Wednesday, September 19, 2012

March Upcountry

March Upcountry (Empire of Man, #1)

March Upcountry (Empire of Man #1)

In a complete out of character thing for me this is one of the few books that I have read multiple times. Here you have a book written by my two favorite authors, combining Science Fiction with a smattering of fantasy and just plain gritty writing.

The book is a lot of plain old fun. Starting with the SF standard of an intergalactic empire engaged in a long term dispute with the significant opponents. That is where Prince Roger MacClintock comes into the scene. Spoiled, petulant and whiny, a clotheshorse fop who is stuck in the petulant teenage-mode of believing that the world has screwed him.  His mother, the empress, sends him off to an out of the way locale to basically get him out of her hair (and maybe protect him from palace intrigue).

Then things go wrong... The ship he is on is sabotaged, forcing it into a no-win scenario where they must drop Roger (and the Company of Marine Bodyguards, the Bronze Barbarians) off into the basically uncharted planet of Marduk.  Because the spaceport on the planet is presumed to be under the control of the enemy (the Saints, an empire run by eco-fascists) they must drop on the far side and make the long trek to take over the spaceport.

Marduk is murder on the Marines, hot, humid and full of lots of things that want to kill them.  Even after gaining some local support the Marines seem to be most effective at going from the frying pan into the fire, on a continuous basis.  Throughout the book (and subsequent books) Roger is slowly redeemed, mostly through the actions of Captain Pahner (head of the Marine Company) and the local who becomes bonded to him, Cord.

One note though.... John Ringo is murder on characters. Literally, since the one key thing when reading his books is that there is going to be a sizable death count on the good-guys team (normally an even bigger body count on the bad guys). David Weber has been known to kill characters as well but not with even a fraction compared to John.

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