David Edward Anderson, the first human candidate for the Spectres, is on a mission to save a scientist and eliminate artificial intelligence threats. Lieutenant David Anderson with the Human Alliance is investigating an SOS signal received from a science facility on the planet Sidon. He and his men investigate the facility and find a small group of mercenaries and the scientists' bodies under the main facility. They fight off the mercenaries and determine that the scientists were betrayed by one of their own. An injured mercenary rigs the facility to blow and the Alliance soldiers barely make it out alive.
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One of the scientists from Sidon, Kahlee Sanders, had left the facility before the mercenaries arrived with the intention of revealing a traitor in the facility. She runs to Elysium to lay low. Meanwhile, Anderson returns to the Citadel, the center of intergalactic politics and meets with the human ambassador. She admits to him that the Sidon facility was conducting illegal artificial intelligence research and requests that Anderson find Kahlee and try to locate the head of the project, Dr. Shu Qian.
The mercenaries have hired a bounty hunter named Skarr to find Kahlee as well. A Turian Spectre named Saren finds out who Skarr is hunting and decides to follow him. Saren hates humanity because his brother died in a war against the humans. Anderson, Saren, and Skarr all find Kahlee at the same time and a battle ensues. Saren and Anderson team up to fight off Skarr and Anderson takes Kahlee back to the citadel.
The Council finds out that the humans have been conducting illegal AI research and are angry. They place trade sanctions on the Alliance. Kahlee reveals that the traitor is none other than Dr. Shu Qian, head of the project. He is working with the mercenaries and hired them to kill all the staff at Sidon. The ambassador shares this information with The Council to try and get back in their good graces. The Council tasks Saren with the finding the leader of the mercenaries and eliminating the threat. The ambassador requests that Anderson be put on the mission as a tryout for the Spectres.
Kahlee is being transported to a secret location, but Saren sees this as an opportunity to lure out the Mercs. Going behind Anderson's back, he reveals her location so they can track her captors. Anderson is furious but he can't stop it. They follow the mercenaries back to their headquarters. Saren wants to blow up the facility, but Anderson convinces him to let him search for Kahlee first. Saren agrees, only because he wants to recover the AI data for himself. Anderson kills Skarr and saves Kahlee as Saren kills Dr. Shu Qian and steals his research.
When the return to the Citadel, Anderson finds out that Saren has blamed the destruction squarely on his shoulders. He is refused entry into the Spectres. Anderson and Kahlee part ways, though both are beginning to have feelings for the other. Meanwhile, Saren has discovered the existence of an artifact of great power in Shu Qian's research and is off to search for it.
Best part of story, including ending:
Being a fan of the Mass Effect universe, I really liked this story because it provides background on Admiral Anderson's life. There is a lot of good information on the universe in this story and it builds the canon in new and interesting ways. The novel succeeds because it alters the reader's perception if they go back to play Mass Effect.
Best scene in story:
My favorite scene in this story is when Anderson kills Skarr and saves Kahlee. The fight scene is fast paced and the two characters have battled before, so this fight feels more personal. Both are fighting for something they love: Anderson for Kahlee and Skarr for money. When Anderson triumphs at last, his victory is incredibly satisfying.
Opinion about the main character:
David Anderson is a likeable character because even though he has been through a lot of tough times, he has always worked towards bettering himself and the galaxy. In a world full of betrayals and murder, David Anderson never slips from his ideals. He will do the right thing no matter what the cost. He disobeys Saren because he isn't willing to sacrifice the one for the many. He wants to save the one and the many. While normally a strict moral character may fall flat, Anderson shines in his dark and wretched world.