Howdy, y'all! Gather around for a tale as big as the Milky Way, a yarn spun by B.V. Larson that'll take you from the backwoods of Earth to Steel World, where humans must combat dinosaur-looking aliens. Part one of the "Undying Mercenaries" series has one of the most interesting premises I’ve ever read.
In the not-so-distant future, Earth gets a knock on its door, and who's there? The Galactics, that's who. Instead of a “Hi, how you doing?” they bring a battle fleet in 2052, and what do we do? Swear allegiance and start peddling our services like a cosmic swap meet. Enter James McGill, born on the fringe in 2099, ready to trade his blood, sweat, and tears for a few credits.
During his first campaign off-world as part of Earth’s Legion, he is part of the invasion of a mineral-rich rock they call Cancri-9, or Steel World for short. Things don't go as smoothly as sweet tea on a summer porch, and now Earth's forces are in a serious battle for survival. They brought in humanity's most rough and tumble mercenary legion, locked and loaded for battle. McGill brings his own variety of morality and ethics to the table, bending rules and doing whatever it takes to keep the legion alive–well, sort of. There is a reason Larson called it the “Undying Mercenaries” series.
QUITE A CHARACTER
James McGill, our everyday guy from the Georgia swamps, is a gritty character who is more resilient than steel. His journey from Earth to the stars is a unique one, brought on by a need to get off world and make some coin. He reminds me of a cross between Han Solo and Jack Reacher but with a southern spin. Larson crafts McGill as a unique and engaging character with a penchant for getting in and out of trouble.
Larson is a storyteller with fun and odd characters. He doesn’t use flashy words or clean prose to paint his picture. He tells it how it is, or at least how McGill sees it. The concept of Earth as the galaxy's hired help is straightforward, but his implementation of how the legion keeps getting resurrected is a game changer.
It's so good I'm thinking of starting the whole series over again.
Q1: Is this a stand-alone book, or do I need to read the whole series?
A: "Steel World" stands tall on its own, but I suggest at least four books to get the most enjoyment out of it. After that, the story is entertaining but gets a little formulaic.
Q2: How much sci-fi jargon am I dealing with here?
A: Not much. Larson keeps it down-to-earth, even when the setting is on a distant planet.
Q3: Is this a shoot-'em-up or a contemplative space journey?
A: It’s a straight-up action adventure, but with unique twists that are only possible because of his premise, which makes you think.
Q4: Can I recommend this to my cousin who isn’t into Sci-Fi?
A: That depends if your cousin is open to an unpolished world filled with flawed characters and plenty of fighting. Meaning, if they’re cool, they’ll like it.
Q5: What's the verdict for fans of sci-fi?
A: "Steel World" kicks some serious alien behind.
As always, I appreciate your support of self-publishing and indie authors. In the name of putting myself out there, here are a few of my works.