The Belt Republic Series by Ted Butler


   Review of  Menace Beyond the Moon            

Book Two in the Belt Republic Series

Review by - Gerald Cline author of “Soldier in a Shallow Grave” Coming 2005 from Windstorm Creative.

Menace Beyond the Moon is Ted Butler’s second novel.  It is a sequel to his first novel, 2176: Birth of the Belt Republic.  While it is the second book in a projected series, it is a stand alone novel, which can be read and enjoyed on its own.

This story follows the main character from Ted’s first novel, Gil Klanz, two years after the end of the Belt War of Independence. Menace Beyond the Moon starts out with Gil as a cadet at the Federation Naval Academy on the moon. A Federation senator, friendly to the Belt Republic, appointed Gil to the academy.  However, because of his participation in the Revolution, Gil is attending the academy under the pseudonym Gil Rockaway from North America in the Federation.

During a cruise on the school’s training ship a fleet is encountered being assembled beyond the far side of the moon.  The cadets are informed that the purpose of the fleet is to build a new trading hub in the belt, to replace the hub lost during the Belt War of Independence.  However, the makeup of the fleet, heavy in warships and troop transports, suggests this is actually an invasion assembled with the purpose of retaking territories lost by the Belt Corporation during the revolution. 

After some difficulty Gil succeeds in warning the Belt Republic’s embassy on Luna.  However, due to “sunspot activity” the embassy is unable to communicate with their government in the asteroid belt. Gil, a reserve officer in the militia, is activated and sent with several other reservists from the embassy to the belt to warn them of the threat.

Gil and his companions end up on Devonsport, an asteroid colony that did not participate in the revolution and is still under Belt Corporation authority.  However, they discover that the citizens of Devonsport have secretly overthrown the Belt Corporation government, and are frantically building a defense before word gets out that they have revolted.

Gil’s mission is able to get word through to the Belt Republic government, which determines that the “sunspot activity” is actually being artificially generated by the Belt Corporation to cover their impending invasion.  It is also discovered that a traitor on Devonsport has informed the Belt Corporation of the rebellion, and the first place the Belt Corporation intends to reconquer is Devonsport. 

Gil’s party is assigned to Devonsport as advisors, to help them to prepare and fight off the Belt Corporation when it arrives.  Gil and the BR reservists help Devonsport defend their home from the Belt Corporation attack.  Like his first novel this book is set against a military background and war.  There is much derring-do, and Gil is in the thick of battle for most of the last half of the book.

This book is being marketed as a young-adult novel.  However, as with his first work, Menace Beyond the Moon is an old-fashioned space opera – very much in the Heinlein tradition – which can be read and enjoyed by readers of any age.

     -Gerald Cline author of “Soldier in a Shallow Grave” Coming in 2005 from Windstorm Creative.