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(Chronicles of Promise Paen #1)

3.64  ·  Rating details ·  550 ratings  ·  84 reviews
The colonists of the planet Montana are accustomed to being ignored. Situated in the buffer zone between two rival human empires, their world is a backwater: remote, provincial, independently minded. Even as a provisional member of the Republic of Aligned Worlds, Montana merits little consideration--until it becomes the flashpoint in an impending interstellar war.

When pira
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published January 13th 2015 by Tor Books
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Mogsy (MMOGC)
3.5 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum

Every once in a while I’ll get this hankering for some military sci-fi, so Unbreakable couldn’t have come along at a better time. Teasing the prospect of large scale ship-to-ship battles and space marines in mech suits, W.C. Bauers’ debut also features a kick-ass female lead who’ll prove to be the bane of space pirates and the Republic’s enemies everywhere.

Meet Promise T. Paen (yep, that’s her real name), the novel’s pro
Mike (the Paladin)
Update: Just an update to note that I heard from W.C.Bauers (the author) and he was quite gracious about my disenchantment with his book. I thought I should give props. This is the action of a stand-up guy.


I bought this at Audible on the strength of "rave reviews". Some people love it. I read "if you like military science fiction you must read this!"

Well just so you get another opinion, if you like military science fiction (as I do) you do not need to read this.


The protagoni
Military science fiction is a mashup of an imagined ground or air space war coupled with a cavalry and Indians western. Just add advanced weaponry, lasers, null fields, armor and super guns and your good to go. It's meat and potatoes reading for the macho set. This is especially true if you are not trying to send the message that war is bad - ala Joe Haldeman in his great "The Forever War" and just tell a good "shoot em up" take no prisoners type of story. Add in a female protagonist, who knows ...more
Jack +Books & Bourbon+
Well well well... What have we here?

I'm honestly not sure what to make of this book. On it's own, it's a competently written sci-fi actioner with some politics thrown in for good measure. And if I was able to take it as just that, I might have enjoyed it more. However...

There's more than a few glaring ties to the Honorverse created by David Weber. Hexapumas, LAC's, a decidedly old-school Wild West influenced planet called Montana...the list goes on and on. But nowhere that I could find did it ac
Nov 30, 2014 rated it really liked it
Interesting is the word that springs to mind when describing Unbreakable. As a massive fan of military science fiction, I had high hopes for Unbreakable. Did it deliver? Yes... mostly.

Unbreakable tells the tale of Promise Paen, the leader of Victor Company of the RAW (Republic of Aligned Worlds) Marines. When events take her and her marines back to her home planet, she is embroiled in a brewing and impending interstellar war.

Unbreakable starts out slow, but quickly escalates into an action pac
Warren Q
Jan 19, 2015 rated it did not like it
Easily one of the worst books I've ever tried reading. I enjoy military science fiction, sometimes despite (or even because of) the faults and quirks of various series. But this reads like bad – very bad – Heinlein (Starship Troopers)/Weber (Honor Harrington) fan fiction.

From the tedious setting (the gun-toting, tax-scorning, desperately homespun Tea Party-fetish planet Montana), to the horribly unreal dialogue, to the interminable unearned cheerleading of the main character, the book is a gruel
 Charlie - A Reading Machine
Aug 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
This review was originally posted at

Unbreakable has a strong female protagonist, gritty fast paced action sequences and a killer setting for the whole shabang. It has echoes of Aliens with its intense female lead, sharp dialogue and hoo-ah marines that added the element of a fun and familiar friendly atmosphere. Plot wise Promise Paen is stuck between two empires on the brink of war and sent back to her home world as part of PR exercise to win the hearts and minds of her
By all accounts, W.C. Bauers' debut novel Unbreakable (not to be confused with the Shyamalan film) is a good book. Believable warfare, exhilarating action sequences, and a strong protagonist throughout make this military science fiction novel stand out amongst others. But despite it all, it's not perfect and it definitely needs a lot of work.

Promise T. Paen is our protagonist, a female recruit of the Republican Marines. Throughout the novel she goes from recruit to lieutenant but her personal ar
Dec 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: scifi, military
A very good first book in the Starship Troopers tradition. It has the feeling of early Honor Harrington with a similar hyper-capable but emotionally stunted female protagonist. Except the focus here is boots on the ground instead of soaring through the stars.

