This is another book by one of my favorite authors. I’ve read all of his United Federation Marine Corps books that involved the Lysander family including the latest with the twins, Noah and Esther. This book is different, though. It’s really about four guys who find themselves far behind enemy lines with the need to obviously return to their own friendly lines, family and air wing. Yeah, that’s kind of different. These four guys consist of two Marine Engineers, a Navy Lieutenant pilot-type, and a recently turned Militia Private who is quite old by our current standards, but no so much during this future.
The problem I had was I couldn’t relate to any of these guys. The two Marine Engineers were sent on a mission with a Marine Recon squad as escort to blow up a key bridge deep in enemy territory. Sergeant Gary James Go is the hard-nosed veteran Marine while his other team member was Lance Corpral Javier Julio Gregory Portillo, usually called “JJ”. Of course JJ is the younger of the two and the least experienced. But, they had a mission to blow up a bridge and that was going to be accomplished no matter what. And, in fact, It did cost quite a lot. They lost the four-man recon team while blowing up the bridge. So, Sergeant Go and JJ were now on their own many, many kilometers from their own lines.
Then there’s the algae farmer, Jasper van Ruiker, was farming and colonizing the planet Nieuwe Utrecht when the “Tenner’s” invaded. The Tenner’s are corporate mercenaries hired by ten corporations who together wanted a bigger share of the money making planets in this sector. It didn’t matter to them that the planet was under the protection of the Federation and that there were already Federation troops on the ground; not many, but they were present. The Nieuwe Utrecht militia was formed and all able-bodied men were drafted to fight. Jasper was 78 years old, but expected to see another 30 to 40 years if he didn’t get killed in this war. His main concern right now was for his wife and grandchildren who had fled to the mountains to try and stay safe. Jasper was on the front line and didn’t think he’d every see any of them again.
Next we find on “Mountie” crawling around on the ground trying not to get killed. He’s a Navy pilot that has just been shot down after assisting his wing man on a bombing run. Assisting might be too big a word since Mountie (his call-sign) had dived towards the enemy on the ridge in an unarmed plane. He’s already used all his ordnance on a previous mission and was returning to the carrier when the call for support came in. So his wingman, “Skeets”, who had ordnance was actually making the strafing run while Mountie was just trying to draw some fire away from him. It worked except Mountie got shot down. Now he was behind enemy lines and wasn’t sure where he should be heading, but he knew there were no enemy left on the ridge they had just destroyed, but there might be some friendly survivors still there. That’s where he heads.
So, there are the four main characters. They manage to meet up along their wandering way towards friendly lines. Each has their own opinions of what they are or should be doing and sometimes they are in conflict with each other. Still, they do recognize that they are part of the Federation military on this planet and must do whatever is necessary to remain alive, and cause the enemy as much trouble as they can. It’s an interesting journey. Not all of them make it back.
There is no sequel to this. This was just a stand alone book which is fine, but I’m still waiting for maybe another continuing series like the Lysander series. I believe “Noah’s Story: Marine Tanker” was the last book in that series so I’m still waiting for more.