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I only read this about a year ago but I was on a heavy reading binge and a lot of the details have got lost amongst other stories.

Basic points: Earth (and her offshoot colonies) are playing off 3 or 4 hostile alien empires against each other but suspicions are forming with the main alien species.

A female space navy ship captain suffers a series of jump point mishaps and finds herself in an uncharted star system through a lot of hidden wormholes. One habitable planet, somewhat bleak but liveable. On landing they rescue some crashed guy who's been there for a while, all make it back to Earth society and reunite with their respective alliances.

The hostile aliens do a bit of treachery and suddenly most of mankind is wiped out with survivors in scattered ships all over the galaxy. They join together and, as they're quite heavily armed, they negotiate a route out of the enemy zones with an alien/human summit meeting and all seems fine.

However they know it's an alien plot to ambush them en route, so they do some jump point double bluffs and manage to follow the charts to the isolated bleak planet. This jump series leaves the aliens without a clue and they follow a false trail that goes way way out.

The human fleet emerges above this dull brown world (dominant plant is moss, not grass) and know this is their chance to rebuild humanity, they agree that, as it represents freedom and life, this planet is beautiful.

Thinking back, the mystery book could be first of a series (speculating only)

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    Reminiscent of Titan AE – Xen2050 Sep 20 '18 at 6:35
  • @Xen2050 - only vaguely. It bears more resemblance to "The Lost Fleet" by Jack Campbell, but it's not that, either. Would be interested in that one, though. – AcePL Sep 20 '18 at 8:22
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    @AcePL I haven't read the lost fleet, but it's wikipedia brief looks interesting, humans fighting humans but with hidden alien "puppetmasters" (weird alien names though, bear-cows, spider-wolves, dancers ;-) Actually if this question has an earth-like homeworld being destroyed, leaving the survivor ships banding together & travelling to a new home, it's more like Battlestar Galactica (but with more aliens & less robots) – Xen2050 Sep 20 '18 at 11:13
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    Just to mention: Novels which include the basic plot premise of "Earth is destroyed, but some humans live on in spaceships and hope to colonize other worlds," but which I'm sure are not this one, include: After Doomsday (Poul Anderson). Gypsy Earth (George W. Harper). When Worlds Collide (Edwin Balmer & Philip Wylie). – Lorendiac Sep 21 '18 at 1:50
  • Thanks for comments/suggestions but none are the book I'm looking for – DannyMcG Feb 12 at 17:33
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+150

Many aspects of the description are reminiscent of Infinity's Shore and Heaven's Reach, second and third book in a trilogy. Though there are major discrepancies, and whole plot lines not in your description.

Plot includes:

  • Female (accidental) captain of a Terran ship (the Streaker) reaching a forbidden planet called Jijo through a complicated and risky route while been chased by foes.
  • Planet is marginally habitable, some coastline is very much so and is in fact host to a civilization of several different alien races, humans included. Rest of main continent is barren and hostile to life.
  • Books include the rescue of a crew member who has been stranded in the coastline for some time.
  • Streaker is facilitated safe passage to Earth, not from it, by an alliance of transcendent beings for their own reasons, no negotiation involved.
  • Earth is under siege, all colonies already lost, by a different alliance of hostile races, in no small part due to the "monkey tricks" we keep on playing on them, but mainly for religious reasons. Something the Streaker carries with an strong religious significance was the last straw which triggered the war.
  • Upon reaching Solar System, Streaker is engaged by the enemy fleets. A mix of circumstances, ingenuity and monkey-tricks make the fleets flee in panic, as they come to think they are seriously outgunned by the lone Streaker, which has again safe passage granted, again to Earth not from it.
  • Books end with Jijo been approached by a fleet of survivors from a Galactic-wide catastrophe, though none of them is explicitly Terran nor has anything to do with Streaker, which remains on Earth. As a result of the catastrophe, Jijo is (probably) not reachable anymore by space ships.
  • Part of the Streaker crew however remains on Jijo (or maybe actually arrives ahead of the rest of refugees?), and has come to terms with living in the planet, which represents freedom from the oppressive galactic powers and their religious intolerance.

Said all this, in your description you make no reference at all to Jijo's existing civilization, nor to the difficult to forget dolphin pilot of Streaker. Earth is also not destroyed nor invaded, but was within hours of been so at Streaker's arrival. Also no scattered Terran survivors banding together to negotiate a truce, but scattered multiracial survivors banding together at a secure port, no alien/human summit to negotiate it.

Overall I guess I'm mistaken, but might be you have a very vague memory of both books and are writing all the Jijo plot off as an unrelated read.

  • I'd think that someone reading "Heaven's Reach" might remember the Transcendents killing trillions of Retired in order to kick off a synchronized wave of Type 1a supernovae that can be used to send emissaries beyond the 5 (4) galaxies. Also, Streaker ends up at Earth, it is another ship that makes it back to Jijo (and the implication is it's just that ship; all the hostile pursuing galactics are stranded some distance away by the loss of hyperspace). – DavidW Mar 22 at 1:14
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    Thanks for the suggestion but it's not any of the Uplift books, I got them all on my bookshelves – DannyMcG Mar 22 at 5:28
  • @DavidW On the supernovae event, I'm shamed to confess I had totally forgotten; not my favorite part of the book, and read it last time more than 10 years ago. – Seretba Mar 22 at 8:56
  • @DavidW On the refugees fleet, I do remember an exchange between characters at Jijo at the very end of the last book. One of them (the neo-Chimp?) is telling someone else about it. Their guess seems to be they are survivors from ships in transit through the area at the moment the rip closed the hyper routes. Maybe fleet is too strong a word for it, as they are probably not organized (?). In any case, Op has already written off Uplift series as not been the book looked for. – Seretba Mar 22 at 9:07
1

White Wing, by Gordon Kendall, covers an interstellar conflict that has rendered Earth uninhabitable, in the context of alliance of human remnant forces with an alien system. The treachery and ambush sound familiar, but I can't find my copy just now...

  • Thanks for the suggestion, I've just downloaded 'White Wing' and done a hasty skim through but, unfortunately, it's not the book I'm after. It looks an interesting read so it's now in my TBR stack. Thanks anyway – DannyMcG Mar 25 at 4:14

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