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Lakes of Mars    by Merritt Graves order for
Lakes of Mars
by Merritt Graves
Order:  USA  Can
Self, 2019 (2019)
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Aaron Sheridan was flying the shuttle that crashed and killed the rest of his family on Mars. Suicidal, he enlists in the Fleet, fully expecting deployment to the Rim War, where life expectancy is short. Instead, he ends up at Corinth Station command school.

There, the instructors are brutal and the students split into fiercely competing teams, willing to do anything to get ahead. Because he doesn't care about his own survival, Aaron fights back against a student officer who targets Aaron's new friend Sebastian, a space math genius.

That puts him on the radar of team leaders. Pierre manages to get both Aaron and Sebastian on his team. They Challenge feared team leader Caelus and win, in a melee like Ender's Battle School on steroids. Their situation improves slightly and briefly, but nothing is as it seems on Corinth Station.

When Aaron meets Eve, he discovers a new reason for living. She's researching a cure to save her brother back on Earth in her scarce spare time, and has infected herself with the disease. Aaron helps her and they grow close. But can either survive what's ahead for them? Betrayals abound on Corinth Station and there's much more going on there than officer training.

What Aaron learns sends him on a mission to the nearby planet where a colony is under threat. Old enemies become allies, but Eve isn left behind, as this action-packed episode ends on a steep cliffhanger. I look forward to more.

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