Marshall S. Thomas' Soldier of the Legion is the first book of a six part series that follows young Legion trooper Thinker's adventures in the ConFree...moreMarshall S. Thomas' Soldier of the Legion is the first book of a six part series that follows young Legion trooper Thinker's adventures in the ConFree Legion. He and his squad mates are kept young, strong and seemingly immortal through advanced biotechnology. As a fighting force, they must fight to survive horrific battles against a corrupt, slave-raiding empire as well as relentless alien enemies. Fast and furious military science fiction without the overwhelming angst of the 40k universe!
Orphanage is the first volume in the "Jason Wander" series.Mankind’s first alien contact tears into Earth: projectiles launched from Jupiter’s moon, G...moreOrphanage is the first volume in the "Jason Wander" series.Mankind’s first alien contact tears into Earth: projectiles launched from Jupiter’s moon, Ganymede, vaporize whole cities. Under siege, humanity gambles on one desperate counterstrike. In a spacecraft scavenged from scraps and armed with Vietnam-era weapons, foot soldiers like eighteen-year-old Jason Wander-orphans that no one will miss-must dare man’s first interplanetary voyage and invade Ganymede.
From page 1, the book is obviously a homage to Robert Heinlein's Starship troopers. Author Robert Buettner has been a Military Intelligence Officer, National Science Foundation Fellow in Paleontology and has been published in the field of Natural Resources Law so you know he knows the genre. So does he write well? So far, I'm enjoying the ride. Let's see where he takes me.(less)
I've almost given up on the 40K universe with its immensely purple prose and steroid-driven fatalism. More than a couple of novels I've tried have lef...moreI've almost given up on the 40K universe with its immensely purple prose and steroid-driven fatalism. More than a couple of novels I've tried have left me wanting to mount my own Waaaaaagh! in frustration with the thickly lathered on scifi angst but the Ciapahas Cain books reeled me back in. Quite happily too. The Cain books are smartly written, with our none too reliable narrator Ciaphas Cain appearing to be a cross between Harry Flashman and Blackadder but smack dab in the middle of the sci fi universe of Warhammer 40K. A self-described coward, Cain's opportunism, fighting skill and sheer blind luck, make him a massively acclaimed Hero of the Imperium -- something he'd rather avoid since this status inevitably brings him into more and more danger. The writing is witty, fast, light and sometimes peppered with silliness clothed in respectable word play. And since this is still happening in the 40K universe -- "In the grim future of the 40th millennium, there is only war" -- the "grimness" is still palpably felt. Only this time, Cain proves that there can be light at the end of the tunnel. Highly recommended.(less)
The first 3/4 was SLOW... I like the premise but unlike other books I've read in this genre, the ensemble cast of characters here failed to capture my...moreThe first 3/4 was SLOW... I like the premise but unlike other books I've read in this genre, the ensemble cast of characters here failed to capture my interest and empathy. I also felt that the pacing was disjointed and staggered through a few immensely drab scenes. Heinlein's Starship Troopers had fewer action scenes but I got a better handle of the character's motivations. Harold Coyle's Team Yankee did an even better job of shifting POVs from person to person waging the same battle, some with even shorter writing. That said though, the book piqued my interest especially the motivations of the Posleen and Darhel. Maybe I'll try the next book.(less)
Fun and none too serious romp in a semi-historical sci fi setting. Dante is a swashbuckling young thief and ladies' man living in the in the 27th cent...moreFun and none too serious romp in a semi-historical sci fi setting. Dante is a swashbuckling young thief and ladies' man living in the in the 27th century after a resurgent Imperial Russia has seized absolute control of both the entire Earth and an interstellar domain. Dante's a cad and a rogue and funny even at his most obnoxious and obviously morally decrepit self.
