I wonder if authors ever run out of bad guys? I mean, there is a whole galaxy of badass aliens out there somewhere, but do they have to be stinking grubs? Yeah, that’s what they are in this book. Big, fat, and very dangerous worms that look like grub worms. I don’t know, but this sounds kind of stupid to me. Still, Federation Space Marines gotta’ fight something, so it might as well be grubs!
No on knows where the Grubs came from. In fact, humans didn’t even know they existed until the Kelthos came to them and actually asked for help! Seems like even the Kelthos were have trouble beating these Grubs and nothing ever stands in the way of the Kelthos, well except humans. Having the Kelthos come and admit that there was an enemy they couldn’t defeat on their own was pretty frightening to the humans. We had been holding off the Kelthos for a hundred years using the Gladiatorial Combats as a substitute for all out war. The winner of such one-on-one fights, got the prize, be it a planet or territory that was in dispute. Now things have changed. The Kelthso need help and we’re going to find out why.
Now, the main character in this story isn’t a Space Marine just out of basic. No, he’s Lance Corporal Hondo McKeever, United Federation Marine Corps. He’s also one of the cerebral ones in that in the opening scene, he’s found reading a book, a novel no less! Astonishing! A Marine that can actually read and reading something that isn’t a field manual. (Sorry Marines. I just couldn’t pass that up!) And who names their kid, “Hondo”? We’ll learn that he’s an alien or at least he’s from a planet not Earth. I don’t know if that makes him an alien or not even though he is human. But, “Hondo”? Sounds like a name that some science fiction writer would use in a book about tough guys!
Anyway, the United Federation decides to go look at these “Grubs” that are kicking the Kelthos rear-ends. A bunch of scientist are sent along with Lance Corporal McKeever’s unit and they are just to look. But, it doesn’t quite work out that way. Before you know it, the Federation Space Marines are in the thick of an all out battle with the Grubs. Unfortunately nothing in their current equipment rack can do much of anything to the Grubs. These Grubs are huge, towering several stories taller than a Marine even in his PICS. So, what once was just an observation mission, turns into a run for you life for the civilian scientist and Hondo is one of the Marines responsible for getting a scientist back to a shuttle and then to safety. Running from a battle is not something a Marine ever does, but he’s got orders so he does what he’s told.
And that becomes the story of this book. These scientist have to come up with something that will effect the Grubs. Most of the existing weapons in the Marine arsenal don’t have much effect. Oh, they can drop some bombs on them, but the Grubs are very good at shooting down aircraft and even space ships. And it takes a lot of Kelthso and/or Marines to kill one single Grub. Most of the time, they will be facing hundreds if not thousands of Grubs. Also, the Grubs don’t communicate to the Kelthos or Humans as to what they want when attacking a planet.
It’s going to be a long war and a very strange one in that they are now allies with the Kelthso. Not all human civilizations like the idea of a Klethso alliance. They believe that the Kelthso would be better off dead so humans wouldn’t have to worry about them, yet the Federation realize that if the Kelthso are defeated, then the human race will be the next target of the Grubs. This is pretty exciting reading if you can get over the fact that we’re fighting grubs and some guy named “Hondo” is the main character.
Book Two, “The Price of Honor”, is already out and I’m well into reading it. I recommend you do to.