I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I like stories where we follow young people getting started on a military career. This book starts out exactly that way. Reverent (Rev) Pelletier is seventeen years old, just a few months away from his eighteenth birthday and he should have been very careful. He was hoping to graduate and get inducted into the Benevolent Order of Crystal Technicians (BOCT). That meant he was going to get a job and this job would be considered vital to the current war effort which would prevent him having to serve in the military. It didn’t work out that way because Rev got careless!
Yeah, he got a traffic ticket, class fourteen, on the way home one evening! That ticket said he was illegally operating a motor vehicle in an automated vehicle only area! So, Rev went to court with his step-Dad to find out what his fine would be. He figured his Dad would pay the fine and he’d pay him back from his first paycheck. Only the judge wasn’t thinking the same way. Apparently, humanity is in a pretty serious war with the “Centaurs” and the humans were losing! The military was needing every able body they could get, so even minor traffic tickets could turn into lengthy sentences with the Pegasus Union Marine Corps! And that’s exactly what the Judge gave Rev…sentenced to a single term in the Pegasus Union Marine Corps for a traffic ticket! Now, they did some of that when I was a young man, but you definitely had to do something much more serious than a traffic ticket! Good think I don’t live where and when Rev did!
But, this Union Marine Corps isn’t the same as what you know of today. It’s kind of more laid back, but it’s still basic training. Rev has some interesting day ahead of him and he’s definitely going to get in shape. That’s one thing that doesn’t change with the Marines, you will get in shape and stay in shape of your NCO’s will be kicking your backside daily! Rev didn’t think he was that out of shape, but he did have his struggles. Then finally the day came when he would find out what his classification was going to be. Now, he does have some flexibility in his choices and this was a very interesting part of the book. It seems the Marine’s job classifications were largely based on what they thought you could handle and what the recruit chose for themselves. The two were not mutually agreeable! If you were physically fit and could take the potential augmentations and enhancements covering physical and genetic modifications, then you could cut your length of service way, way down. Of course, those jobs with limited service time, had a less than stellar life expectancy! For example, a Direct Combat slot carried only a three year tour. Do your three years and punch out, no problems. Except there was a 78% chance you wouldn’t live to the end of your three years! The other choice open to Rev was to accept a MilDes 99 job which would make him slave labor for the Marines doing whatever needed done for twenty to twenty-five years! Yikes! Neither option seemed that great to Rev, but he was given the choice.
I’m sure you’ll want to know what he chose! Of course he can’t die right away or that would make this book awful short so he does get his assignment and then gets into some pretty hairy missions. He does have friends with him and they stay with him through almost all of his time. He’s not going to be the same person he was before he went in and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. The Marines are using “convicts” such as Rev and volunteers and some of the time they don’t get along. It takes awhile for everyone in the Marines to realize that regardless of where they came from, the all have to pull together to get the mission done. While his basic training didn’t seem to be that difficult, Rev will go into combat and attempt to live out his entire enlistment. It’s not going to be easy!
This was a very good start to what could be a pretty good series. The next book won’t be out until April 2021, but I’ve already pre-ordered “Children of Angels” and I can’t wait. I strongly recommend you start reading this book now.