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Black Ops (Expeditionary Force, #4)
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Black Ops

(Expeditionary Force #4)

4.33  ·  Rating details ·  8,683 ratings  ·  289 reviews
The elite crew of the pirate ship UNS Flying Dutchman had a simple mission: determining whether the Thuranin are sending another starship to Earth. Along the way, they became sidetracked by securing a future for the UNEF troops on the planet Paradise. When asked whether Earth was now safe, their ancient alien AI responded 'Not so much'... now they have to deal with the con ...more
Kindle Edition, 673 pages
Published May 24th 2017
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Dan Paradise wasn't on in audio form for 5 months after publication. I'm hoping this one will be quicker …moreParadise wasn't on in audio form for 5 months after publication. I'm hoping this one will be quicker (less)

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Average rating 4.33  · 
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 ·  8,683 ratings  ·  289 reviews

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Montzalee Wittmann
May 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Black Ops by Craig Alanson is book four in the amazing and humorous space series. The dangers, slick maneuvers, schemes, and great dialogue make this lots of fun!
Joe and Skippy make it over the top especially when you have R.C. Bray performing the narration! The book is great but I can't even think about reading this book, I have to LISTEN to it! Bray makes it so fun! I giggled and laugh out loud with every book so far! Can't wait to start the next one!
Book 4 is filled with lots of action and plenty of snarky humor. The series though is feeling like a song where each verse has different lyrics but the chorus is the same. R. C. Bray once again is outstanding with his narration.

The Flying Dutchman and its Merry Band Pirates are faced what seems to be impossible task. They managed to destroy an alien ship bound for Earth (in Book 3). Now Skippy picks up alien communications there are plans to try to send another ship to Earth. This time though ge
May 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The author continues to raise the stakes, and ends with yet another cliffhanger! Don't really have much to add other than it continues the story, but I liked the story a lot, so that's a good thing.

Seriously considered giving it 4 stars because of the pervasive typos though. The author seriously needs to invest in better copy-editing.
Joe and Skippy for the win!

With this book I've come to realize that my favourite thing about the Merry Band of Pirates is Joe and Skippy's relationship. Seriously, 90% of my highlights are either Joe or Skippy or both showing appreciation and support for each other. I love books and I read oh so many of them, yet, I can honestly say it's rare for me to find examples of pure unapologetic friendship like these two have. It's awesome.

Back to the book, we see Joe having to come up with a BlackOps p
David Firmage
2.75. Hated the cliff-hanger ending. There are still some funny moments that might make me continue to book 5. R. C. Bray in fine form.
martin cook
Jul 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
The best sci-first series ever.

This series deserves five stars, but the kindle editors made so many errors that disrupted the flow that I had to give it four stars.

Even so, each book in the series is remarkably engrossing. A small band of humans cross the universe and struggle to save Earth from highly advanced alien civilizations. The characters are incredibly believable including one of the funniest side kicks ever imagined. Plus, description of military life is most realistic.

After reading t
Apr 12, 2018 rated it liked it
Series running out of juice?
Skippy losing his mojo, Joe going in a downward spiral, and a horrible cliff hanger. Ugh.

Feels kind of written into a corner. If the ship is constantly wearing out / wearing down, and there is no way to get a new ship, and then the ship is practically destroyed and rebuilt from scrounged ancient spare parts, eventually the credibility of an ongoing space exploration / space combat drama is lost.

In great series, you increasingly grow more attached to the main character
Elizabeth Adkisson
Jul 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Serious cliffhanger edge

I've read all of the ExFor books. I loved everyone of them. I could tell three fourths of the way through this book that there would be another book, much less there would be a cliffhanger ending to this book. I feel like I just watched the season finale of my favorite show, and now I have to wait until the next season comes out. And, you can bet I'll be waiting with bated breath for the next book to come out. If you like space sci-fi, or just military stories, you'll lov
Buzz Park
Aug 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
Fun Book but Bad Edit

I enjoyed this fourth installment, but it read more like a first or second draft than a finished product. I enjoyed the action-packed plot, characters and the storyline, but there were tons of unnecessary repetitions and tons of grammatical errors. Things like 'that' replacing 'than', missing contractions, missing plurals, etc. I am no proofreader but there were so many instances that it started to distract me, and that's hard to do.

