Soldiers from varying eras and vastly different backgrounds, including the IX Legion of Rome, are snatched away from Earth at the moment of their passing and transported to the far side of the galaxy. Thinking they have been granted a reprieve, their relief turns to horror when they discover they face a stark ultimatum: Fight or die.
©2015 Perseid Press (P)2016 Perseid Press
Although I am a "visual" person and therefore like to run my eyes over a printed page, many listeners may find the audio version of The IX, narrated by young British Shakespearean actor Rob Goll, to be even more fun than the print version. Goll handles an ensemble cast of characters deftly, using multiple accents and timbres to keep the speakers distinct. I enjoyed the version of the story told in this audiobook, written by Andrew P. Weston, a military/ security professional, particularly well because the narrator kept the disciplined tone of warriors and diplomats facing crisis and never let the tale descend into melodrama. For this blend of historical fantasy and science fiction, where the fantastic and the human stand cheek to jowl, the narrator's approach worked particularly well.
If Weston's The IX reminds me of anything it's the immortal Janissaries by Jerry Pournelle, with a pinch of H.G. Wells's War of the Worlds thrown in for good measure.
Goll brought his fluid voicings and multiple accents, sometimes making himself sound like a group or a crowd, and sometimes achieving intimacy, even rendering short songs sung by small groups, tunes and all.
I tried to listen in one sitting, but this is a long audiobook. I found myself being torn away by real life, though, because I would turn on the audiobook at the slightest opportunity until I had heard the very last word.
If you love science fiction, space opera, combat stories told by military professionals, plus flights of colorful literary fancy, you'll love this story. Veterans particularly will recognize themselves and their friends in the ensemble cast. So hear it soon, as an antidote to today's troubles, or for the pure pleasure of a brave story told with bold experimentation that really works.
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