Fans of David Webber, Elizabeth Moon, and early John Ringo will find a lot to like here.
Cora Wigen
Nov 05, 2014 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
John Purvis
Jan 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
“Unbreakable” was published in 2015 (January)of and was written by W. C. Bauers ( This is Mr. Bauers first novel and is the first of his “Chronicles of Promise Paen” series.

I obtained a galley of this novel for review through I would categorize this novel as ‘R’ as there are instances some Mature Language and substantial combat Violence. This Military Science Fiction novel is written in the first person and is set in a far future. The primary
Dec 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites, sci-fi, arc
Unbreakable is an exciting work of militaristic science fiction filled with action. Promise Paen is a marine and the female protagonist and hero. Sent back to her home planet with her troops to serve as representative of the Republic of Aligned Worlds, she must face the bad memories of her past along with the tense situation that is threatening her home planet. Planet Montana is in between two large and challenging empires that both want the planet as a strategic spot. promise and her fellow mil ...more
Dana Stabenow
Mar 22, 2016 rated it liked it
The story doesn't get started here until about 70 pages in (Where was this guy's editor?), but then it really does get going. Lieutenant Promise Paen (promise pain, see what he did there?) of the Republic of Aligned Worlds Marine Corps, is tasked with schmoozing her home planet, Montana, into staying in the Republic instead of defecting to the Lusitanian Empire. Then the LE invades and much battle havoc ensues both on and off planet with Promise in the front lines of all of it. A lot of detail a ...more
Feb 16, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: scifi
This was mostly an enjoyable read. I felt the author spent way too much time in the details of different weapons and there's more of a conservative-Christian bent than I like in my scifi. Also, this is a pretty good example of why male authors sometimes 'miss' when they aim to write female characters. Something about Promise doesn't ring true, and this ends up a story with a female protagonist but very much from a male gaze.
Christopher Gerrib
Mar 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Regular readers of my blog know that there is a big debate in science fiction fandom at the moment, with one group saying that “all SF is just ‘social justice stuff’ and the ‘gatekeepers’ have been repressing the Good Old Stories.” I have not had much patience with this line of argument. Having just read the new novel Unbreakable by Mr. W. C. Bauers, my patience has been exhausted.

First, the “gatekeepers.” Mr. Bauers’ novel was published by Tor, the biggest name in SF, and they marketed the crap
Jan 13, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
(Review for audiobook)
In the fine tradition of the notable heroes of fact and fiction rises the new star Lt. Promise Paen. Part Lewis Burwell "Chesty" Puller, Honor Harrington, Kristine Longknife and Horatio Hornblower and undoubtedly all her own.

Promise Paen has left her life and her home world behind her in a gamble to gain the expertise necessary wreak bloody vengeance. Instead she finds a home and family in her brother's and sisters in the R.A.W. Marines. No one can run forever, and Lt. Paen
Dec 06, 2014 rated it really liked it
Comparisons to Starship Troopers are inevitable, so let’s get them out of the way. Yes, Unbreakable is quite similar to the Heinlein classic, less the bugs, but it is also so much more. Aside from the obvious gender swap, Promise Paen’s sensibilities are a bit deeper than those of Heinlein’s Johnny Rico, and her motivations are far more personal. After witnessing her father’s murder at the hands of raiders on the colony planet Montana, Promise joins the Republic of Aligned Worlds Marine Corp … a ...more
Fantasy Literature
Mar 15, 2015 rated it liked it
Unbreakable is the debut novel from W.C. Bauers and the first book in THE CHRONICLES OF PROMISE PAEN, billed as a blend of hard military sci-fi (in the vein of Starship Troopers) and the Wild West-like sensibilities of the television series Firefly. While the novel does contain those elements, focusing on them alone does a disservice to Bauer’s incorporation of real and imagined military history and his skillful portrayal of the marines who serve the interests of the Republic of Aligned Worlds.