4.5 stars downgraded to 3.5 stars for the
This book deserves 5 stars for the humor alone.

The series continues with all the usual impossible plans, Joe and Skippy banter, some edge-of-your-seat suspenseful moments, and true uncertainty at the end. What I loved here is that any author has the freedom to kill off characters, and I was really, really hoping none of my favorites would die. The situations were dire, the ops were touchy situations and still everyone came out ok. Sort of.

I don't know how anyone could enjoy these books more with
May 18, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Even though this is the 4th book in a series, the story just keeps getting better! I find myself stopping what I am doing just to listen. Skippy is still honestly the best part about this book and I wonder if he is getting a big soft spot for these monkeys because there was a lot less bickering with Joe than normal.

As always, R.C. Bray makes this book amazing. I will listen to anything he narrates.
Jen/The Tolkien Gal/ジェニファー
Rtc because I'm in a reviewing slump and this book was a disappointment. ...more
Soukyan Blackwood
May 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
All reviews in one place: Night Mode Reading

Merry band of pirates is of on a mission to make sure Earth is safe and sounds. All they really need to do is get information on who could be threatening them, and sabotage the living heck out of it. Since with Skippy’s help they were training to fight aliens, fight like aliens, and fly alien ships too, the whole crew is pretty confident that they can pull this off. And if not, well, they have to try anyway.

But bad news don’t end with the “evil alien r
January 11, 2020

This book didn’t improve with time. But it didn’t get worse either. Most of it felt like filler. Having read this in the correct order this time, I didn’t notice the repetitiveness as much. But the plot here is weak and it’s a lot of build up to get to a new story arc. I feel Books 3 & 4 could have been consolidated and we could have skipped a lot of this book.

What I did notice this time around was that when Joe was rambling on a tangent, I too was multitasking because the dude
David Dent
May 31, 2018 rated it it was ok
The series started out promising, but by the end of Book 4, I just wanted it to be over. In my opinion there is very little character development from book to book. Additionally, the plot seems to not have a well thought out progression. Instead, the "Merry Band of Pirates" continues to skate by due only to the "awesomeness" of the friendly artificial intelligence ("Skippy") the lead character found in Book 1. Skippy seems to have a knack for being able to hack into any computer system, anywhere ...more
Oct 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
This, again, was a lot of fun.
Great humor, as always. Also as always it was a bit repetitive and badly edited. I got used to the latter by now and the former was at least not as bad as in the second book.

Because of the fantastic ground mission in the last third of the book this was on course to become my favourite in the series. But then the ending kinda ruined it for me. Of course I knew it would end on a cliffhanger. But this was just too much.

I still like those two dumbasses, though.
Come o
Mike Crate
Jun 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Joe Bishop the erstwhile commander of The Flying Dutchman had the world on his shoulders not to mention an eons old alien AI with an attitude, it's anyone's guess which was worse. Of course the AI known as Skippy (followed by a never ending choice of superlatives) saved the Earth and the human race and while it looked like a tin can it or maybe he would never fail to point out the crew were little more than smelly monkeys who couldn't find their way out of a walk in closet. Naturally a bond had ...more
Melissa Levine
Nov 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
My husband listened to this series first and then suggested it to me. The main reason I went along with it because R.C. Bray was the narrator; I love him! Needless to say, this has been a very enjoyable series overall. When I got this story, book 4, it didn't seem to hold my attention as much as the first 3.5 stories did (also read book 3.5). But, I listened to the whole story and, of course, am curious to know what Joe wanted Hagatha to do at the end of book 4.


Skippy's suppo
Sami Sultan
Jul 05, 2019 rated it liked it
I really liked the first two books in the series. Funny, excellent narrator, just the right pace of world building. Great if you like an against-all-odds like of story which still has a sense of humour. It's quite refreshing to read sci-fi where the author doesn't bash religion or spirituality. Great to listen to on long drives.
My only complaint is that by the 4th book I got tired of the author's style and he starts recycling jokes and dialogue. Again, it's hilarious the first couple books, just
Gjermund Bjaanes
Nov 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
These books are so much fun! Skippy the Magnificent and the merry band of pirates are out to save the world again. Their adventures are exciting, fun and makes me just want more and more!

