Great new series and an outstanding start. This first book is very, very interesting, but it has some surprises and some challenges. You’ll initially start off with Gunnery Sergeant Wolf Mathison, USMC and his small platoon that is, regrettably getting smaller each day. He’s in a battle against the Asiatic Union which, by rights, he shouldn’t be since his platoon is the first of a highly skilled tactical unit not designed for trench warfare. Yeah, his Raider Marines are a cut above normal Marines in that they have been implanted with some seriously new technology. All the Marines in his platoon have a Sentient Cybernetic Biological Interface (SCBI) located in their brain using newly grown brain cells for just this purpose. His platoon was the first with this new experimental “scoobies” as they call them.
The fight he now found his platoon engaged in was supposed to be a test of this new wet-wear and how much it added to the combat effectiveness of his troops. Except the Company Commander was wasting GySgt Mathison’s Marines since the particular sector his platoon was to cover was becoming undermanned and the weak link in the company front lines. Mathison had requested reinforcements, but the Captain had refused telling Mathison that his “enhanced” troops should be able to handle the job. Well, they were doing just that even though the number of Asiatic Union troops coming at them was far larger than any other place in the line. And, because of that, Mathison was loosing Marines just by being vastly out numbered. Mathison rightly believed that the object of his platoon being here was to test out it’s capabilities and not get the all killed. He already knew that the scoobies were working just fine and did add significantly to the combat abilities.
Finally, the 1st Sgt showed up with some reinforcements and together they halted the Asiatic Union advance. All was calm for awhile and GySgt Mathison expected his platoon to be recalled anytime soon. They had another mission ahead of them and that was to go to Jupiter’s moon, Europa and support that effort. It is the year 2088 and space flight is just starting to allow humanity to move to the stars. Only, there won’t be many of them left if they continue fighting under their current commander. Then, things get worse. He’s ordered to send out three-men night patrols. Marines follow orders whether they like them or not, so he does what’s he has to and loses more Marines.
Things can change quickly during a battle, and they do for Gunnery Sergeant Mathison and his Raider platoon or what’s left of it. They receive orders that their is an inbound pickup coming to take them from the battlefield by to the rear so they can get prepped for their trip to Europa. They have a very short window to make their shuttle up to the starship taking them out. But, they do make it back to the rear, get cleaned up and told they can rest while in stasis during the trip to Europa.
Gunnery Sergeant Mathison has been a Marine for a long time. He knew he was probably going to have to retire after Europa mission. His body had been through too much and he was feeling his age and knew he was getting worn out, much too worn out to lead these young Marines he was in charge of. But, while he was in-charge, he was going to keep them alive at all cost. That was his job and he was good at it. He had developed a relationship with is SCBI whom he called, “Freya”. She (which is what he though of her as, so she was) could provide him with all sorts of information via a neural link and her ability to interface with external networks. It took some getting used to having a voice in your head all the time, but it seemed to be working even for this older Marine. He figured that his platoon would be just the first of all the Marines eventually getting the implant.
So, we’re now up to Chapter 12 in the book. Bam! Switch gears! It’s now the year 2400 and your Finnish and Swedish language skills better be ready. You’re off on another mission that has absolutely nothing to do with the first eleven chapters in the book other than to introduce you to some United States Marines. Now, they are or should be long dead. You have some new troops to read about so suck it up and continue on with the story.
I really, really liked this book. It is definitely military science fiction and reads real easily. It does kind of end abruptly, but that just makes me want to read the next book, which is “Darkness Rising” and it’s available on Amazon right now. I’ve already added it to my reading list and just might move it up to read real soon.