I'm sorry, having read most of the books put out by both David Weber and John Ringo, I am not impressed by this book. There were occasionally interest...moreI'm sorry, having read most of the books put out by both David Weber and John Ringo, I am not impressed by this book. There were occasionally interesting moments, but they are not worth the derivative drudgery and slogging. Maybe there are people out there who like sloppy clones of better books, but I am not one of them. If you are one such person, you will enjoy this book thoroughly. For anyone else interested in military SF, for the love of God, go to http://baencd.thefifthimperium.com and pick up the free ebooks of Weber and Ringo. While you're at it, try some of David Drake's work, as well. His RCN stuff is very good. Anything but this book.(less)
**spoiler alert** This was the first collaboration between Ringo and Kratman, and, unfortunately, not the last. In general bookish terms, it's not tha...more**spoiler alert** This was the first collaboration between Ringo and Kratman, and, unfortunately, not the last. In general bookish terms, it's not that bad, since Ringo is still a pretty good writer. The problem I had was the central conceit that the whole thing was built around.
It turns out that when the Posleen attacked northern Virginia in Gust Front, the chancellor of Germany realized that without more troops, his country would be royally boned. But he was scraping the bottom of the barrel for the regular forces, so he decided to deepen the barrel by pressing aged Waffen-SS veterans into service (after giving them deagening treatments, of course).
We get a long spiel about how, really, the Waffen-SS (Heinrich Himmler's private army, lest we forget) is just a bunch of misunderstood people. Why, they were all just soldiers, doing their duty for the Fatherland. They didn't all commit atrocities, you know! Plus, any of them who did probably feel really sorry about it by now. And those who don't are sure to be horribly offensive, and killed very soon.
John Ringo hadn't previously shown tendencies to praise Nazis before, so I've always chalked it up to Tom Kratman's malign influence. Looking at Kratman's other books, it's clear enough where he stands on Certain Issues, like Texas (loves it), Massachusetts (hates it), Teh Peepul of Teh United States (loves a highly distorted version of them), and Muslims (hates a highly distorted version of them).
I really feel that Kratman's introduction into the series made it less enjoyable, and more conservative. Before Kratman, Ringo may have had some RW themes in the series, but they were easy to ignore, if they were present. In Watch on the Rhine, on the other hand, we have the French wanting to surrender, environmentalists turning out to be either deluded or corrupt, and the aforementioned praising of Nazis. Blech.
Not to mention one French character, described as "socialist", who converts to Teh Side of Goodness and Light (i.e. the Nazis, in this world). If you've read my review of Ringo's book Ghost, you'll know that I fucking hate that. That's one sure way to make me dislike a book.
Overall, I would not recommend this book, unless you're very conservative or you don't care about the real world (but I repeat myself). Read Ringo's earlier Posleenverse books. They're pretty darn good. Skip this one and the other collaborations with Kratman.(less)
If you've read John Ringo's first Mike Harmon (aka "Paladin of Shadows") book, Ghost, you'll know that it kind of sucks. In fact, it really sucks. Wha...moreIf you've read John Ringo's first Mike Harmon (aka "Paladin of Shadows") book, Ghost, you'll know that it kind of sucks. In fact, it really sucks. What you might be surprised to learn is that it actually gets better. I know, I'm as shocked as you are. Of course, when you've set the bar as low as Ghost did, that's not hard.
Mostly, this book is better because Ringo backs off on a lot of the fairly disgusting sexual stuff that characterized Ghost. Oh, every so often, it becomes turgid once more and rears its head over the story, but it mostly follows Our Manly "Hero" and his adventures in Georgia (the country, not the state), where he happens across a group of fairly primitive people who would probably do well as soldiers, if they even knew that the 21st century had arrived. So we get a lot of scenes with the people building stuff, and the process is actually pretty engrossing, if you like that sort of thing.
The other thing I'm really glad got left out is the original cover. See, apparently the cover that you see here was not the first choice. The first choice, which is on view at the Fifth Imperium's BaenCD subsite, was a mostly brown picture, which showed two grubby little foreign girls gazing up in awe at the super awesome American, whom I presume to be Our Manly "Hero". It's just a little too "thank you for saving us, Mr. Awesome American" for my effete liberal tastes.
To summarize: A much better book than the first, not that that's an amazing feat.(less)