This story is so very much like his other Drop Trooper books that it’s ridiculous! If you’ve read that series (Drop Trooper) then you’ll understand. The main character in both books are in the Marines, but they eventually have had enough so they decided to get out and go live a peaceful civilian life. In this book, our main character, Randal Munroe (Tyler Callas) has left the Force Recon Marines and has settled down on the planet Demeter with Sophia.
This planet is where Munroe spent a great deal of his early Marine career when he was cut-off from the rest of the Commonwealth after the Marines botched attempt to take back the planet from the Tahni. It seems that author Partlow always has the Tahni as his enemy although humanity does eventually defeat their civilization, but not yet here. And actually, this story doesn’t deal with any of the Tahni at all, which is surprising.
Still, just like in his other books, our main character didn’t leave the Marines without strings attached. Those strings belong to a mysterious individual called “Cowboy”. He once was a very deep cover intelligence operative that him and his partner helped Munroe subdue the Tahni on Demeter and eventually drove them off the planet. Cowboy had recognized Munroe’s talents and told him that he might have a place for him in a future business he, Cowboy, was planning on after the war.
And the strings attached to Cowboy directly to Randal Munroe was that Cowboy knew that Munroe was actually Tyler Callas on the run from his Corporate Council Mother. He, Munroe, was also probably wanted for murder, but that wasn’t going to happen as long as Munroe’s mother was around. She wanted Tyler to be groomed as her replacement on the Corporate Council and was really upset when he didn’t agree with her plans for his life. All that’s covered in the first book so I don’t know why I’m repeating it here.
But, Cowboy has come to collect on his job offer. He needs Munroe to do something for him which requires Munroe to gather some of his former associates and go join with a bad guy out in the Pirate Worlds. This bad guy has his gang and himself located on a planet called Thunderhead. You don’t go out to the Pirate Worlds unless you know what you are doing and basically have a death wish. There is no law there except for what the local gang-lord establishes so things can and do get pretty ugly on the planet all the time.
Anyway, this particular gang boss, Abuelo, has come into possession of a Predecessor artifact and the Corporate Council wants it. Randle Munroe and this crew are to steal it back by joining this gang-lords gang. Simple as that. Well, not exactly, as you can surmise. Munroe has to locate several of his former combat associates and finding them is not going to be easy. One in particular has gone off the deep end and he’s not sure of her sanity nor her commitment to anything. Still, he does gather a group of battle-tested veterans and they head for Thunderhead and the city of Freeport.
This is were all that action takes place. Munroe doesn’t know what he’s up against and when he finds out, he’s not sure what he can do about it. He’s also not sure just who Cowboy is working for and it could very well be his Mother, so should he even follow Cowboy’s instructions? You’ll have to read the book to find out.
A very interesting story which is going to lead to other very interesting stories. I don’t thing the strings attached to Munroe are all that tight and I think he’ll eventually break free of them, but will he still be with Sophia and can they have a life together. More will come in book 3, “The Mercenary”, available on Amazon right now.