It may be the twenty-fifth century, but the Marines are still looking for a few good men.
The Confederation has finally disclosed the existence of Skinks, fierce aliens bent on wiping out humankind. While the rest of the universe grapples with the news, the Skink-savvy Marines of the Confederation’s Thirty-fourth Fleet Initial Strike Team (FIST) have their own worries: they’ve just learned they can’t transfer out of the unit. Who else has the skills to fight the Skinks on their home turf when the time comes?
Morale isn’t improved by a report of Skinks on the uncolonized world of Ishtar—which means that FIST must turn around and head right back into the jaws of hell with no downtime. But none of that matters to Lieutenant Charlie Bass and the third platoon of Company L. They’re Marines, they’re the best, and they’ve got a job to do.
This is the last book published in the Starfirst series. Although this book is slightly better than the previous one I cannot say that I am too devastated that the series has come to an end. Actually coming to an end is not really the right expression to use. This is not the end of the actual story but rather, according to the author, the end due to the fact that the publisher pulled the plug on the series. My biggest regret is that now we will never arrive at any conclusion to the Skink issue. Then, at the slow pace the author was advancing that story arc we might never have gotten there anyway.
As for the book itself. It was somewhat better than the previous one. Although the story uses references to the Skinks to heighten the suspension somewhat in the beginning it is not really about the skinks. This book is simply a separate adventure more of the another-day-in-the-marines type. It goes back somewhat to the first books in the series where every book was just a completed free-standing episode.
Unlike some of the previous installments this book is refreshingly devoid of politics. It is primarily the FIST against a corrupt and criminal corporation spiced up with a new alien race found to be sentient. It is a fairly simple story without any major surprises. The marines go in, kick butt and round up the bad guys. Enjoyable read but nothing to jump up and down about.