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Hard Duty: Merkiaari Wars

(Merkiaari Wars #1)

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  1,669 ratings  ·  106 reviews
Humanity's last encounter with aliens saw sixteen point two billion people killed in a war with the Merkiaari that had spanned decades.

Two hundred years later, the Alliance is cautiously exploring beyond its borders again, but the survey corp. is considered a mere gesture by some. General Burgton of the 501st Infantry Regiment believes a lack of expansion is leading the A
Paperback, 388 pages
Published August 20th 2012 by Impulse Books UK (first published August 11th 2012)
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Average rating 3.92  · 
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 ·  1,669 ratings  ·  106 reviews

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Dec 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I actually started reading the second book in this series until I realized that there was a series. So, I got as far as the third chapter in the second book (What Price Honor) and stopped to read this one. I'm very glad I did. Right up front, these are very well written books for Amazon ebooks. I have gotten very skeptical of Amazon ebooks lately since they are so cheap you almost expect and I have been getting what I paid for, cheaply written, hard to read books! Again, no so with Hard Duty nor ...more
Lukas Lovas
Mar 30, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well, this book could have had 5/5....but I hate cliffhangers with a passion. I don't mind a plot being spread out over several books, I don't need each of them to be a standalone...but I do need at least some sort of....ending. Finishing up. Not leave stuff hanging....
Other than the end which wasn't an end, the book was quite good. The alien culture was just alien enough to be alien, but not so much that I couldn't relate. The main POV characters were strong and talented, and mostly likeable.
David Traver Adolphus
There's good painfully earnest self-published work--then there's bad painfully earnest self-published work. Good is something like Larry Correia's Monster Hunter International; bad is, well, bad is Hard Duty. The combination of too much of the wrong kind of exposition (ie, details about a hotel room but not about why the protagonist is 200 years old), and many, many typographical and grammatical errors, just makes it unreadable. If there was an editor and copyeditor involved, I'll eat my hat. I ...more
After a military prelude, this starts as hard, first-contact SF. Then there’s a shift in narrative perspective from the alien POV the borders on fantasy—not my favorite genre. When the feces hit the rotating element at the end, the two threads merge, though it remains unclear (in the sequels) just when the military will come in, guns-a-blazing.

Above-average writing. Might reëvaluate toward 4 stars should I read sequel.
Michael Mardel
Jan 11, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hard duty by Cooper I found to be a complex story in two parts. First I meet Eric and then I meet the humans and then I meet the Shan with the main character being Shima. All characters are well developed and I felt positive toward Eric despite his mission. Will he make it out of the jungle where he's been infiltrating a guerilla movement? The next leap is the humans who want to warn the Shan about the enemy, Merkiaari. Will they stay and fight or are the Merkiaari too strong? Some of the humans ...more
Jul 31, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The book lacked editorial organization. Viper plot line may have a story that becomes important in a later book but it added nothing to this one. The story is mostly consistent but feels more like a series of vignettes sewn together in an unbalanced way. There are a couple of spelling errors likely caused by a spell checker replacing with the wrong word. I got the book for free and it is an e-publishing. The style of writing and content of the story was interesting but it needed a better focus o ...more
Carly Kirk
Jun 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I cannot even explain how much I enjoyed this book! It's well written with characters you care about (even one that annoyed me to no end - I wanted to slap her silly) and even though it follows a lot of different characters it never got confusing. Can't wait to read the rest of the series. ...more
Jyoti Dahiya
Ok, so this is why authors give away the first book in a series for free. Salivating readers rush off to buy the rest for full money and feel gleeful about the whole thing.

There are at least four separate main characters whose points of view you meet in the book. Each time, you're sure you know this one is the main character. You feel grumpy when the action shifts to another character. And then you feel grumpy again. And again. Heh!

