I am determined to see Nicholas Seafort become a changed and dare I say, happy individual by the time I’m finished reading this entire series. Fisherman’s Hope is the fourth of seven books, and while Nicholas is not where I want to see him yet, this book gives the largest glimpse that he might find peace yet. He is still a very complicated and emotionally damaged individual, but I think there is light at the end of the tunnel for him by the time the series is finished.
Fisherman’s Hope picks up about two months following the events of Prisoner’s Hope. Nick has been given the position of Commandant of the Naval Training Academy and as can be expected, he is completely out of his depth. He is well aware of the rules and regulations that all of the young cadets should be learning and following, but he lacks the empathy to oversee the cadets during their most vulnerable moments. This causes a major problem as the book progresses. There are several cadets that find themselves directly connected with whatever Nick is involved with, and try as he might, Nick just cannot manage to find the right balance between discipline and care.
A lot of Fisherman’s Hope follows a similar tone as the previous three books. Seafort has a hard time relating to the needs of his cadets and the other officers serving underneath his command. He also finds himself overridden with guilt and fear at times, but he does begin to make progress towards the end of this book. There is a bit of an interlude in the middle of the book when Nick travels down to the surface streets of New York City to where his wife Annie is from to find her after she runs away from the mental health facility that was helping her recover from the events on Hope Nation. Nick is desperate to find her, so desperate that he actually strong arms the Admiralty into reassigning Eddie Boss to assist him on the streets. That’s a big deal after he sent Eddie away in the previous book after he and Annie had an affair under Nick’s nose.
Nick does eventually find Annie, but he knows she’s too damaged to ever love him again, so he arranges for her to stay at his old boyhood home with Eddie Boss to watch over her and then returns to the training academy.
The final act is where Fisherman’s Hope really shines. The fish aliens have arrived in home system and being to decimate Earth with falling rocks much like they did with Hope Nation. The Navy is on its heels and nobody is making good decisions, leading to the fish overpowering most of the remaining ships. Nick makes a daring gamble and loads cadets and midshipman into the training ships from the academy’s orbiting station and plots out a plan to caterwaul their drives to attract the fish so close to the sun that they won’t be able to escape. There is just one problem. It means sending the brave cadets and midshipman to their deaths, something Nick knows is necessary, but hates himself for doing nonetheless.
I think the final action in Fisherman’s Hope is the best I’ve seen in the series to this point. It provided the catalyst for Nick to truly begin to change when he survives after thinking there really was no chance for any of them. It was the first time I really felt like Nick as a character understood the things others were going through in a way that made sense and that he could process. I’m very interested to see what that means for the last three books in the series I’ve yet to read.