Humanity's last encounter with aliens saw 16.2 billion people killed in a war with the Merkiaari that had spanned decades.
Two hundred years later, the Alliance is cautiously exploring beyond its borders again, but the survey corp is considered a mere gesture by some. General Burgton of the 501st Infantry Regiment believes a lack of expansion is leading the Alliance into stagnation. So when one small ship discovers a new alien race, it should be an easy decision to make contact, but what if the aliens are like the Merkiaari?
Captain Jeff Colgan of the survey ship ASN Canada is at the tip of the spear. His ship made the discovery, his crew's lives are on the line, and his decisions will decide the outcome. Will the Alliance make new friends or will he be responsible for another 16 billion deaths? When the aliens discover his ship and begin hunting him through their system, his mission changes from one of study to one of survival.
©2012 Mark E. Cooper (P)2014 Mark E. Cooper
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When you start reading “Hard Duty: The Merkiaari Wars, 1” you know you are in for a large and complex story over many light years of travel, across various planets and alien races. The human race has learned the hard way that the murderous Merkiaari are out to exterminate them. After many lengthy and devastating battles, the humans have pushed the enemy out, but not defeated them. Humanity is now cautious and wary about aliens, hiding their many planets through cloaked communications and other means. So when they discover the Shan, a newly discovered alien race with limited space capability, the human explores are unsure whether to warn them about the Merkiaari or simply stay hidden and let fate run its course.
The Shan are a feline alien race which Mark Cooper develops well. He creates interesting characters that the reader will identify with and care about. The Merkiaari on the other hand are not described much at all, just blood thirsty aliens with an unknown agenda. Without listening to the sequels, it is hard to say how this will develop, but by the quality of the story, it should be worked out to the reader’s satisfaction eventually.
This is a solid listen, good characters, and mostly good hard sci-fi. The exception is a long section about making the ship’s voice recognition device small enough to be portable. Really? You mean in 500 years no one will improve on my already outdated iPhone. On the other hand there are lots of cool tech ideas like anti-gravity, nanotech, plasma rifles, etc.
The narration is excellent. Mikael Naramore has narrated dozens of sci-fi novels and is a true pro. He puts some cool sound effects in when one of the characters is listening to his own computer voice. You know who is who, but Mikael doesn’t overdo it. As close to perfect as narration can get.
Hard Duty is good space opera that will keep Scifi fans entertained for many hours. Well worth listening to.
Audiobook provided for review by the author.
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Finding out what a Viper can really do. They are uber bad ass
Gunnery Sargent Gina because she was the most human thus the most relatable
I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review
Hard Duty is a great book, and makes for an excellent audiobook version as well. Mikael Narramore is perfectly cast as the narrator for this series' main character. The performance draws you in immediately, and holds your attention hard and fast. In regards to the story itself, it's choked full of intricate and colorful detail that never feels boring or overwhelming, as well as action and intrigue to spare. Overall I would absolutely recommend this version of Hard Duty, and I myself will be looking forward to enjoying the rest of the series.
I received a review copy from the author for an unbiased review.
I'd been looking for a new sci-fi series to get stuck into and I believe I've found it in the Merkiaari Wars series by Mark E. Cooper. The action and build up was great, kept me listening long after I had intended to take a break, I wanted to hear what would happen next, especially when humanity discovered and observed a new alien race. There were times where I felt the female characters all had the same character, although this could have been done to the male narrator's voicing of them! Enjoyed this first book so much when I was just over half way through it I went and ordered the second in the series!
Did you know you can put in a set of Ear-Buds, slap your Hearing Protectors over them, and Mow the lawn, Weed-Eat, etc, without your book being drowned out by engine noise? OR, you can just let the horses in the yard, and THEY'LL mow and weedeat (literally) FOR YOU!