We have Capt Colgan, who discovers an alien planet, sends off a
Apr 22, 2017 marked it as owned-unread  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2021-tbr-pile
Free give-away by the author, thank you very much! Review will follow.
Ben Ross
Sep 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wonderful modern sci-fi. Imaginative and we'll plotted native. Feels scientifically accurate and makes me want to buy more from this Author. ...more
William Bentrim
Apr 02, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hard Duty by Mark E. Cooper

This is book one of the Merkiaari Wars. A survey ship stumbles across a radio transmission that isn't the Merkiaari. Desperate for allies in their stalmated war with the Merkiaari, they make contact with the Shan. The Shan have had their own experiences with the Merkiaari and are as distrustful as the humans.

The survey ship Canada is ill equipped to make first contact with an alien race. They send home for help and get a ship load of academics who quickly discover tha
Francis Franklin
I'm only 15% in so this isn't a review, just a comment.

The narrative is very focussed on Eric - on his thoughts and abilities and actions - so that everything around him lacks real clarity and depth. It's also disingenuous in that while Eric is awesomely capable, the relative technology level of those around him is incoherent. (This is a real problem faced by science fiction generally - as soon as you get into details of technology, you're doomed. And the further into the future you go, the wors
Jun 19, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thought this was a great book. Humanity finding another alien race to ally with against a common enemy. There was, however, a side story about a super marine posing as a mercenary. I assume his story line would eventually tie in with the other one. Beyond good character development and a good story the one thing that bothered me was that the book ended too abruptly. I realize it's a series but this book forces you to read the next book to find out what happens. No ends are tied up. I feel ther ...more
Allan Ashinoff
I downloaded this book for free on Amazon. Good story, could use come editing thought...most obvious are common words like realize and civilization which lack the Z and instead have an S in its place. Further, I think the dual plots could be weaved closer together. By this I mean switching back and forth throughout the book rather than starting on one storyline then abandoning it for the rest of the novel. I enjoyed the story enough to buy its sequel and hope the author understands, as I would, ...more
Feb 01, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Surprisingly I give it a 4 .. it is not a 4 in my normal rating criteria. But in its genre it is. It is your typical book of this type but for some reason I cannot grasp it is better than most of them. Still in the B grade arena but at a higher level. This probably makes no sense as I cannot pick why it is better than others of the same class :)
Jul 20, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
There could be a decent book somewhere in here, but there are way too many issues with it. The pacing is very uneven, with some sections being very fast paced and a lot of events being somewhat glossed over. Then there are sections that are told in extreme detail to the point where it becomes too much. There is one plot line that seems to be entirely a setup for the rest of the series. It's completely unconnected to the main story and just goes nowhere, while explaining nothing by itself.
The ali
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Dan Lunghofer
Sep 29, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am torn about how to rate this. The storyline is very well done and very interesting - years after a devastating war, humanity reaches out for first contact, and then the aliens we thought we had beaten come back.

The Shan are described in a full way, giving them a reasonably rich culture and identity. It's obvious the author spent some time researching large cats (OK, minor spoiler there). The first contacts between the humans and the Shan are well-written and carefully thought out, although i
Jul 25, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is promising but needs work. There are typos that are distracting, and it needs editing; sometimes it is repetitive even within the one paragraph. There are some annoyingly unrealistic situations that are required for plot advancement (couldn't you send a broadcast message instead of risking 2 lives? Why would a Captain take a jumpy and irritated junior colleague into what must be a very senstive situation?). The structure of the story doesn't work. Instead of intercutting, we follow the Vi ...more
Adam Windsor
I liked a lot about this book. The bulk of it is a fun first contact + Sf warfare page turner. But man, there are a couple of major structural issues.

Issue number 1 is that chapters 1, 2 and 26 are devoted to a storyline that has NO intersection with the rest of this book. Presumably it will in a later book, but why not hold these chapters over for that later volume?

The section is the ham-handed use of multiple cliffhangers at the end. Yes, I understand that you want me to buy book 2. You know h
This one had a lot of potential with an interesting background and possible plot. However, there are multiple story lines that leave you hanging unless you buy the other books in the series. The ending was very rushed, almost as if the author was tired of writing. I won’t be going further with the series as there were numerous typos, misspelled words, and incomplete / runon sentence that were just plain annoying: combined with having to buy the next book in the series to find out some type of co ...more
Daniel Hamad
Oh wow is this clearly self-published. There's literally sections copied from one another. Please hire an editor for copy, but also please do some market testing and feedback before releasing this drivel.

