tries to lead them astray. The civilians are not so over the top stupid this time but that is not to say they are smart.

Center of Gravity starts in the aftermath of Earth Strike and Admiral Alexander Koenig and his crew are officially the heroes that saved the day. The closeness of it all scares the political leadership so much that they want to pull more forces back to defend earth, a posture that would put the center of gravity of the conflict right on top of earth. Admiral Koenig knows a strong defense is futile against an aggressor with overwhelming resources. He has to take the initiative and bring the fight to the Sh’daar. He eventually gets a reduced task force he has to sneak away with fully knowing that an order to stay and bolster earth defenses is only hours away.

As usual in Ian Douglas series the focus is on the military actions with vivid descriptions of combat and what is happening with the people involved including the alien point of view. The humans are a bit bland compared to the aliens’ interesting psychology. Ian introduces a few more races and starts to reveal more about the Sh’daar, the mystic race leading the galactic empire and their motivation behind the edict against transcendence technologies that started the war.

The humans all have their struggles beside the obvious military ones Alexander struggles with the death of Karyn Mendelson in the recent destruction of the synchorbital military base Phobia above Mars while Lieutenant Trevor Gray struggles both with prejudices against Prims and his feelings for Angela who he had to enroll for to pay for the treatment that saved her life but also made her another person, a person not in love with him.

Center of Gravity was all in all an enjoyable read but it is on familiar grounds. I hope Ian Douglas deviate more from the formula in forthcoming books. I still want to read the next book No Return when it comes out in 2012.


Ian Douglas is a pen name for William H. Keith.

Title: Center of Gravity
Series: Star Carrier book 2
Author: Ian Douglas
Genre: Military Science Fiction
Paperback: 389 pages
Publisher: Harper Voyager (2011)
Order from: Amazon US | UK
Copy: bought it from Amazon

In the evolution of every sentient race, there is a turning point when the species achieves transcendence through technology.

The warlike Sh’daar are determined that this monumental milestone will never be achieved by the creatures known as human.

On the far side of known human space, the Marines are under siege, battling the relentless servant races of the Sh’daar aggressor. With a task force stripped to the bone and the Terran Confederation of States racked by dissent, rogue Admiral Alexander Koenig must make the momentous decision that will seal his fate and the fate of humankind. A strong defensive posture is futile, so Koenig will seize the initiative and turn the gargantuan Star Carrier America toward the unknown. For the element of surprise is the only hope of stalling the Sh’daar assault on Earth’s solar system—and the war for humankind’s survival must be taken directly to the enemy.