This is a soldiers book. It’s about a young soldier that goes through intense fighting like no real soldier will ever see, thank God! It’s obviously in the far future where warfighting is between humans and aliens. On this particular planet, Volger’s World, the fighting is very, very intense and the enemy is called “the Skulls”. Lots of soldiers of the United Galactic Government (UGG) and the 9th Expeditionary Battalion will die, lots and lots of them!
Corporal Michael Priam shouldn’t be here. He’s got connections through his family which should have gotten him an appointment to the College of Professional Officers (CPO)! What a novel idea. A college where people go to become officers. Must be something like West Point, the Air Force Academy, or Annapolis. Anyway, he’s probably a lot smarter than the average Expeditionary soldier and most of those around him know that. Still, he doesn’t want to be known as the guy who should go to CPO even if his best friend, Corporal Peter Vanderbilt, keeps reminding of that missed opportunity. The more fighting Corporal Priam gets exposed to, the more he realizes that made he did make a mistake in not going the other route.
On the “Slog”, which is the soldiers name for Volger’s World, he’s exposed to some very, very incompetent officers, mostly of higher rank, but fortunately he has some very able immediate officers who know how to take care of their troops. Still, that doesn’t prevent soldiers from getting killed. The fighting is very intense and continuous for the most part. These soldiers are at peak physical fitness and they pride themselves of that. Otherwise they would be quickly dead. Corporal Priam is learning how to fight and he’s doing relatively well. He soon realizes that his world consist of living from one fight to the next and he now knows that he’s fighting for his best friend, the guy beside him in the foxhole and that’s all that matters.
There is this string going on in the book where Priam’s family ties keep getting involved. The Priam family has lots of very rich government contracts. The Priam corporations supply a lot of the CGG’s military equipment and they are always trying to find ways to see how that equipment is working. While his Father and Brother don’t understand his enlisting in the army, it’s his Uncle Bartholomew who wants to turn Michael’s experience into field trial reports on one particular new equipment, the Assaulter. That equipment is not what’s needed on the Slog. It’s too lightweight for the extreme fighting they are doing. Yet, his Uncle and his Father’s corporation has long arms. They know there are officers who want to make an impression on them for future career purposes. So, the troops are going to use this equipment or die trying!
That brings up another problem Corporal Priam faces. He’s always looked at by mostly officers as someone to influence so they can look forward to another career possibly with a cushy position in one of the Priam corporations. Michael is not here for that. He’s here to do the job of being a soldier and he will even if it kills him. The fighting is intense throughout the book, but well written about. It is written a lot less bloody than it could be, but the experiences that Corporal Priam and his fellow soldiers go through are bad enough.
I like this story, until the end. I’m not sure why it ended this way and if it’s the beginning of a series, I’m not sure how it continues. I will read the next book, “Brothers in Arms, Book 2: 13 Mercs” just to see how the authors continues the story.