Up front, no mind-twisting serious depth here, and many plot and execution flaws... but somehow it kept me smiling and listening. I hate to say I keep thinking of it as "Young/Juvenile Science Fiction", but that's how it feels to me. Part of me wants to say "Shallow", but a bigger part enjoyed it. I've bought Book 2, So I guess buying the next book in the series is proof that there is enough here to keep me listening, while hoping the story line matures.
I received a review copy from the author for an unbiased review.
It's been a while since I read a 'hard sci-fi' book, and I must say it was a pleasant break from all the YA Dystopian I've listened to lately. The narration was top-notch, the characters were interesting, and the whole set-up reminded me a bit of Star Trek (which I'm a huge fan of): an exploration ship that will go where no-one has gone before. If you like classic sci-fi and lots of action and excitement, definitely pick this one up. It's the beginning of an entire series, by the way :)
End of the world and Sci Fi are my favorites with a lot of historical fiction added in
The characters are shallow. The author seems to almost use the text from previous sections to describe the current scene. The sentence structure rarely exceeds six words. The story was filled with cultural anachronisms that could never fit with an alien race.
The story served its purpose. It moved along enjoy to allow me to mindless follow along on my commute to work. The author in the first few chapters switches back and forth between two set of characters on different worlds. He then spends nearly 20 chapters on one set and we are left wondering what happened to the others. He should have switched back occasionally to keep the other characters as part of the story telling.
Yes, I am going to read the next book in the series. A mindless book filled with ridiculous inconsistencies is ok occasionally.
I'm a long haul truck driver that fills my drive time with listening to audio books and reviewing them.
The characters are very likeable and portrayed in a very believable manner. I look forward to the rest of this series.
The story here really had be captivated. I really enjoy having a series of books to listen too. I will definitely look for more from this author!
I would definitely recommend this story to anyone who loves science fiction. It is well crafted so you can get a feel for the alien culture.
When the Merkiaari landed on the Shan homeworld, bent on destroying it and a humble agricultural scientist becomes something more than she knew she was capable of becoming.
I love the Shan characters. All of them.
Yes. And when it ended, I yelled "noooooo!" Because it was over.
I can't wait to get the next one in the series.
"Gripping and exciting!"
Definitely. Mark E Cooper has written a book that is both believable for humanity's future but also has that sparkle of science fiction that we all crave for. As the story progressed I found myself drawn in and felt almost like a part of the crew hoping that the mission would be successful and Mikael Naramore does such a wonderful job bringing life to the characters that I'm now champing at the bit to see how the story continues in the second book.
Most of my previous science fiction reading has been limited to more battle focused series and this has been a wonderful change of pace for me that I don't honestly think I can compare it to my previous experience.
James grew to be my favourite as the story progressed but Captain Colgan was a firm favourite from start to finish as well. Where James developed into himself and found purpose as his story progressed Jeff Colgan exuded calm confidence and reliability mixed with a compassionate side and a need to get the job done.
Without wanting to post a spoiler(so no names) but the death of a father is always hard especially when he is tring to stay calm for the sake of a young child.
A superlative story well written and delivered I would recommend this book to everyone who wants to escape into the stars and meet new races :)
"Weak storyline with wooden characters"
Youngsters starting out on SciFi?
Something more mature and accomplished.
Disjointed even from part of a saga.
More Hard Work than Hard Duty...
"Exciting story, with interesting characters."
One of the top. Its never boring, the story moves along at a great pace. The battles are exciting, the baddies are suitably evil and the story universe is excellent. All the characters make reasonable decisions. I've read several stories recently where somebody does something completely out of character, where its a plot device just to put themselves in danger. For a pleasant change, I never found myself saying "nobody is that stupid" while listening.
Very much like a good Star Trek story arc. With plenty of battles and no holodeck.
James. I thought he was going to be annoying at first, but he turned out to be rather cool.
He made the story very exciting at the right moments, I found myself holding my breath while waiting to find out what happened next. Also, the computer and faulty translator voices were done well, it added to the story.
Great listen, looking forward to the next one.
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