I am absolutely thrilled to find another series that starts out like this one. I love reading about young people or a young person getting their first indoctrination to the military. Coming from civilian life to a military life can and is a traumatic experience for a lot of young people. I like reading about how science fiction authors treat the prospect of basic military training for those who will become heroes in their books. Starting from scratch like this, really gives a reader a great background on the main character and makes the feel they know why and how they got to be as good as they eventually will be.
Here we follow a young orphan named Roland Shaw as he decides upon what branch of the military he will go into when his 18th birthday has rolled around. His parents died serving the Terran Union during the war with the Xaros. That war ended with the Terran’s victorious, but very costly. Most of the Earth was destroyed and now just barely coming back to life. Those few large population centers still in existence are doing well, but there isn’’t much else for a young person to do but join the military at 18. Besides, it’s mandatory now that the humans know there are “bad guys” out in the far and not so far reaches of space.
So, of course, Roland decides he wants to join the Armor Corps. Now, this is a different kind of armor that you and I know of. It’s not tanks with crews that roam the battlefield and reign destruction on exposed enemies. No, these are huge 15-foot tall, self-contained mechanical monsters that act like the humans contained inside their wombs. Only, these humans inside these walking super fortresses magnifies the abilities of the humans a hundred fold. They each carry the firepower equal to a current day battalion of tanks with even more destructive power available. That’s what Roland Shaw wants to be and command.
So, he opts for the Armor Corps only to be told that the Armor Corps doesn’t just take anyone. You have to show the ability to interface with these armored automatons which isn’t all that easy. The interface between human and machine is done through a plug surgically implanted into the back of the head/neck of each Armor soldier. Whether Roland can take the implant won’t be know until he passes all the preliminary tests and they aren’t going to be easy.
I could follow the logic of Roland’s training for the most part. It was just like any other basic training one would go through, but obviously we don’t get all the details. Still he has to survive some pretty gruesome trials, but it seems he and his fellow recruits or. candidates are getting some personal instructions. They are assigned an Armor Lieutenant almost from the beginning and he seems to be guiding them through their trials explaining a lot of stuff a DI or TI wouldn’t bother to do. Roland can ask questions about anything and usually he gets an answer. Most times in basic training you find out asking questions is a good way to get extra duty and you never, ever get any answers from you DI or TI. That’s just the way it is in today’s or at least my personal experience.
Not surprisingly, Roland and his fellow almost Armor soldiers get called into battle early. They don’t know if they are ready or not nor does their Lieutenant really want to take them into harms way, but he has no choice. They must follow the orders given and hope they can stop this new problem from becoming larger. Very good writing.
I have the next book, “The Iberra Sanction” already bought and will be reading it very soon. I’m very happy to have found this series so far and look forward to reading more books about Roland Shaw and the Armor Corps.
Oh, yes, this series also ties into a previous series by Richard Fox,”The Ember War”. That series has added a lot more books since I stopped at book 3, so I’ve got some more reading to do from this author. No problem!