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Summary

The UFS Phoenix is on a mission to find a lost data-core that may contain the secret to defeating the alo-deepynine alliance. But the means to find the data-core is hidden deep in tavalai space, in a highest-security vault where the tavalai's manipulative State Department keep all their most treacherous secrets. To recover it, Phoenix must pull off the most daring heist the Spiral has ever seen. But Phoenix will need help - in the form of a rebellious faction of the tavalai Fleet; a fanatical parren mystic who lusts mostly for power; a cynical old tavalai marine who's spent much of his life fighting humans; and a superintelligent AI queen who will sacrifice anything to rescue her race from extinction. None of them can be trusted, and neither Captain Erik Debogande nor Major Trace Thakur is experienced in this kind of work. But each must gather his ingenuity and courage and learn as they go, as the scale of the threat confronting humanity looms larger, and the clock is ticking.

©2016 Joel Shepherd (P)2016 Audible, Inc.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

We come in peace.... Shoot to kill, Shoot to kill

More trouble and strife for the crew of phoenix! Is there anything this crew can't turn their hand too?

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Best Sci-Fi Series Yet!!

Now... I've listened to the first 3 books in this series in one go so I cant remember with any certainty where each book ended and the next began.

For this reason I'm just going to review the 3 as a whole and post the same review for all 3 as they are essentially the same brilliant story.

This story starts right at the end of a 160 year long interstellar war. Earth had been lost and mankind was out for revenge! But now they are celebrating winning the war.

The story follows the crew of one of the newest warships given to mankind by their alien allies.

Now if you don't mind finding out what happens in the first few chapters read on... if you do stop here... you'll love these books.

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Very quickly the crew of this ship find out there's a bad smell at the top of mankind's leadership and get themselves branded as renegades!

It follows the ship and crew as they flee through space with no friends, no allies, and nowhere safe to go, as they try to both clear their names and expose the military's top brass. They soon find themselves embroiled in something much bigger than anyone had ever expected and the lines between their enemies and allies quickly gets blurred.

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kantovan vault

excellent listen. not quite as good as previous titles in same series but worth it

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Loving the series!

Can't wait for the next book in series!

This book was maybe a bit slow and descriptive in the middle but it was well worth it! The details gave a much deeper understanding and possibility to immerse deep into the story!

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    3 out of 5 stars
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started and ended well

I really had to fight with this one. i enjoyed the last two but the the middle of the third installment dragged with a rush of excitement at the end. very nearly gave up half way through.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Building up well.

The third in the series and beginning to develop some real investment in the characters. Enjoyed it.

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    5 out of 5 stars

Very good

A little more gritty than some although, not very. Good story though with some a bit of everything. more like a treasure island than anything else.

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Very entertaining

Exciting story, well balanced between action and explaining the importance of the actions. Intriguing characters.

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  • Mike
  • Leamington Spa
  • 06-02-17

The best yet...And so much room for more

What did you like best about this story?

I have read a fair number of Joel shepherds books, and his characterisation has been solid, if prdictable. Don't get me wrong, love the story and love the characters. That said the best thing here is the character of Styx. I cannot work out what her/ his/it's game is. Part of the enjoyment is trying to work out if or when Styx will pull the rug out from under everyone.

Have you listened to any of John Lee’s other performances? How does this one compare?

John Lee reads Most of Peter F Hamiltons work. I love his reading, so much that lesser narrators just don't cut it.

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

No idea, but this would make a great film series.

Any additional comments?

If you love Starwars read this

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Loved it.

Another great book from a great series. Together with awesome narration from Lee, highly recommended.

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  • Skipper
  • 08-04-17

Ready for book 4

Contents: PG 13. No sex, lots of F-bombs (marines), no religious cussing, several ship-to-ship battles and close-quarters combat. There is obviously death, but nothing too grisly. The violence does not feel gratuitous. The tone of the series is fairly upbeat and heartwarming, but serious, not frivolous.

