Spectras Arise Trilogy, by Tammy Salyer


In a few hundred years, the Algol system becomes humanity’s new home. The question is: Is it a better one? When a crew of arms smugglers botches their latest job, Corps-deserter and crewmember, Aly Erikson, is separated from her brother, the only person she can trust, and left behind to fight for her life. In the aftermath, as she tries to piece together what happened, a crew of roughneck settlers pressgang her into a dangerous mission in the heart of Corps territory. With her enemies closing in, time is running out to get back everything she’s lost: her crew, her brother, and her options. But no one is taking her gun.

I love a good space opera. Tammy Salyer combines that with a dystopian totalitarian government akin to the Union of Allied Planets from the awesome TV series, Firefly.

The pacing is tense, and the scenes are described so perfectly, I felt as if I was watching a television series. The protagonist did lean toward the broken soldier cliché, but following her adventure was still a blast.

I’m looking forward to reading more from the Spectras Arise trilogy, and I can only hope that new books, like this one, make their way to NetGalley.



In a bid to free the settlers of Agate Beach from their dependence on picking at Admin scraps, Corps-deserter Aly Erikson’s crew is willing to make a few deals, even with the devil. When Aly learns her friends have deceived her, she has to decide which is stronger: her sense of having been betrayed or her allegiance to the rebel cause. After an old ally offers her a convenient escape to a new life, the decision should be easy. But when the Corps threatens to wipe out everything that matters to her, the only course of action left is the same one she’s taken for as long as she can remember—fighting back

Contract of Betrayal wasn’t as good as Contract of Defiance. They’re both excellent space operas, and it feels like a mashup between Firefly and maybe Old Man’s War. Unfortunately, the big reveal near the end of the story was quite predictable, but since it had been about six months since I read book one, reading Betrayal was new to me. I can’t specifically put my finger on why I liked Betrayal over Defiance, but Betrayal is easily a 4-star read. I already have Contract of War, and look forward to reading it soon.



Unification or tyranny. The only difference is the body count. In the aftermath of a system-wide war between the Admin and Corp Loyalists and the non-citizen population of the Algols, everything once resembling order has been leveled. Scattered enclaves of survivors dot the worlds, living, however they can, in snarled lawlessness. Aly Erikson and her crew have carved out a niche of relative peace, doing their best to go on with their lives through salvaging, scavenging, and stealing. But with no force left to keep the lid on the pot, the pressures of chaos and discord soon cause conflicts to boil over. As enemies close in from all directions, even, sometimes, from within, the crew once again must fight—not just for survival, not just for their way of life, but this time for a future that can finally lay to rest the system’s bloody and savage past.

Thrills, chill, and betrayals were what I was expecting from Tammy Salyer and Contract of War. The ending of the trilogy is satisfying, and I would be an eager reader of any new novellas Ms. Salyer decides to write in this universe.

Unlike the first two books, this one isn’t linear. It takes place 18 months after the last book, and the character’s actions during the intervening time are revealed as flashbacks. Of the three books, I still liked the first one the best, followed by number two, and finally this one. I still think this is a four-star read, and just like with Betrayal, I can’t seem to figure out just what specifically made this a lower star rating.

There are plenty of space opera goodness, totalitarian government, tech, and other sci-fi fun to make the Spectras Arise Trilogy a must read, especially fans of space military.



Tammy is an inveterate verbarian who spends her day surrounded by the written word, both hers and others’. As an ex-paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne Division, her stories are often as gritty as a grunt’s pile of three-week-old field gear. Her military science fiction novel Contract of Defiance is the first book in the Spectras Arise trilogy and debuted to acclaim in Spring 2012. Contract of Betrayal is the second in the trilogy, and the final book, Contract of War, completes it. When not hunched like a Morlock over her writing desk, Tammy runs and bikes silly miles in the playground of Southern California and spends an inappropriate amount of time watching Henry Rollins videos on YouTube.


About Mark Gardner

Mark Gardner lives in northern Arizona with his wife, three children and a pair of spoiled dogs. Mark holds a degrees in Computer Systems and Applications and Applied Human Behavior. View all posts by Mark Gardner

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