I love Richard Phillips!
The Meridian Ascent is the culmination of three trilogies, and it is imperative that you read the prior eight books before this one.
The first series, the Rho Agenda Inception, consists of Once Dead, Dead Wrong, and Dead Shift. Philips uses these books to develop the character of Jack Gregory, including documenting his relationship to Anchanchu, and his initial exploits with later partner Janet Price. Some foreshadowing with regards to Anchanchu’s nature appears during the second book, where the true use of the Incan Sun Staff could be deduced. The introduction of an artificial superintelligence and the expectation for more human-AI characters begins during Dead Shift. This technology appears throughout the later books. Each of these novels has their own excellent adventure rides within which the development takes place.
The second series, the Rho Agenda (The Second Ship, Immune, and Wormhole), chronicles the stories of high schoolers Heather, Mark, and Jennifer, as they are the first to discover a second alien vessel. The results of their curiosity set them on a course of becoming heroes of the human race. More incredible science, such as two completely different physics models for the universe, nanoparticle healing technology, and interplanetary travel make this series extremely interesting.
The third group (The Kasari Nexus, The Altreian Enigma, and the Meridian Ascent) takes place in multiple locations simultaneously. Jennifer battles two separate alien races, while back on earth, Mark and Heather try to keep humans in control of their own planet. As we are further exposed to the true nature of the both competing alien races, readers find that it isn’t as easy to pick sides in the battle for supremacy. The combined technologies of both alien races are superior to either one alone, but when another superintelligence enters the fray, it adds to the already extremely detailed plot.
At the conclusion of the series, every single factor from all of the prior novels comes into play, creating a wondrous climax. Since I love complex plots, I found the entire experience highly rewarding.
I bought the entire series as audiobooks, so I must make an additional comment. The narrator, MacLeod Andrews, brings EVERY SINGLE CHARACTER to life. He is phenomenal and his reading makes an excellent story even better.
Overall, I have to say this is one of the best series I have ever read and I highly recommend it!!