This is juvenile science fiction but makes a fun read for adults also. A chance to visit Mars as we wish it could be. Even with all we know about Mars today which makes this story more fantasy that it used to be the author still can carry you along with the story. He uses his ability to create realistic characters and place them in fictional backgrounds and then tell great stories in the world he has created.
There is no history to match that of the man who was not only there but planned and lived this critical part of Roman history. It helps you understand the logistics of these wars if you have a map of Gaul and France but it is entertaining, even without, to follow this outstanding general, politician and writer as he shapes the world we now live in.
The civilized world's experience with the Barbary Pirates shows a lesson that is often forgotten in today's international relations and should not be. You can't deal with criminals and terrorists except from a position of strength. Almost every war the U.S. as been drawn into has been following a period when we let our military strength drop. Only then do other countries feel enboldened to try to push us out of the way. This book shows the U.S. at both its worst and best as a leader of freedom and it all true history that has lessons to teach and that need to be remembered.
Heinlein's talent is to develop characters that are so believable that you really feel you know them and care what happens to them and then set them is a science fiction environment and watch them cope. The question here is, are humans tough enough and adaptable enough to survive a first contact with creatures who just don't care what happens to the human civilizations? So far,on this planet, we have crushed or killed any creatures that have offered us any competition. But, are there are other places and other winners who have shown the same drive to win?
Well written action and battle with nice character development. You not only are led to understand the motives of the Union soldiers but you also look through the eyes of some of the baddest bad guys you are likely to run into and see from their point of view what makes their actions logical and right by their culture. The humans have to win this one for there is no retreat. It is hard to believe there are worse things than to be dead on a U.S. civil war battle field or even to be a prisoner of war in some place like Andersonville or Point Lookout but on this world there are.
I enjoyed this story for its mystery, its characters and its ability to help me understand what life might have been like for the "real" people who lived at the very edge of their civilization. They were faced with the problems of dealing with the locals, superior officers, politics and everyday life. Not to mention murder.
If you have never met Nero Wolf and Archie Goodwin this is a good place to start. As all of Rex Stouts mysteries this is a fine tale with a chance to meet fun characters. After you get to know the main characters in this series you begin to enjoy the humor of the interplay between Wolf an Archie as these two incompatibles form an outstanding detective team. I recommend all Nero Wolf mysteries.
I am a Heinlein fan, particularly of all his earlier works - not so much his efforts after Stranger in a Strange Land. This book starts out as a fine story but gets a little lost in the middle and ends up feeling rather contrived. It seems to get to a point where the authors felt that there were enough pages so "let's just tie it all up". You might wish to listen to this story for a last chance to hear form this author.
This is an outstanding good tale with fine character development, well constructed story line, which blends science fiction, ecology and adventure. If you saw the rather bad Hollywood movie, or marginal T.V series,of this don't give up on this story. The book is a well crafted gem of adventure fiction. The "bad guys" are very bad and the good guys are following a dream of freedom that makes any effort well worth it.
The story is told in the fine old Heinlein style with believable characters set in several well thought out cultures. Follow Thorby through his escape from slavery and his rise through several Interesting cultures. This author is at his best when telling great stories about people he makes so believable you truly care about them.
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle spent so much of his time with Sherlock Holms he only wrote two books in this series (Sir Nigle & The White Company) This is a pity! This book takes you back to the Hundred Years War with characters and places which should add to your understanding of the period and your list of friends you have met in the pages of books. It is told with humor and scholarship and leave you wishing he had done many more.
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