A new author (to me, anyway) and a new series. This one is kind of strange, but it turns our pretty good. I’m a self proclaimed male chauvinist having said that many times in my reviews. I’m not drawn to read military science fiction books that have female leads/main characters and this is one of those books. Still, it reads pretty well because the main character is a pretty tough person of any gender. She is Senior Sergeant Pari Petrosyan, 1st Regiment, 16th Squadron, Charlie Troop, 3rd Platon. She’s been at the job for nine years now out of ten year service contract. She just has a few months to make it to the end of this contract alive, but it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen!
You’ll find out she didn’t start out this way. No, she was a very young, but street-wise Three that made a living freelancing as a fixer on Level Three. Let me explain all that. The city she’s was born and raised in on Earth is a hive city. It is stacked at least three levels high with the lowest level numbered three, the next above, level two and then level one. The major difference between the three levels was the amount of sun you actually got. Pari hadn’t ever seen the sun. She lived her life running around on Level Three and never really imagined mixing it up with a Level Two and she’d never seen a Level 1. Those were the ultra-rich and royalty. So, Pari ran around fixing things for different gang members while skillfully avoiding becoming a member of any one gang. Most of the stuff she had for sale was just information. Something she heard about one gang member quietly told to someone else that she overheard and found could be profitable if someone else were given that same information. Unfortunately, her last job didn’t go so well since she had tried a double-cross and nearly got herself killed.
But now she has just received a strange message telling here about a possible job. She didn’t know who the sender was, but he was willing to meet with her at her usual watering hole, the Spot, which was run by her friend Ara. She didn’t know Ara all that well, but he had helped her out in some tough spots. He owned the bar and that in itself was remarkable for a Three. So, she agreed to meet whomever sent the message and see what this was all about. That was going to be the one thing that changed her entire live. Oh, and killing two cops also had a lot to do with it.
For a lot of Threes there was only a couple of ways out of their station in life. You could die and that pretty much ended everything and Threes died every day in about every way possible. Then there was the Frontier Corps. You could, if you wanted and weren’t to strung out on drugs or altered too much, just join up, but there was a waiting list for those Threes choosing that route. Enlistment in the Frontier Corps was for ten years, period. If you lived through that ten years, you would be retired to a colony planet and given farm. Most Frontier Corpsmen didn’t last half their enlistment!
Ok, here’s a little problem with this story. The author wants to call members of the Frontier Corps, Corpsmen. To me, that brings to mind those guys in medical units and the one guy in your unit that you always made friends with and made sure they were supplied with cigarettes or anything else that needed. So, it’s kind of strange to be reading about all these “Corpsmen” when the author meant this to mean all the soldiers in the Frontier Corps. Actual Corpsmen are referred to as Medics, so at least that clear. Anyway, what’s this got to do with Pari Petrosyan? Well, remember that I said she had killed two cops, actually she only killed one, but when she did, she happened to do it right when two members of the Frontier Corps came looking for her. They were recruiters and had been sent by Ara.
One of the Frontier Corpsmen actually finished off the second cop, but that was only so they could get Pari away from the place she was hiding without any witnesses. Of course these two Corpsmen were recruiters and they were taking Pari to join up for her own good. Oh, she could have refused, but having killed a cop, she knew her life on Level Three was just about over no matter what. So, she signed her ten-year enlistment papers and received a new identity down to and including a DNA change. She became Pari Petrosyan from that moment on and we never get to know her real name, ever!
The Frontier Corps is composed of people like her, Threes with no where to go but prison or worse. You were usually sent to an outpost to protect the Empires colonist. The posting Pari got was about the worst she could have gone to because the planet the Empire was trying to colonize had been fighting the native inhabitants for tens of years. After nine of those years, they were still fighting them while Pari became Senior Sergeant Pari Petrosyan. Now she has to stay alive for a few more months and she can be done with all this fighting and dying. She’s lost so many friends that she hardly remembers anyone’s name or face any more. Yet the enemy is unrelenting and it seems they are getting bolder. Now she has a new Lieutenant that she has to break in hoping he won’t be the one to get her and her entire platoon killed.
The book is good, but it has a lot of editing mistakes. Words missing or used twice or sentences that just don’t make sense. The book needs to be cleaned up. I might continue with this series, or I might not. That’s my male chauvinist coming through, I guess. Either way, book 2, “Cold Steel” is avaliable on Amazon and I’ve got it on my Reading list.