Now this is a military science-fiction book! I’ve some how wondered away from true military sci-fi to just some sci-fi stories, but it’s time I got back to what I love reading. This “Sentenced to War” series seems to be never ending with new stuff happening in each book. We’ve come a long way from a young man named Reverent Pelletier got caught self-driving when he was in an auto-drive zone. He was subsequently sentenced by a Judge to join the Union Marine Corps and are we ever glad he did.
Now, several, several years later, we find Gunnery Sergeant Pelletier back on Safe Hold doing what Marines have done in years past, counting inventory after their latest deployment. It was tedious work and he was relying on his subordinate Squad Leaders to get the actual work done. He had to turn in a consolidated report to HQ by close of business (COB). He was also seeing the new “joins” or replacements that periodically showed up. His current interest was in the new Marine who now stood in front of him. He was Private Per
Tiwari, the same guy that had helped Rev a whole bunch during their last deployment. He was more than surprised since Tiwari had been part of the Samara guard forces and not really trained to fight the Naxli. But, with the help of Rev and the Union Marines, the forces on Samara were successful in repelling the Naxli invasion. With that war still going strong, the Union Marine Corps were taking enlistments from just about any place they could. So here was a new, if somewhat older, Private to the unit. Hopefully, Rev would have time to get him trained up before their next deployment.
It, of course, didn’t happen that way. The Naxli had invaded another human planet, Toan, which didn’t have a very strong military. So a large group of the First Human Expeditionary Battalion were being deployed to beef up the training of the Toan army and see if they could kick the Naxli off the planet. The Toan were an alien race that looked like, uh, radishes to the Union Marines. Oh, they had two arms and a torso, but only some kind of tentacles for legs. They were intelligent, but not very aggressive so the Union Marines had their job cut out for them.
Surprisingly, the training was going well. The Naxli were busy elsewhere at the moment and hadn’t directly attacked the Toan, but it was expected to happen soon. So, the more Toan that were trained up, the more likely they could stand up to a Naxli invasion. Maj Ma had the option to pulling the Union Marines when he felt the Toan were up to the job of defending their own planet. After two weeks, he was ready to pull his Marines and go back to Safe Harbor before the Naxli showed up. There weren’t enough Marines to really put up a reasonable fight and he didn’t want to the Toan to assume they could rely on the Marines presence to be a major impact on the fight. But, Gunnery Sergeant Pelletier didn’t feel they had done the full job/mission of training the Toan. So, he asked for two more weeks which the Major agreed to, except two days later, the Naxli landed in force.
So, this battle goes about as predicted. Still, it was unusual that these Naxli didn’t seem to know who the humans were. They had even queried Rev during a lull in battle asking Rev what he was knowing that he and his Marines obviously weren’t Toan. The fighting is still very fierce and it doesn’t look like the Toan or the Marines going to survive. But, as usual, Rev becomes “the Chaos of Nexus” and something happens that gets him and his Marines back home to Safe Harbor.
This kind of thing goes on for the rest of the book. Rev and ToMiko (Miko), his fiancée, are selected, among others, to go into a prison planet where the Naxli have been holding humans and other allied aliens. Their job is to get these long-term prisoners ready to be liberated. It’s a tough mission, but one that they can accomplish given time, which amounts to exactly five days.
After this, Rev finds out that Miko has been selected for Gunnery Sergeant. That’s makes both of them extremely happy and proud. Miko even starts getting some awards that seemed to be flowing only to Rev, but she now is earning them like he has. Their next mission begins soon after with them and a large contingent of Union Marines deploying to a planet that was like a living hell. It had not population and no resources except blazing heat generated by huge volcanoes. It also suffered from seismic shocks that shook up everything. The Naxli had already landed and claimed the planet, but the Congress of Humanity had, for some reason, declared that a non-starter and they weren’t going to just let the Naxli have it. So, off go Gunnery Sergeant Pelletier and the rest of the Union Marines.
This an exciting and suspenseful part of the story. Of course it comes down to a last battle that has Rev convincing some strange allies to participate. Rev does well and Tomiko also comes out unharmed. When they get back to Safe Harbor, Gunnery Sergeant Pelletier is called into the Colonel’s office. He asked a question which is going to cause Rev some serious thinking. It’s going to have a definite impact on the rest of the books in the series.
Book 12, “Nexus of Chaos”, is available on Amazon now. Book 13, “Exiled to Perdition” is also shown on Amazon, but won’t be available until 9 April 2023. I’m putting both on my reading list.