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“Losing Ground”


Losing Ground

This series and this book is unusual for a John Walker novel. It has multiple story-lines all going who knows where. He usually writes with one objective/mission in mind and you can follow that single story-line pretty easily. Not so in this book. It’s not a hard book to read, you just have to get used to switching characters with every chapter.

I think our main character started out to be Sam Levine. He was a freelance worker doing whatever he could get hired to do. Most of the work he did was pretty respectable, but then his temper got the best of him and he was fired. He has done some shady things, with his last gig the one that got him in the most trouble. He broke into Security Corps HQ and supposedly stole an encryption device. He then turned it over to one of the minor bosses of the crime family known as Constance. All was going well when they paid him a large sum, enough to get his identity change for good. The reason he had to do this was because the device he sold to the crime boss was bogus!

So, Sam Levine arranges to me up with a guy, a scientist, who says he can switch you with another person as long as both of you are similar in appearance. Sam has no idea why someone would want to become him and he doesn’t really care whose body he takes over as long as Security Corps nor the Constance organization can find him. Here’s where Aldo Cassidy comes in. He’s a wealthy guy that has a lot going for him except he’s been drafted. He figures that the military isn’t going to be compatible with his life-style so he needs to find a way to avoid military service. Sam Levine’s scientist makes the switch. Sam becomes Aldo and Aldo becomes Sam. Got all that?

Now enters Justiciar Caden Raines. He’s the guy that is trying to track down Sam for the crime of breaking into Security Corps HQ. Nobody is supposed to do that and nobody is certainly not supposed to get away with it. Justiciar Raines needs to find Sam and get put him in jail ASAP. Except Aldo who is now Sam, doesn’t know that he committed any kind of crime. In fact, he doesn’t know anything about Sam’s life other than it wasn’t going to be drafted. Pretty stupid if you ask me. Now Aldo/Sam is a poor dirt-bag barely scrapping a living while also trying not be capture by the law. Meanwhile, Sam/Aldo has been drafted and because of his supposed education is now a Lieutenant. He’s also been assigned a special operations squad that has the mission to rescue some nobles that are trying to arrange for a treaty with the Talmar, the on-again, off-again enemy of humanity.

Yeah, I said this book and this series was strange with all this stuff going on. And to top it off, there are more story-lines going on that even make the book that much harder to follow if you’re really not in to it. It seems like the daughter of one of the senior advisors to the Board of Directors has gotten herself kidnapped by a rebel group of nobles. See, the Board of Directors run humanity from the background while the nobles, including the King and Queen, are seen as the rulers of humanity. They are their nobility are just really figure-heads with the BoD making all the decisions. Most of these decisions are based on how much profit they can make and not necessarily whether it will be for the good of humanity.

As mentioned, humanity has fought several minor wars with the Talmar. These are a humanoid race of aliens that fight wars over resources just like humanity. Now there appears to be another alien race called the Gorlan who fight just to kill people and planets. They don’t take hostages or prisoners, don’t want you planet or cities, they just want every living thing to be dead. They also don’t communicate with anyone as far as humanity has determined. They are truly alien based on cloning and genetic engineering. They are built for war.

The BoD seems oblivious to the coming Gorlan threat, but the nobility, or at least some of them have recognized that humanity can’t stand against the Gorlan without some allies. So they are clandestinely trying to arrange for a treaty between the Talmar and Human Empire so both can face the Gorlan threat. Aldo/Sam is right in the middle of this mess since he’s now serving in the military and he has no idea what he’s doing. See, Sam has never had any military training whatsoever. I wonder how long he can last? Meanwhile, Aldo is flat broke and has no where to turn. He might be dead quicker than if he’d joined the military!

While this is a confusing series, I’m going to have to follow it through since it is so interesting. Mr. Walker does keep the story-lines pretty well defined by chapter so it’s not that hard to follow what’s going on, mostly. Book 3, “Low Games”, is already available on Amazon.

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