With thousands of men in reserve, it would be a walk-over for the Hegemony forces to wipe out the Accord positions. The 13th might not be so lucky this time…
Appraisal There is a lot of action in this novel and pace keeps you caught up from start to finish. Although this book is considered to be Science Fiction, there is a tendency to think of it more in terms of a war/drama genre novel instead. What keeps this book squarely in its intended genre is the author’s regular inclusion of tidbits from the back-story of the different Empires expansion into the galaxy, the theory and science behind the advanced weaponry, spaceflight, and anti-gravity drives. The author adds the scientific data slowly, effectively giving the overall feel of the novel validity. By keeping the reader informed about the way things work in this story’s universe, the use of various ‘new’ items by the characters seem natural and believable. And when you add the character’s development that gives each of the primary characters a rounded personality, you have a story that is enticing as well as entertaining.
Pros The author chose to develop the main characters beyond the basics and they seemed to come to life from the pages and you are able to relate to their actions and surroundings easily. Descriptions of ‘new’ technologies were written into the storyline as narration and at times where they proved to be an effective way to hide the passage of time. Such as the trip to the planet Porter where the 13th was going to be landed. The pace of the action in the book was even and steady. As new objects were introduced there was no slowdown on the storyline. They were added as needed, and routinely followed by an easy to understand description and explanation of their use and how they work.
Cons The story relies heavily on a war/action theme with nearly all of it occurring on the surface of a planet. Even though there is enough back-story about the different Galactic Empires and the technologies being used, the novel still has the distinct ‘feel’ of being a war novel instead of a Science Fiction one. During a sequence of events when a platoon of the 13th was clearing a multi-level building with enemy troops in it, the author uses nearly the same scenario as he does in another of his novels that we’ve also reviewed called “Lieutenant”. Several of the battle scenes had the ‘been there, done that’ feeling to them and it was odd to have the idea that you’ve already read the passage before.