What an outstanding book! This was just great! I’ve always wanted to read a military science fiction book where humans could actually fight aliens and beat the ever-loving stuffings out of them. This book fills that want to a tee! Of course it’s going to be hard for a lot of readers to associate themselves with a 300 lb. main character/hero, but that is what we get in Jim Cartwright. He’s the Son of Thaddeus and Elizabeth Cartwright and was due to inherit the company when his parents past. Well, his Dad had done so on a mission while Jim was going to college and learning about computers. Jim wasn’t much into the mercenary life since he also wasn’t much into athletics.
In fact, that was the reason for his current condition of his body. He was plain and simply fat! He had been fat most of his life and had done nothing to really change that condition. So he study a lot and ate a lot of pizzas while in college. This didn’t really go well with the current situation on his home planet of Earth. Having found out there is a far bigger galaxy out there than anyone thought, Earth had to find something that would make it relevant to other alien societies. If not Earth would be come a backwards poor world that would be ignored by the galactic community. Trading was what drove world economies. If you didn’t have something worth trading, they you definitely got ignored. Oh, these other aliens civilizations which were further along in technology than Earth would eventually buy up all of Earth valuable mineral resources until nothing was left. So, the Earth found out that it could co-exist in this new galactic community by providing very competitive mercenaries to fight for whomever provided the most profit.
Earth’s mercenary companies had now been around for centuries. Jim’s grandfather six-times removed , James “Jimmy” Cartwright, had been the founder of one of the first one hundred contracts signed by Earth’s off-world mercenary companies. Of those one hundred original contracts only four survived to present day. Those four mercenary companies became known as the “Four Horsemen” and were somewhat revered by others in the business. That was until Elizabeth Cartwright-Kennedy, Jim’s mother, became CFO of the Cartwright Cavaliers upon Thaddeus’ death. She was a self-centered idiot who quickly drove the Cartwright Cavaliers into bankruptcy. That was what Jim finally inherited when the court orders bankruptcy hearing began and they couldn’t find his mother anywhere.
Jim sat in court and listened to all the creditor tell the Judge about all the dealings that his mother had made and then didn’t pay when the bills came due. It wasn’t clear where the money had went, but other than assets that she hadn’t sold off, there was nothing left to pay the debts. So, the creditors got what was left. Anything and everything was sold. All the equipment, armor, weapons, buildings, warehouses, everything that contained Cartwright Cavaliers assets were sold and it still wasn’t enough. The Judge did live Jim his small personal bank account and the company name, but for all practical purposes, Cartwright’s Cavaliers was done.
Then another, very small, lawyer showed up at Jim’s small apartment one day. He’d had enough of lawyers and certainly enough pizza, but they both had a proclivity in finding him. But, this lawyer was something else. He represented the Cartwright Historical Association. It was an independent trust set up by James Eugene Cartwright, Sr. This trust was established to maintain historical artifacts of war that the Smithsonian wasn’t really interested in. Part of this trust included the Four Horsemen Museum, including all assets and grounds. As the remaining heir, this now belonged to Jim Cartwright.
So here is where the story takes off. You won’t believe what the “museum” contains and how it’s been maintained right at the former Houston, TX airport. This gets into the exciting part of the book where we see how a very fat, no confidence kid inherits a lot of war-fighting assets and then what he does with them. He’s going to meet with Ezekiel Hargrave and get the grand tour. Hargrave has been restoring and maintaining the mechanical parts of the museum as much as he can awaiting until the next Cartwright came in to take over as Director of the Museum. That was now Jim’s position. And yes, Hargrave first told Jim that he was kind of fat for a mercenary.
So, that’s how this starts, but it certainly doesn’t end. This is a fascinating story about a young man who needs some confidence and to be accepted. But, can he really fit himself into this mold of a tough, hard-charging mercenary like his father and all the grandfathers before him. Well read the story to find out. It’s just a great story.
I think the next book in this series deals with each of the Four Horsemen mercenary companies. That’s ok, but I’d certainly like to read more about the Cartwright Cavaliers. Still the next book, “Asbaran Solutions” is available on Amazon and now on my reading list.