I’ve probably said this a bunch of times, but I really, really like this series. It’s about Gunnery Sergeant Reverent Pelletier, Pegasus Union Marine Corps and all those fantastic Marines with him. He’s now officially engaged to Staff Sergeant Tomiko Reiser, although their wedding date hasn’t been set. They have been slightly busy since Tomiko was brought back to active duty after being resurrected. That’s a whole previous book if you’re interested.
The last book ended with a very late night attack on both Rev and Tomiko while they were going back to quarters. It didn’t go well for the attackers since all seven or so of them were found dead. Now with this obvious attempt on Rev’s life (and Tomiko’s), Rev has been restricted to base. But, that didn’t last long since the unit got orders to deploy. The Naxli were still causing the humans all sorts of troubles. They were attacking human settlements without provocation and pretty much wiping out everything in those settlements. Now ships sent to help in averting these attacks were being destroyed without an apparent Naxli naval vessel in the area. So, something in space was floating around practically invisible and Rev’s platoon was tasked with finding and capturing said mystery spaceship. Of course, this mission is pretty difficult, but not as difficult as some of the following.
One of the planets the Naxli now hit was Samsara. It was inhabited by an independent group of humans called Dalit. Without a treaty or other agreements, it wasn’t necessarily up to the Congress of Humanity to go in and provide military aid. Yet, CoH knew that the Dalits couldn’t even begin to defend themselves since they really had no military. But, surprisingly, the Dalits were doing impossibly well with the initial invasion by the Naxli. They weren’t going to be able to defeat the Naxli and that was a problem for the CoH. They couldn’t standby while a human planet was taken over by the Naxli, so Gunnery Sergeant Pelletier and the entire battalion was called in to help.
Initially, Rev’s platoon was assigned to protect the MDS Foreign Army Contact Team (FACT) as they began to help the remaining Dalits reorganize and begin their counteroffensive against the Naxli. The problem here was the MDS under-major was going to just observe the Dalits in action and then tell them what they needed to improve upon. That was a definite problem for the Union Marines when they were told not to fight unless they or the FACT was directly under attack. Well, you can pretty much figure out how Gunnery Sergeant Pelletier handled this situation. He and the FACT also found out that the Dalits were much more capable than originally thought so things slowly worked themselves out.
Once back at Safe Harbor, Rev still found himself restricted to base. Intel says the had information that his life was still in danger and weren’t going to take any chances after the last incident. Unfortunately, Rev’s brother was getting married in the near future and Rev couldn’t get permission to attend the wedding in person. So, he settles for the next best thing and that’s viewing it while hiding out in the IBHU Armory. Why he was hiding is something else that came up while on the last mission. It seems his Platoon Lieutenant was suffering from a bad case of PTSD and he had shown such during the last mission. Rev and the Lt. had talked about the Lt.’s fear of being killed now that he had seen his cousin die and he felt he caused his death. It wasn’t a good conversation to be having with your Platoon Leader. But, the man seemed to pull himself together and got on with that mission. Now back at Safe Harbor, no one could find the Lieutenant! So, Rev had been pulling his Platoon Sergeant duties and filling in for the missing Platoon Leader. There seemed to always be someone or something that needed Rev’s attention, but he wasn’t going to miss out on his brother’s wedding no matter what.
That’s when the assassin struck again! This part of the story turns into a bloody mess. Rev watches it all happen while viewing the wedding on his screen in the IBHU Armory. He doesn’t think about what he saw, he just acts. This is a very interesting part of this book. But, Rev is eventually brought back to the base and awaiting to see how much trouble he was in. But, a new mission just came in and there wasn’t time to do anything but get the platoon ready for combat. Rev wasn’t going to get a new Lieuteant so he was going on this mission as the acting Platoon Leader and Platoon Sergeant. But, he had good people with him so he didn’t doubt they could pull it off, whatever it was.
Turns out they have a new mission just like the old one. Naxli have invaded a human planet and they have to kick them off. Rev finds his hands full with all his responsibilities, but he manages to do what needs to be done. He also finds out something that will change the human’s approach to this war with the Naxli. There seems to be other alien species at war with the Naxli and it would help if the humans could work with them against a common enemy. This is where Rev comes in. He’s the one who first figure out what Naxli wanted so why not have him make first contact? Just the kind of stuff a Gunnery Sergeant wants nothing to do with!
This book is very exciting and continues to show how Reverent Pelletier has grown since he first got in the Marines. He’s doing well for a conscript and he’s future and this series certainly aren’t over yet. Book 10, “United We Kill” is up for pre-order on Amazon and should be available on/about 4 September 2022. I’m marking it down on my reading list.