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Duel in the Dark

Blood on the Stars, Book 1
Written by: Jay Allan
Narrated by: Luke Daniels
Length: 12 hrs and 56 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (8 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

A new adventure by the author of the best-selling Crimson Worlds and Far Stars series.

The Confederation has fought three wars against the forces of the totalitarian Union. Three generations of its warriors have gone off to war, held the line against the larger, more powerful enemy. Now the fourth conflict is imminent, and the Confederation's navy is on alert, positioned behind the frontier, waiting for the attack it knows is coming.

The battleship Dauntless has spent the past 10 months patrolling the border, deployed far forward of the main fleet, a forlorn hope, an advance guard positioned to give the warning of invasion. But no attack has come. Her crew is exhausted, and the aging battleship needs maintenance. With the fleet mobilized and the forward bases overloaded beyond capacity, she is sent clear across the Confederation, to a planet along the quiet and peaceful far frontier. Her crew is looking forward to a rest, and Dauntless herself is scheduled for a long-overdue maintenance session.

But the quiet frontier isn't what it seems, and when a distress call is received from one of the mining colonies on the edge of Confederation space, it falls to Captain Tyler Barron to take Dauntless forward, to find out what is happening, and to put a stop to it.

Barron and his crew have their ship - and each other - but they can expect no other help. Suspicion is strong that Union deceit is at play, that the attack is some sort of diversion intended to draw Confederation forces from the disputed border. The orders are clear. No ships will be transferred from the prospective battle line. Stopping whatever is happening on the rim is Barron's responsibility and his alone.

Barron is the grandson of the Confederation's great hero, the father of the modern navy. His family name has always carried privilege with it - and crushing responsibility. And now he must prove that he has inherited more from his famous grandfather than name and privilege. He must face the enemy and win the victory before the Confederation is caught between two enemies and destroyed.

©2016 Jay Allan Books Inc. (P)2016 Audible, Inc.

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  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
  • Amazon Customer
  • 2017-06-05

backwards thinking

I wasnt impressed. The tactics utilized are. idiotic at best. Early in the ship battle he mentions torpedo tubes, but then never uses them. The so called honorable commander keeps his crew and himself at general quarters living on stims for days at a time with apparently no degradation of their performance, unless you count the complete lack of tactical thinking throughout the book as a result of this stupidity. As pointed out by another reviewer the main characters are generic and almost carbon copies of each other. Besides all that the author seems not only to have his characters commit atrocities, and to do things detrimental to morale and the lives of their crews, but he seemingly whole heartedly endorses their actions. If this is his notion of a good commander he's obviously never spoken to a real service member. To top it all off he's very generic in his physics concept, and the ships are bland and unremarkable aside from their size. All in all the premise and the execution of the plot was mediocre at best.
The narrator made the women sound like men with bad accents.

39 of 44 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • Tm
  • 2017-02-01

Slow slow slow

I can appreciate character building but something has to happen at some point to hold your interest. I made it 3hrs without much happening. There are so many better titles. I'm asking for a refund I couldn't finish tho one.

29 of 33 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Andrew
  • 2017-02-11

Don't waste your money.

The lost fleet series was way better than this! I found this to be very repetitive and boring.

9 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Trudy Owens
  • 2017-09-13

Similar to many other plots

Luke Daniels is a great narrator; here, however, his female voices were uncertain. It was hard to remember that the 3 women in the story actually were women because they didn't sound like women.

There are some space opera tropes that need to end now. All are present in this book:
1. The use of old Roman/Latin names for military titles and people's names. We rarely use them now; do you think a thousand years in the future people will have reverted to them?
2. The name Kat for a female ship captain. There seems to be some attraction male authors have to this name, as if it makes her both sexy and strong at the same time.
3. The name Dauntless for the main ship. Seriously, every single space tale has a Dauntless.
4. The fact that a warrior people who value honor over all and never surrender, never retreat are always the bad guys.
5. Ship captains who read history, sometimes (but not here) from real paper books and using real eye glasses. Let's leave that one with Kirk and Picard.

