The hugely popular Starfist saga featuring Marines at war in outer space is the only military science fiction series written by real combat vets: David Sherman and Dan Cragg. Now comes the explosive hardcover debut of this series-packed with hell-torn action and blazing adventure. In their fiercest combat yet, the hard-charging Marines of 34th Fleet Initial Strike Team (FIST) have finally won their battle against a full-scale alien invasion of planet Kingdom. But victory over these savage enemies comes at a terrible price, especially for the Marines of Company L's decimated third platoon. The leader these men would follow into hell itself-Gunnery Sergeant Charlie Bass-was consumed in a fiery ambush that obliterated everything but his dog tags and a few scraps of DNA. On planet Kingdom, citizens try to return to some semblance of normalcy as the military conducts patrols to search out and destroy any remaining alien Skinks. The old government of squabbling religious leaders has been replaced by a ruthless new regime.
The ninth novel in Sherman and Cragg's classic military SF series (First to Fight, etc.), the strongest entry yet, has earned a well-deserved promotion to hardcover. In the 25th century, those in trouble can still call on the Marines. Having driven the alien Skinks off the planet Kingdom, the guys of the all-male 34th Fleet Initial Strike Team (FIST) are going back to base, to receive new people, promote old ones and restore their morale with beer, steak and willing women. Back on Kingdom, however, the dictatorship of Dominic de Tomas has turned into something frighteningly like the Third Reich. Part of this Nazi resemblance is tongue-in-cheek (e.g., the Leader has a fat sidekick, Senior Stormleader Herten Gorman), but the vividly described labor camps are anything but funny. And on a farm, a man with amnesia nicknamed "Military Operations" because he knows something about war is organizing the farmers to resist de Tomas and his thugs. As he recovers his memory, he realizes that the farmer's daughter is in love with him. The Leader's minions carrying off the daughter to be de Tomas's consort/love slave ensures non-stop action for the book's last third. The authors have avoided the implausible scenarios and interservice rivalries of some past volumes. This is state-of-the-art military SF. (Dec. 2) Forecast: Sherman is a Marine veteran of Vietnam, Cragg a retired Army sergeant. The politically correct may have trouble with the lack of female soldiers � la Honor Harrington, but the traditional male audience at which this is targeted will have no complaints. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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November 23, 2004
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Excerpt from Starfist: Lazarus Rising by Dan Cragg
The navigator on the Amphibious Landing Ship, Force, CNSS Grandar Bay, was very good at his job ' he jumped the starship out of Beamspace barely more than two days ' travel from the world called the Kingdom of Yahweh and His Saints and Their Apostles.
Those Marines who knew anything about the mechanics of the jump reasoned that the closer they were to Kingdom when they came out of Beamspace, the sooner they ' d get to somewhere they ' d rather be. And after the campaign the Marines of the 34th Fleet Initial Strike Team had just fought against the Skinks, the Marines were anxious to get back to Camp Ellis, their homeport on Thorsfinni ' s World ' despite the fact that the Marine Corps rated Thorsfinni ' s World a hardship post.
The stop at Kingdom was too brief for Marines or ship ' s crew to be granted shore liberty. Brigadier Sturgeon, commander of 34th FIST, and a few members of his staff made planetfall to report to Confederation Ambassador Jayben Spears and the leadership of Kingdom ' s ruling Ecumenical Council. Before lifting off again, Sturgeon took the time to share a glass of wine and a cigar with Spears.
' One more thing before I leave, Jay, ' Brigadier Sturgeon said when the wine and cigars were almost gone.
' Anything in my power, Ted. '
' I need to send a backchannel. Can you handle it for me '
' Of course. '
' Thank you, Jay. I haven ' t the words to tell you how important this message is to 34th FIST. ' He handed over a crystal. ' It ' s for Andy again. He ' ll get my official report, of course; that was dispatched via Navy drone from the Grandar Bay as soon as we reentered Space-3. ' He tapped the crystal. ' Go ahead and read it. '
Spears rose, went to his desk, and popped the crystal into his reader. He raised his eyebrows when he began reading. The headers on the message weren ' t in normal military format, but that of a personal letter. Spears looked up at the Marine commander. ' I hadn ' t realized how close you are to the assistant commandant. '