Devon’s Blade by Ken McConnell is a short novel companion to McConnell’s Starforgers series. Commander Devon Ardel is sent to a planet that’s mainly comprised of water to head a struggling starfighter squadron. The squadron is no match for their much better equipped adversary, especially since they are utilizing a newer and deadlier fighter. Devon has to rally the troops and adapt new inventive strategies if her squadron isn’t going to be wiped off the map.
The interesting conceit in this novel is just how much it veers away from science fiction to a present day story about fighter pilots – which gives the science fictional elements a greater realism. Much of the time you could be reading a novel about World War II dogfighting, but then a science fictional detail shows itself, making this anything but a run of the mill dogfighting tale.
It’s also refreshingly and effectively written from a female perspective. If there’s a weakness, it’s that the book is a bit too heavy on action, at times reading like a video game script. However, the battle scenes are well-drawn and exciting in what is a very chaotic environment. If you’re a fan of war fiction, especially with aerial fighting, and like your science fiction to have a large dose of recognizable realism, Devon’s Blade is action-packed, well-researched, and a fun read.