The action is well written, as are the exchanges between our hero and his reluctant partner. The events surrounding his friends' predicament are also funny and well- written with the tone and mood keeping you planted firmly in the book's setting but without the overbearing melodrama and pathos of settings such as the 40K books. I'm getting the two other books in the series soon and I hope they'll be at least as enjoyable as this one was. (less)
I'll remember Cadian Blood for two things --fast and furious combat scenes and promising characters that became near-misses. I say near-misses because...moreI'll remember Cadian Blood for two things --fast and furious combat scenes and promising characters that became near-misses. I say near-misses because the characters started out as very interesting individuals, with distinct viewpoints regarding their profession of being consummate and elite infantry, the boots on the ground as they say. These men do not have the special powers of the Space Marines, nor the special tools of other elite forces of the Emperor of Mankind's Imperium. What they do have is an intense tie with their homeworld's warrior culture and history as well as an unshaken belief that infantry is, at the end of the day, the only way to win and hold ground. Come the middle of the book though, these ideas which had shown so clearly during the first few chapters failed to germinate further, leaving characters that weren't fully fleshed out and started to look indistinct from one another. The middle chapters sacrificed characterization with tedious paragraphs meant to promote the ambiance of the 40K universe.
The plot is simple enough and familiar enough with regards to stories set in the Warhammer 40K universe. A shrine world has begun showing signs of Chaos activity. The Cadian 88th Mechanized Infantry is sent in together with other Imperial Guard forces to reclaim the planet, not knowing that a Chaos force approaches from space. Meanwhile, larger forces are at play, making the regiment's job of reclamation far more important than they realize. I liked how the Cadians were portrayed as career soldiers with immense pride in their homeworld and warrior culture but sometimes the portrayal seemed too narrow-minded in scope and it soon became a one-trick pony act. The introduction of a non-cadian Commisar with his own brand of bad ass machismo could have been played better to portray the regiment as they see themselves and through the eyes of a non-Cadian fighting beside, and sometimes against, them. This wasn't to happen though. I also didn't like the way some characters were deftly built up then casually killed off, sometimes in situations that totally disregarded the characterization invested previously on the individual. The abruptness of these deaths, even the way the approaching forces of Chaos suddenly changed plans was unsatisfying and, to my mind, as a waste of investment. All that said though, I still enjoyed the book, enough to want another novel about Captain Parmenion Thade and the Cadian 88th. Maybe another installment or two featuring the regiment can rectify the lapses in character development and finally deliver a winning combination punch that this first book so temptingly promised.(less)
I picked up this book on a whim and I'm mighty glad I did! David Gunn writes fast and furious military sci-fi. Death's Head is the first novel in a se...moreI picked up this book on a whim and I'm mighty glad I did! David Gunn writes fast and furious military sci-fi. Death's Head is the first novel in a series of books featuring the anti-hero Sven Tveskoeg, an ex-sergeant of a sci-fi version of the Légion étrangère. The book is narrated in the first person by Sven, who upon examination is revealed to be 98.2% human and 1.8% "something else" and is able to tolerate, and quickly recovers from major physical stress and damage. Add the fact that he is ultra-violent, extremely efficient in killing ( especially decapitating his enemies) but has an unlikely adherence to loyalty and you have a clear picture of who our anti-hero is. Circumstances lead to him being recruited into the ranks of the Deaths Head, the elite military arm of the emperor Octo V who may or may not be human at all but is definitely pure malevolence.
Gunn writes fast action. And he makes no pretenses to using the story as a social commentary. This is not Heinlein's Starship Troopers. But take the action and violence of that novel and ditch the political baggage and add equal doses of sex and wry humor and this is the result. Sven also manages to own a sentient gun that revs up the humor levels a notch as well as adopts a motley group of naive militia men he commandeers as his own and dubs "The Aux" or the auxiliaries. Historically, Roman legions recruited aux from occupied territories to serve alongside the regular legionnaires. Sven does the same when he draws these men and women under his wing. Sven, his fully AI side arm, SIG-37, and The Aux go on several missions to fight their emperor's enemies -- the Uplifted, a biomechanical hive mind wrestling with Octo V for control of the galaxy.
Death's Head is followed by Deaths Head: Maximum Offence and Death's Head: Day of the Damned. This is easily one of my best reads of 2010.(less)