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“Imperial Marine”


Imperial Marine

To be honest, I have avoided reading books by James David Victor since the first series I read from him had a seemingly very cowardly Marine. Oh, I did read his “Outcast Marines” series and that was pretty good, so I thought I’d give him another chance with this series. Now, I’m not so sure about this one.

First off it starts kind of confusing. I believe we’re in the very, very far future and our main character is named Keel Hennity. He’s a little bit of a spoiled dude although he is fighting in the gladiator pits on the planet Dracis. It’s an Imperial Planet in the region known as the Outer Systems in the Empire of Mikhael Solas the XIII. Keel has done very well in the pits. He’s been trained from birth by the very finest fighters. A big reason for that is because his father is Governor of Dracis and a very wealthy man. Except he doesn’t approve of Keel’s participation in the gladiatorial pits.

Keel doesn’t care what he’s Dan likes or dislikes. That’s typical of his attitude. But, after his last battle, which he won hardly, his father has summoned him to his office. Here he’s telling Keel about his next assignment. Keels not in the military so he doesn’t know where this “assignment” thing is coming from, but it turns out to be something his father has come up with to protect Keel from the Emperor. See, Keel just defeated the Emperor’s most favorite gladiator. So, the Governor has determined that Keel needs to somewhat go into hiding for a while.

He’s being assigned to the Dragon Vault! Ok, now to explain this. There apparently is some kind of dragon, yes a real live dragon, that’s can fly through space and bring destruction upon any planet it visits. They are hard if not impossible to kill. Three hundred years ago these dragon appeared and nearly wiped out humanity. Their origin was traced back to Dracis! Yeah, Keels home planet. Now the remaining dragon had been placed in some kind of stasis deep within a huge vault located on Dracis. Dracians were responsible for keeping theme there at all costs. Now, it was going to become Keels responsibility to live in the Vault and live with these humoungously large dragons. And there were thousands of them in this vault.

So, of course, Keel isn’t happy with this tasking. He has no idea what he’s going to actually be doing, but he has been told that if the Emperor so chooses, Keel could be drafted into the Imperial Marines and sent to fight at some distant planet for whatever reason the Emperor desired. This Keel didn’t want any part of. So, he goes to the Vault and gets shown the dragons hanging from the ceiling of this vast expanse of an underground facility. They appeared to be sleeping, but as Keel is watching one huge eyeball stare at him, it blinks! That’s not supposed to happen. These dragons are not in stasis and are very much alive and ready to leave the Vault.

Keel is dead! He’s been dead for almost six years while the Empire had to fight to exterminate the Dragons once again. His planet of Dracis was totally destroyed and of course everyone he had ever know is dead. But now he wakes up in a metal body and will soon begin his training as an Imperial Marine, a human consciousness in a mechanical body, a warfighting robot! Now what is he going to do?

So, this first book isn’t that bad at all. It’s kind of strange. I don’t usually like to read fantasy science fiction books with dragons and such, but this one seems to be starting OK. It is a short book, surprisingly short, but it is a start. More will come in book 2, “Fire Brigade”. It also appears this is a three-book series, but the third book, “Star Dragon” has yet to be published.

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