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“13 Mercs”


4 Small Stars
13 Mercs

Well, I thought the main character in this book had died in the first book, “First Strike”,  of this series! I guess authors can pretty much get away with whatever they want and that’s good because that has resulted in a second book in the series. And if that’s not something surprising, this whole story is kind of off! I don’t know, but I just can’t get my military mind to accept a Corporal running around conversing with Colonels and Admirals as thought it’s an every day occurrence. It’s not in real life and it really shouldn’t be in these books, but our main character is Corporal Michael Priam of the 9th Expeditionaries, Steel Company.

He was rescued by none other than Colonel Xen Chancellor, one of the original thirteen officers sponsored by the Priam family and subsequently, one of the thirteen to go rouge against the United Galactic Government (UGG). Corporal Priam was picked up from among the dead on Volger’s World. He shouldn’t be alive, but he is and now he wants to be sent back to his former unit. Well, the Colonel isn’t going to do that quite yet. It appears that Col. Chancellor went rogue with a number of GGU fleet assets. His command ship being on of the primary vessels he now uses in what he believes should be the real war of the GGC. He’s fighting a never ending battle against the Skull, but he’s doing so a lot further out than the GGC wants to go. He is of the opinion that the GGC needs to get out her and stop the Skull while and where they can before they become a near Earth threat. But, the GGC military command doesn’t really care what this rouge Colonel thinks and they believe they can stay as far away from the Skull as possible and they won’t be bothered. Except the Skull is coming toward Earth and doing so at an every increasing rate.

So, how does Corporal Priam fit into all this. Well, as a family member of the very wealthy and influential Priam family, he was given certain codes to family products for whatever reason escapes me. Col. Chancellor believes that he can convince Corporal Priam to join his side and fight the good fight along with his Manticore Marines. And if he does get the Corporal to join his cause, the Corporal just might give the Colonel the PDT Codes (Priam Defense Technology) which would allow the Colonel and his staff to fully implement all the defensive capabilities of his starship Manticore. I find it kind of idiotic that this very young kid who chose not to go to the Professional Officer School and become and enlisted instead, would be given codes to some warship that probably wasn’t around when he was old enough to know anything about anything! Still, the Colonel kind of convinces Priam to revel the codes and then he correctly decides he doesn’t need the Corporal around any longer. Not surprising.

During this period where Corporal Priam has been captured by the rogue Colonel, he’s allowed to join up with the Manticore Marines and engage in their fights against the Skull. He comes to realize that these Marines whom he consider his enemy, are no different than the Expeditionaries that he has been fighting with all along. They are fighting against the Skull and do not want to engage the GGC. Priam does figure out that as long as he’s on this warship, it probably would be in his best interest to make sure it can defend itself so he decides to give the PDT codes to Col. Chancellor. That abruptly gets him exiled to an ice moon where he finds an abandoned Skull soldier and an abandoned GGC solider. Here his adventures take another turn. I will admit that Corporal Priam is resourceful and very, very lucky. He eventually manages to get his way back to friendly forces only to be caught in the middle of a major Skull attack. There’s a lot of stuff going on around this lowly Corporal that probably should never have occurred.

I just don’t see all this stuff happening to a solitary grunt Corporal who should have and probably would have died on Volger’s World if the fighting had been as bad as he said it was. There were few survivors beyond him and he’s not especially adept at warfighting. The story just sounds like it’s trying to make him out to be more important than he really is. All the attention he gets from the Admiral and later the Major are not reasonable in my humble opinion. He should have been assigned to some Sergeant who’s job would have been to get Priam back to his former unit and under the care of his Squad Leader, another Sergeant. Corporals just don’t go wandering around on adventures like this guy does.

I guess there will be more stories/books in this series, but I doubt that I’ll continue to follow it. They way things are going this Corporal will probably be making General in a few more books! That happens all the time, doesn’t it?

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