I've heard all three books in the series and am looking forward to book four. Sequel or bust! This particular book had fewer ship-to-ship battles than the first two books. Most of the action occurs on the ground, in the various segments of a major galactic-level heist. Crew Phoenix must break into a top secret vault, the titular Kantovan Vault. It's location is fairly extreme and rather hard to credit, but it makes for a good story. There are some poignant scenes in this book, including the death of a lovable character.

Set in the distant future in the far reaches of the Milky Way, Joel Shepherd serves up a solid space-opera populated with humans, aliens (froggies, humanoids, furballs, bugs) and even some robots and drones (various species of cybernetic super-intelligence). The crew of the military warship Phoenix are likable, and the main characters grow on you across the three books published so far. Bonding occurs credibly as this honorable but renegade crew gradually uncovers a conspiracy at the highest levels of authority, a secret terrible and fearful, hidden away for centuries, and protected at all costs. When Phoenix stumbles on the truth, they are forced to make some tough choices, and to engage in desperate missions, driving them further and further from home, into deep space. For the most part, they stand alone, but gradually they do acquire a few allies. I hope to see more alliances, and to see some of the current alliances deepen, and maybe some to be tested.

Spiral Wars feels a little like Sullivan's Riyira fantasy series, because long-believed lies are slowly uncovered, history revealed to be myth. Some friends prove fickle and some alliances false. There is a sense of suspense and intrigue, of holding one's breath for the next shoe to drop.

I've been reading space opera lately, but I tend to avoid tales told in 1st person "i-me-my perspective" because a singular voice gets old fast. This series, told in 3rd person, is better than most I've read. It compares on a par with Bujold's Vorkosigan series. I would rate it higher than Ryk Brown's Enjoyable Frontier Saga, and a little better than Dalzelle's Black Fleet and Omega series. I liked it more than Fox's Ember Wars series, and slightly more than the Expeditionary Force series by Alanson. I also recommend the engaging Linesman series by Dunstall, but it is somewhat lightweight. I also enjoy the Liaden series by Lee and Miller, but it is a very slow work in progress. I also highly recommend The Expanse series, by Corey.

One flaw in Shepherd's writing style is that he tends to slow the pace by stopping to describe things too much — including trivial aspects of the setting, and how the technical stuff works. Some people might like the technical explanations, but I zone out a little.

If the author can maintain this quality of storytelling until the conclusion of the series, he will have created a solid hit. I say quality of storytelling, not quality of writing, because his books are riddled with punctuation errors, resulting in fragmented sentences that hamper reading. I recommend the audiobooks instead of the e-books. He needs an editor.

The narrator John Lee cleans up all the proofreading issues and delivers a value-added and highly enjoyable rendition of Spiral Wars.

4 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Jamie
  • 10-08-17

no.

This finished too soon. I want more. I don't know what to do with myself while I wait. That was just awesome.

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  • Cam222
  • 23-07-17

So glad its not a trilogy!

A lot of people are giving negative reviews because this third book doesn't end the series, but I couldn't be more excited that there are more books coming. This series is amazing. The characters and the story are all wonderful. The heist element of this book puts the characters we've come to know and love into new situations we haven't seen them in before. It also expands the world and shows us more of what has been going on. I'm looking forward to see where the series goes and how this team tackles the challenges they will face.

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  • Travis
  • 03-07-17

Great series

A great sci-fi book. This is part 3, so start with book 1 if you haven't already.

This book is basically Ocean's 11 meets Star Trek. Don't let that turn you off, it was a great listen and had a nice pace and plenty of action / plot.

Sets the stage nicely for the next book as well.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 29-06-17

Great Book!

Well written, very well narrated. absolutely one of the top 10 science fiction books this year

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • APW
  • 23-06-17

A great story getting very bogged down

Really enjoyed the first two books of what is advertised as a trilogy. This third book left me flat. It was a long, drawn out, overly detailed bank heist that went of for wayyyy too long. Followed by a brief, unsatisfying aftermath. As a final book in the series, it was even worse because every possible plot line was left unresolved and dangling.

