The Belt Loop (Book 1) by Robert B. Jones
Captain Uri Haad is plunged into one of the most terrifying voyages of his Colonial Navy career. His ship, the CNS Corpus Christi, stumbles upon a derelict alien vessel out in the void of Orion’s Belt — The Belt Loop as it is known by the sailors of the Third Colonial Fleet out of Elber Prime. He launched a Search and Rescue mission to the hulking derelict after his scans detected surviving life forms. What started as a mission of mercy quickly turns into a nightmare of epic proportions and as the horror spreads to his ship and crew, Captain Haad must make life and death decisions to avoid his own destruction and possibly an interstellar war. This taut deep-space adventure bridges the gap between distant suns and gives us a glimpse into the workings of the Twenty-eighth Century Colonial Navy. Approximately 95,000 words.
Space operas are meant to spark the imagination. They are meant to take the reader to places where in our lifetimes we will sadly never go. They must ooze drama, action, pleasure and pain. The Belt Loop by Robert Jones certainly does not disappoint. The action is steady and military (navy) aspect well researched. Once the story develops and you start to get to know each character – love them or hate them you really feel a part of the crew and truly a part of their investigation of the unknown derelict craft. Then once the meat of the story begins (don’t want to give away spoilers), you are just simply immersed and there’s no turning back. I suppose the only thing that prevents me from giving this book 5 stars is – and it may just be a personal qualm – is the author occasionally abandons the narrator and almost takes on the role of the jester who makes little side jabs at characters or scenes. For example there was a catty exchange between two female officers where at the end the narrator throws in a ‘What, Gena? No invite to the slide show on the bridge? Aww, too bad, bitch.’ It feels slightly off-color and snarky and I saw it in places throughout the book. But that could be just me and my old-fashioned ways. So small gripes aside, I can only give this book praise. I hope to see more from this talented and hard-nosed author. Well done!