R. M. Meluch’s first novel in more than a decade, The Myriad,begins a series that is an amalgam of subgenres: military science fiction, space opera, time paradox, and alternate history.
On an Earth where the Roman Empire never fell (but instead existed in secret societies for millennia, finally reestablishing itself on the planet Palatine) and is now embroiled in a war against the League of Earth Nations, a much more deadly foe emerges from the darkness of deep space — the Hive. The governments of Palatine and Earth enter into an uneasy alliance to fight the alien invaders, nondescript antagonists that exist only to consume. While the unified forces try to keep the Hive from destroying human-populated planets, one U.S. battleship, the Merrimack, sets off on a quest to find the Hive’s homeworld and take the battle to its source.
During the ship’s desperate search, the crew of the Merrimackdiscovers a strange star cluster with three worlds inhabited by sentient beings. After first contact with the amazingly humanoid populace, Captain John Farragut discovers a series of wormholes that could unlock the secrets that could defeat the Hive — or destroy humankind forever.
Vaguely reminiscent of Robert A. Heinlein’s Starship Troopers (specifically, the relentless alien antagonists and the over-the-top, gung-ho characters), Meluch’s The Myriad is lighthearted, fast-paced fun. While obviously not as intense or controversial as Heinlein’s Hugo Award winning classic, this novel will prove thoroughly enjoyable to fans of military science fiction authors like David Weber and David Drake. Paul Goat Allen