That said the universe-building and history of the series is excellent and I hope there is a slamming fourth/concluding book that offers great action and resolution.

To that end, I hope the author, who is skilled in many areas, bumps up the conflict and clashes of powers, dials back the bogs of details and meetings of oh so smart and oh so talented people and nixes the political intrigues (which are not very intriguing) and endless moments of the ship's crew hypothesizing about artificial intelligence, ancient aliens, gravity fields, genocide, their place in the cosmos and on and on and on...

Awesome narrator as usual for his work.

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  • Kazie
  • 05-05-17

No more suspense

Also this is not a mind blowing philosophically stimulating sci fi.

I loved the descriptive battle scenes in the first book. this one I find myself more interested in the politics then the action.

Finally, I am getting frustrated with how many characters survive chaotic battles. I like them all but more of them need to die to keep me believing in the intensity of the endless mirage of perilous situations.

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  • Michael G Kurilla
  • 16-04-17

Oceans Eleven in a solar system far, far away

Kantovan Vault is Joel Shepherd's 3rd book in the Spiral Wars series. Following on book 2, Eric, Trace, and the rest of the Phoenix crew are in the hunt for an old Drysine memory core in order to counter the apparent evil axis of Alo, Sard, and Deepynine. Venturing further into Tavalai space, they encounter another alien race, the Parren with an old history with the Hacksaws, leading them to undertake a heist of cosmic dimensions. Basically, they must steal an old Parren diary kept in a super secure vault held by the Tavalai fleet's arch nemesis, the Tavalai state department. What ensues is a complex series of maneuvers that begin to go wrong as soon as initiated.

The sci-fi elements are in line with earlier installments with the added additions of more unique alien races and "gravitons" devices that can create and modulate gravity. Eric is coming into his own as the Phoenix captain. Interspersed among all the action, which is plentiful due to Eric, Trace, Tif, and Dale simultaneously carrying out independent actions to complete the heist is the added feature of Phoenix crew's enlightenment regarding alien interactions. Specifically, Dale must work with a retired Tavalai fleet Sargent (that he probably fought against during the recently completed war) and comes to appreciate their commonalities more than their differences, while Trace is gradually coming to an understanding of the depth and organic-like psychology and sociology of machine intelligence, and Lisbeth is gaining insight into a new alien race (a bit "divergent") that is growing in prominence for the larger story arch.

John Lee's narration is simply outstanding bringing excellent range not only to genders, but also to the various alien races that are easily identifiable without resorting to nasal or phlegmatic renditions.

Note: This is not a trilogy as the hunt is leading Phoenix further into the Spiral, away from humanity as well as further back in time, well before humanity's entry to the galactic party. Shepherd has created a universe with much to offer with the Holy Grail, the eventual vindication of their mutinous acts.

4 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • bart
  • 14-04-17

Good continuation of a great space opera!

Not quite as good as books 1 & 2 but keeps the story of the Pheniox & her crew moving the right direction & sets the stage for this expanding universal story! How I gauge a good to great story comes @ the end, if my knee jerk reaction is to immediately look to download the next book in a series! And so I'm happy to report, that has now happened 3 times to me with this series!
Unfortunately, I do not see book four currently available on Audible, so I find myself wanting more, with less!
If you are a fan of well written space opera a la Jack Campbell, give this series a listen. But be forwarned, book one takes @ least 2hrs of "what the hell is this" & "will this ever get going" thoughts before hitting its stride. But once the author sets his story table you may have just found how you'll be spending your next credit few credits!

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  • KAG
  • 17-02-17

I really liked the book

What did you love best about Kantovan Vault?

I thought this was a good concept and good story line but it almost seemed that half way through the writer thought a better pathway to take the story. It's enjoyable but not nearly as good as the previous book but not bad.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Kantovan Vault?

I liked some of the alien characters and their interaction with the crew and team members

Which scene was your favorite?

The escape

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

No nothing extreme, like I said it is not as good as the previous ones but worth a listen for sure.