Tensions erupt between the Confederation and several frontier worlds when civilians are shot dead at an army base on the planet Ravenette. Enraged, the Ravenette government and nine neighboring planets form a coalition, and their first act of secession is to overrun Ravenette’s Confederation garrison. With the armed forces of ten worlds seizing the brutal upper hand, the embattled troops need help–now–and they need it bad.
Enter the Marines of the 34th FIST. As the nearest ready-to-deploy unit, the team is sent to Ravenette with orders to hold the line until reinforcements arrive. The upcoming operation promises to be no picnic, for while sophisticates may ridicule the backward ways of the uncouth frontier folk, no one scoffs at their fighting ability.
Charlie Bass doesn’t mince words for his men in Company L’s third platoon. Two army divisions–perhaps thirty thousand soldiers–are being overwhelmed, and somebody expects a thousand Marines to save the day. As pompous Confederation generals wreak even more havoc than the enemy, there are those who call the mission suicide . . . but not the Marines.
Of course it sounds hopeless, but for Marines like Charlie Bass and the rest of the 34th FIST, accomplishing the impossible comes with the territory.
This book was definitely the weakest in the Starfist series so far. Actually it was quite a disappointment as far as I am concerned. My main complaint is that there is really not enough of 34th FIST and a whole lot of political bullshitting instead. A god chunk of the book, especially the first half, is dedicated to talking, political maneuvering and manipulation and such like nonsense and, as a result, it is really boring as far as I am concerned. Even when the 34th FIST gets involved the reading is tainted by the fact that an unbelievable incompetent and stupid general, who has become general by means of political manipulation and not on merit, comes barging in and screws everyone, naturally at the cost of peoples’ lives.
The action on those pages that actually involves the well-known characters from the 34th FIST are written to the same high standards as we are used to from David Sherman & Co but there are just too few of those pages for the book to be enjoyable.
I’m going to keep this a short review and not drone on about it because I really did not appreciate this book in the Starfist series.