This one is one that has been sitting on my Kindle for ages and I finally just gave up and bought the Audible.  So glad I did!

The Ember War: Publisher’s Pack, Books 1-2

Setting:Present Day into Near Future

Aliens: Starts with an alien drone.

Alien Castes/Species: One who intervenes to aid humanity in the coming war against with Xaros.

Encounter: Starts a funny encounter with a young man (the protagonist) meeting the space probe sent by the “friendly” aliens.  The drone does speak English.

A lighthearted first encounter set in present day, then fast forward 60 years and our hero has built a space fleet in preparation for war with Xaros.

This series opener has it all, alien encounters, space marines, and the survival of the human race at stake.  I’m not sure that I will make it all the way to Book 8 (where the series presently is) but devotees of sci fi military series will be gratified to know this plotline carries on for a while.

Art credit: Amazing alien Encounter piece by the talented Velvetcat.