Actually the reading of history may be a valid literary symbol, so maybe #5 isn't so bad after all. In this story, it implies that we will continue to repeat our mistakes because no one does read history. This was the most interesting aspect I encountered, yet it was subtle and easily missed.

This story presents 3 civilizations, the Alliance, The Union, and the Confederation. Only 2 of them end up being important in this part of the saga. It is hard to know who is who, especially when the Marines are trying to take a planet and are met with strong resistance. We don't know whose Marines they are, and which side the planetaries are on. This fight should have been one we cared about and cheered for, but it never caught interest. This is a shame because most Marines stories are real chest-thumpers.

It was also difficult to know who was to be the hero and who the bad guy. This was confusing, but actually quite true to life since every soldier on both sides is the good guy to his mother and his comrades. And it allowed us to mourn the defeat and death of the enemy.

There were only 3 people we really cared about, Captain Kat, Captain Tyler Baron and Sam. It took a long time for us to choose which captain to root for. If that was the point, it is so subtle, and so thinly developed for most people to care about, and just causes confusion. There was some real emotion there, and some sincere reflection into motivations, duty, honor, and courage. Those provided the morals to the story. The action was pretty good at the end, the actual duel in the dark. However, this book does not captivate me enough for me to read the next installment.

10 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Dieselpowercat
  • 2018-01-22

good book.

good book, reader was very dry, in my opinion. I think the other books has different reader.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Stig
  • 2018-01-20

Good concept bad writing and that narrator...

Good concept well thought out. But the writing is bad. If I had to listen to "the way is the way" one more time ugh. Additionally there is a general over-narration in the writing "he hit the hard metal floor hard..." the reader gets it the metal floor is hard.

The worst writing offense is repetitive writing the author will say one thing then say exactly the same thing often verbatim a few paragraphs later. It is blatant copy paste filler. There is also a general over use of certain adjective that shows a lack of editing.

The narrator.... Either every character should have the same voice or they should have different voices but simple going with "all 'good guy' marines sound like Texans and all 'bad guy' marines sound like orcs" makes it hard to follow who is talking. There is also a major female character the chosen voice for which sounds more manly than most of those Texas flavored marines. I mean that literally when the narrator goes into her voice you have no idea who is talking let alone thst it is this female character until you are told who it is.

Another issue which is probably more a personal peeve is - the reader understands the author means for faction "b" to be based on ancient Roman culture giving every character from that faction overly long names which are always spoken in full (aka no use of just first, or last, or nickname but the whole thing) makes dialogue sound unrealistic. - i highly doubt even the Romans called everyone by their full lengthy names every time they addressed them. On the same note - we got the whole lineage indoctrination thing after the first 50 mentions bringing it up during the character's every thought is a waste of time and words and slows the story down

The concept is good really quite good...but the writing and narration make this a one and done series for me.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • JTB
  • 2018-01-06

Excellent!

Gripping story, well performed. Once you understand the conflicting powers tough to put down. Looking forward to more in the series.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2017-06-19

Not bad, if only tactics, timing and technology we

Not bad, if only tactics, timing and technology were actually applied to the story...but I'll keep reading the series...

7 of 10 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Alex Millender
  • 2017-06-16

The story was good, but very predictable

When you have read as many "good vs evil" books and seen as much scifi as I have, a predictable plot is annoying.

That was ok here because it was a good, well written story in spite of this fact.

What really grated on my nerves was Allan's choice of having all military persons, no matter whose thoughts within any of the four cultures' militaries were being presented, used the word "comrades" in the narration of their thoughts to identity their fellows in arms. This wouldn't be a big issue if he hadn't used the term dozens upon dozens of times.

For four cultures so different and with such lack of knowledge about each other, it seemed like a very obvious bit of laziness within an otherwise good book for him to use that term ad nauseam. It cheapened the book for me.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • ron
  • 2017-05-12

Damn entertaining

3 main powers struggling for control of star systems. at first the story line switches between the factions. I was working on a project as I listened so it took me a second to catch up as he shuffled from the view of one faction to the next setting the stage. Then the action starts and I couldn't stop listening!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful