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The Last Watch: The Divide #1    by J.S. Dewes order for
Last Watch
by J.S. Dewes
Order:  USA  Can
Tor, 2021 (2021)
Softcover, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

The Last Watch opens an SF series set on the edge of the universe, the Divide, where the dregs of the military have been dispatched to keep watch as Sentinels. As the epic opens, they discover that the universe is collapsing, that they are alone and abandoned, but also they are the only ones who might possibly stop it.

The heroine of the story is brilliant Excubitor Adequin Rake, commanding the Argus. Once a spec-ops Titan and war hero, she was sent to the Divide, because she disobeyed an order to kill the last living alien Viator breeder. As it all starts, readers meet genius Cavalon Mercer. Once the heir to his grandfather's empire, this prince was exiled after he rebelled and nuked Augustus's genetic facility, which bred clone soldiers (the Emperor also had a plan for widescale genetic cleansing.) Cavalon's initial attitude does not serve him well in his new life.

Time ripples that occur near the Divide start to escalate and the Edge is moving faster - can they retreat quickly enough? Turns out their technology needs the expertise of an astromechanic (one of Cav's advanced degrees), so he's given the task. He works - and fights - side by side with Rake as they take over the Kharon station (manned by the Viators' Drudger soldiers) and try to get its gate operational so that they can transfer back to Legion HQ. But they learn that the Legion has abandoned them.

This episode ends on a cliffhanger as Rake and her officers plan how they will save other Sentinel ships from the shrinking Divide and then lead a rebellion. As Adequin says, 'First, we save the Sentinels ... Then we take the fight to the Core.' The thrilling interstellar action continues in The Exiled Fleet.

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