Apr 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
For fans of military science fiction in a particular for fans of the Honor Harrington series this book fits right on that bookshelf. Very strong character development, good technology, and decent world building combined to create an easy to read enjoyable yarn. This book also sets up for an extended series, which I hope continues in the not-too-distant future.
3 stars

Review posted here on
Jan 14, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
great book

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this new novel. Great space mil adventure with a superb heroine in Promise. Looking forward to the next installment
May 25, 2015 rated it liked it
In the fine tradition of military sci fi, fighting outnumbered, hurt and at the bottom of a gravity well. well plotted and enjoyable.
Apr 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Originally published at Reading Reality

If you like military science fiction, especially military SF of the space opera school, you will like Unbreakable. And if you enjoy the Honorverse, particularly the first several books before Honor became a walking deux ex machina, you are going to absolutely love Promise Paen.

Which also invites some inevitable comparisons, because Promise and Honor are at least cousins under the skin, if not sisters.

The world setup will seem rather familiar to those who en
Jul 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed

Sometimes you get lucky. I had seen this book before at the bookstore, but I passed it up. Lately, though, I’ve been bingeing on Black Ops 3 on the old Xbox Uno, and I thought the future warfare offered up by Unbreakable might dove-tail with that game. In some ways, it does.

But here’s why I got lucky.

"Unbreakable," by W.C. Bauers, is a character-based story first and space opera second. It’s not an excuse for pages of sci-fi shoot ‘em ups. There is a lot of action, but it’s all through the eyes
Lance Schonberg
I seem to be reading more military SF lately than I have in the last few years. This book may have served to remind me why that is.

I wanted a kick-ass, believable female protagonist the cover and blurb promised. I got the kick-ass part, but the believable was stretched several times for me in the third of the novel I actually read. Okay, kick-ass and Mary Sue I can live with if the story is good and the characters around the protagonist are fun.

The story is okay, fairly linear and predictable, b
Feb 01, 2018 rated it liked it
Disclaimer, I normally do not pick up anything military related unless it's written by a friend. However, I was in a place where I needed something to read for a few days and I figured I would give this one a try.

This book was a tough read at first, since the chapters are very short (~6 pages) and the author spends a lot of time early on setting up the story, a lot more than was probably needed. However, once it gets going (I'd say about a third thru the book), it does become a lot more interes
Sep 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
Bookworm Speaks!

Unbreakable: A Novel

The Chronicles of Promise Paen

by W.C. Bauers

Acquired: Barnes & Noble Booksellers
Series: The Chronicles of Promise Paen (Book 1)
Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Tor Books (July 5, 2016)
Language: English


The Story: The colonists of the planet Montana are accustomed to being ignored. Situated in the buffer zone between two rival human empires, their world is a backwater: remote, provincial, independently minded. Even as a provisional member of the Republic
Rebecca Smith
Jul 30, 2018 rated it did not like it
Got about halfway until I stopped. I could not finish it. Very little happens, and not only does very little happen, the main character is uninteresting and boring, not to mention schizophrenic and talks to her mom only at times when it serves the plot! Other characters are introduced, but other than the main ones none of them are memorable and are just there to, once again, serve the plot, and even then they're just there to take orders from Promise Paen (which is one of the worst character nam ...more
Aug 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Promise Paen left the planet of Montana after her father was killed by pirates. She joined the Republic of Aligned Worlds Marines to get away. Years later she is back on Montana as a sergeant of Victor Company. Due to casualties caused by a pirate raid as the Marines landed, Promise is promoted to Lieutenant of the remains of Victor Company. And then the Lusitanian Empire came calling, trying to use guile and force to get the Montanans to switch alignment. Can Promise, Victor Company and the Mon ...more
Mar 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
originally posted at:

Already last year Unbreakable appeared on my to read radar. At that time I was highly enjoying military fiction written by a different W.C. namely W.C Dietz and his Legion series and Legion Prequel series, in which the later also has a kick-ass female protagonist. Added to this comes the fact that I am a sucker for a good cover and Unbreakable has this as well. Some sort of army recruit is what seems to be high-high tech equipment. If
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W. C. Bauers is father, publishing industry veteran, bibliophile, children's books author, and writer of science fiction. His books include the TINY BIBLE TALES and THE CHRONICLES OF PROMISE PAEN.

Bauers' first novel, UNBREAKABLE, was an Amazon and B&N, Science Fiction and Fantasy Best Book of the Month pick, for January 2015. His second, INDOMITABLE, was a B&N, i09, and Kirkus Best of the Month P

Other books in the series

Chronicles of Promise Paen (2 books)
  • Indomitable (Chronicles of Promise Paen, #2)

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