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Reviewed by Vincent Dublado for Readers' Favorite
Surrender Demand, Book 4 of the Halberd Series by John J. Spearman highlights a new future for its hero, Jonah Halberd. This is the biggest turning point in Jonah’s career and personal life. A person that is very special to him has been laid to rest while, as expected, the Chinese are in preparation with their superdreadnoughts and battlecruisers. While Jonah’s past heroic actions have captured the interest of the Commonwealth’s citizenry, it has also made him a big target of the enemy, who believes that he is the best soldier the Commonwealth ever had. The enemy has killed the woman that he loves because they want him upset and unsettled. Now that Jonah has been promoted to admiral, will his personal feelings against the enemy override his judgment or will he stay focused on his new appointment to come up with the best course of action?
As the fourth book in the series, Surrender Demand stays well within the traditional formulas of space opera, but John J. Spearman gives it a distinct identity by doing away with much of the action that is expected in the genre and focusing more on politics and foreign affairs. We expect before the series begins that the hero will face tremendous obstacles that will have him emerge as a changed character. Now that I have reached the fourth installment, I can clearly understand what Spearman has been trying to accomplish. That is, a space opera hero’s growth is not limited to facing physical dangers. He similarly becomes sympathetic and wiser through his experiences by using his intelligence and in forging relationships. Surrender Demand reveals plenty of human elements at crucial moments, and that is something worth checking out.