Beyond a myriad of other issues, it seems like in the future there's no tactical planning on organization in battles... wonder where that became irrelevant.

On the plus side, the universe is intriguing.

I almost gave it 3 stars because it's still a fun read, but I just can't.

Now the question is wh
Dec 21, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Got this as a free copy on Kobo, and at first it seemed interesting, but the amount of head jumping between characters, lack of general story structure, as well as some minor misspellings, have put me off going past the first 50% of the book. I realise that this is the first in the series, so a lot of world building must be done, but Hard Duty appears to be making a rather poor job in it - there appears to be a little too much of thinking done by the characters to explain things to the reader wh ...more
Christopher Bray
Yep, this is it. The book I’ve been looking for since finishing with the Honor Harrington series and until the next instalment of Frontlines, Odyssey One and Hayden War Cycle series.

It’s got decent space combat, land combat and most importantly characters that are developed and fleshed out throughout the book. It isn’t just one massive battle but the action sequences are interesting and even the bits around the action Steve a purpose other than just filling space and splitting up battles unlike
Jim Kratzok
Jul 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Looks like I have a new series to read! The Merkiaari are some really bad dudes. They messed up humanity before being driven off and they also nearly wiped out the Shan, a felinoid species that humans recently discovered. So can humans and Shan become allies? Naturally! Because, aside from a basic compatibility and apparently shared values, the enemy of my enemy is my friend. But there are a couple of other subplots going on that I haven't figured out yet. I guess it's time for book
Apr 14, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very well written book. It introduced a number of characters with varying degrees of attention by the author. The characters did not all come together before the book ended.

This book barely stands on it's own. The reason being that most of the characters are left hanging and nothing is really complete by the end of the book.

I enjoyed the story but was very frustrated the way it ended. I haven't read others in the series so I don't know if it would have flowed better to have some of the action
Dwayne O Auernheimer

Multiple threads and plots but well thought out and written. Outstanding First Contact, could be used as a guide for future exploration and contact. A bit too much prose when told through Shima's eyes but not enough to distract from the overall story. It did take me a bit to get back to Eric's story when it jumped back to him towards the end of the book. Looking forward to the rest of the series.
Don Perschau
Long first book of a series of 5. At least three story lines although most of the book involves one story of first contact. Entertaining but there are plot features that keep it from being top notch. If it takes five books to complete the story I am deterred from continuing. I am tempted to move on to the second book but maybe not right away. The unexpected main character who becomes central is good.
Julian Orozco, Jr.
Hard Duty!

Very good book. Kept me interested at all levels and details. When some books are written with intertwining story lines, a reader can lose the linage to follow the story and give up. This story was interesting on all levels. The writer keeps the story rolling along with action and suspense at every corner. Nicely done, can't wait to start reading the second book.
Jul 22, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book has its pluses but then more minuses. I found the Viper interesting but saw far too little of him. Then I was intrigued by the Shan. The switching of storylines was a bit irritating and even more so when the Viper suddenly appeared again in the last chapter after a long period of nothing. The cliffhangers were annoying. Enough so that I don't think I will pursue the series. ...more
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Madison Mega-Mara...: "Hard Duty" by Mark E. Cooper 1 1 Mar 30, 2014 06:22AM  

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Incursion: Merkiaari Wars 5 is out now (11/11/2016)

Mark E. Cooper lives alone in a small town in the south of England, where he writes most mornings and evenings. His background is in mechanical engineering where he spent over thirty years working for Ford. He loves reading about strong female characters and can often be found laughing to himself as he list

Other books in the series

Merkiaari Wars (5 books)
  • What Price Honour (Merkiaari Wars, #2)
  • Operation Oracle (Merkiaari Wars, #3)
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