Rating:

4 Small Stars
The Black Guard
834

Does anybody know what “inviolable” means? I certainly don’t and you don’t find it defined in the book. So, disregard that part of the title and know that this book is about the Black Guard, or Major Keegan Hawke. It’s also about a mashed together combat team of Humans and Horaxians that have been ordered to do, eventually, two things.

The first task for the combat team is to find and recover Major Keegan Hawke, if he’s still alive. Humans and Horaxians have been at war for over 38 years with neither side doing much but destroying the others potential to exist. Earth was decaying due to over population and it’s colonies were almost just as depleted due to the war. Horaxia Prime, home world of the Horaxians wasn’t much better off, although with their socialist regime, the upper class royalty lived pretty well when compare to other Horaxians or Humans. But, the war had ended and it’s end was caused by none other than Major Hawke, The Black Guard.

His method of ending the war was brutal and both sides hoped that he had died in the effort. He did not, some how, but when he did emerge, he was sentences to life imprisonment in The Abyss on Kemeta, a Horaxian planet know for it’s almost unlivable conditions. Kemeta had been almost destroyed when a nuclear device was detonated deep underground in the network the Kemetan’s had used for survivability. While the bomb didn’t destroy the planet, The Abyss was created and it was a very highly radioactive tomb for anyone sentenced there. For the last 15 years, The Abyss has been the home of one Major Keegan Hawke. Could he possibly be still alive?

His “rescue” was the last gasp effort of both the Humans and Horaxians. For as terrible as their war against each other had been, they both had a new and much deadlier enemy, “The Horde”! No one really knows where the Horde comes from, but they know that it is killing every single Human and Horaxian. Both civilization will soon be destroyed if the Horde isn’t stopped. As hard as it is for them to agree on anything, the Humans and Horaxians believe that The Black Guard is the only way they have to save their civilizations. This is the second task of the Human and Horaxian team. They and the Black Guard must go on a one-way mission that will possibly rid the galaxy of the Horde, the Black Guard and, mostly likely, the entire team. But, what will it cost and what if he and they fail?

The story is very exciting. I like the concept. It’s a little preposterous that such a person as Major Hawke exists. I don’t believe he’s been genetically altered although that’s not clearly stated. It is certain that the humans who have to rescue him and then accompany him on the second part of the mission are definitely not super-human or anything close to it. In fact, one member of the team is a borderline coward! The Horaxians are physically stronger than Humans and they have some advanced technology as well as the will to continue fighting which seems to have left mankind. It’s interesting the way the author has the two groups bickering at each other and just on the edge of fighting when someone in the group calms everyone down.

The only problem with the story is that the Horaxians do not speak fluent English since they have their own language. I believe the author also doesn’t have a native command of English in that a lot of his passages are missing small words here and there that make the sentence sound strange. This is done throughout the book. You’ll be reading a paragraph where a Horaxian is speaking in halting English and then the same kind of writing is used for the rest of that page or even a human in the same conversation. Some sentences just don’t make sense. But, it’s not overly distracting and you can enjoy the book no matter what.

I hope their is a sequel. Even though a lot of people got killed off, there is enough mystery left to continue in another book. I think the author would do wise to just title the next book, “The Black Guard – Part II” and leave off the big words no one understands.

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