I sure hope the next book is going to be just as good (or even better). But, as Skippy would say it: "Trust the awesomeness."
Craig Dean
Mar 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Robbie Joerger
Feb 19, 2020 rated it liked it
Series is really going downhill overall. What started with some really neat ideas has stagnated. The ending was absolutely the laziest cliff hanger I have ever come across. Only reason I gave it 3 stars is listening to the Audio book, and R.C. Bray's narration is what is saving it. ...more
Mar 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: romance
Omigosh, RC Brays narration must cracks me up. His voices for Joe, Skippy, and Nagatha Christie really sell the story. Let's face it, it's not very good writing on its own. All of these books need that narration to make them better. And I am thoroughly entertained. ...more
Oct 12, 2017 rated it liked it
Cliffhanger ending - Hold off on this one until book #5 released

I listened to the audiobook, and R.C. Bray totally nails the narration. However, not even his amazing performance can fix a story the author drops in the middle of a sentence! There's no excuse for that -- it's disrespectful to the readers. Why in the world would you every want someone's final impression of your book to be a bad one? I feel cheated and totally pissed off. Way to screw it up, Alanson!
Jan 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
These books seem to be written with a TV series in mind. Each book is packed with action, kinda like a season. I don't like it, there's not enough time spent on painting a complete picture of each "episode", probably leaving it to the future director's imagination.
Nov 14, 2017 rated it liked it
Good book always. I am disappointed a bit because story just goes about how to save the earth. It's been damm.. four books and it still about how to save the earth from another alien invasion. Ships crew does bunch of stuff something to stop invasion and after the book in the final pages skippy intercepts one more message and informs everybody that their action had unseen consequences and now some other species is going to earth.

Let me spoil the story of 4 books,

1. Earth gets invaded by RUHAR on
Jul 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
Book four

I found mistakes spread throughout this book. However I found the story to be full of action and witty humor.
I will be reading book five shortly.
I recommend this series.
Oct 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
The merry band are back, well, not back, as they never really left, but Joe, Skippy and the crew are still out in space, trying to safeguard Earth from the myriad of threats that appear to getting longer every book.
This time, they are making sure that the Thuranin are not a threat to Earth, that none of them are coming back, whilst still looking for Skippy’s Elder ring, trying not to be discovered, and generally safeguarding Earth when they find little issues.
These books are funny, like if you a
Apr 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This was a most exciting book! So much happens and I feel that it’s broken the mold that the first three books were settling into. Skippy and Joe make an awesome team. Trust the awesomeness!

I like that Chotek is in the mix. He’s the UN’s oversight manager basically, watching every move Skippy and Joe make. I can understand that the UN wants to ensure that Joe is actually in charge and not Skippy but Skippy still has the greater, wider knowledge of what’s going on in the galaxy.

Then there’s Dr. S
Kc Merrill
Oct 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
100/10 stars. 10 thumbs up. Dare I say, Trust the awesomeness.

There are so many positives to say about this book. While I realize it might not be everybody's cup of coffee, it's definitely been a great series for me personally. Easily in my top 3 series I've read to date which may or may not say too much.

RC Bray's performance is absolutely incredible. Alanson's story telling and humor are first class.

From the moment you hit play and/or read the first chapter you're instantly hooked. The witty b
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My Bio:
Craig Alanson used to create financial reports for a large IT services company. Writing fiction at nights and on weekends, he finally independently published three novels on Amazon. Within 6 months of his first ebook release, he

Other books in the series

Expeditionary Force (1 - 10 of 14 books)
  • Columbus Day (Expeditionary Force #1)
  • SpecOps (Expeditionary Force, #2)
  • Paradise (Expeditionary Force, #3)
  • Trouble on Paradise (Expeditionary Force, #3.5)
  • Zero Hour (Expeditionary Force, #5)
  • Mavericks (Expeditionary Force, #6)
  • Renegades (Expeditionary Force, #7)
  • Homefront (Expeditionary Force, #7.5)
  • Armageddon (Expeditionary Force Book 8)
  • Valkyrie (Expeditionary Force Book 9)

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