Kenneth Chinran was a disaffected youth who joined the military and was recruited for an elite deep-cover unit, completely training and exercises so tough that several of the recruits did not survive. At the peak of his career, he was sent by his star nation to infiltrate a fascistic, militaristic planet: Earth.
He lived in deep cover for years, marrying and having a daughter. Then the Earth forces attacked his home system, and he and his team came out of hiding, attacking and destroying the infrastructure of the crowded planet, disabling transportation and communications and creating terror in city after city.
As a result of his attacks, billions died for lack of the food, water, and power, which the ravaged system could no longer supply. His sabotage was successful, but the deaths of so many weighed heavily on his mind, making him wonder if he was still sane. Then the secret police discovered his identity. With his daughter, the only thing in his life that had so far kept him human, he was on the run, while the resources of a planetwide police state were tracking him down. He could see no way to escape from the planet, and if he and his daughter were caught, death was the very least that they could expect.
But Chinran is a warrior in his soul, and even if he loses this last battle, he won't go down without a fight that his pursuers - the ones who survive - will never forget.
©2005 Michael Z. Williamson (P)2011 Audible, Inc.
Audible has opened up a whole new world of reading that I could not make work in the traditional page turning world. I am on a mission to listen to a wide variety of adventures, mysteries, thrillers, classics, etc. Thank you Audible!
This was just a fun book to listen to with the bonus of a creative plot, good character development and a storyline that enriches the experience. I found the author's amount of details provided about weapons, war strategy and politics to be just enough to make things feel real and draw me into the story, yet not too much to become overwhelming or boring. The military action was quite creative with Sci-Fi flare to ramp up the intensity, but not to the point that it became too far out of the realm of believability.
I really enjoyed the boot camp sections of the story, which seemed to follow the blueprint of an elite Nave Seal like experience, but with the futuristic twists and insanity to make it Sci-Fi. This is definitely a testosterone driven amusement ride of a book with the inclusion of some bad a** women tearing it up.
This is another example of where the provided synopsis is not indicative of the overall story. In this case, the description of a Freehold war with Earth comprises less than the final third of the audiobook. The first two thirds unfold in a diary fashion of a tale that describes our "hero's" military career from the earliest beginnings.
While hardly hardcore military sci-fi, the storytelling is superb and the listener is afforded a front row seat to the complete development of a seasoned and well trained special forces operative who can do it all if necessary. While the political overtones are kept to a minimum, there is sufficient explanation to appreciate the divergence between Earth and Freehold, although there is probably insufficient detail to understand how either societal organization has any long term viability.
At it's heart, the story is one of competing needs between an individual and his parent society and we are privy to that evolving struggle as the character develops. The diary-like conversational style of the performance is eminently suitable for the writing style and the listening is quite easy and inviting.
The story is just ok. You are not really drawn in. But my main problem with this book is the long diatribes espousing the authors political beliefs. I even generally agree with his beliefs but these constant rants got to me. They stop the story telling cold. For someone from the middle or the left of the political spectrum, they would be unbearable.
Best reviewed in three parts. The training I found engrossing, horrific and exciting. The middle part of the book I found unrelentingly violent to the point I nearly gave up. The final third was brilliant as well as horrific. The exageration of where this planet is headed made me laugh and cringe, but it could be real, one day, when I'm long gone I hope. The taking down of the UN tense, well thought out and then full of bloody violence (but in contect this time, I thought) then the prolonged escape had me on the whole gripped till the end. Not for the light hearted, but well worth the effort, in the end
Author of The Zochtil, Read by Nick Sullivan
I liked the story it seemed a lot like Robert Heinlein's Starship Troopers, which is one of my favorite books. However I had a lot of issues with this book.
Blood and Gore:
There is blood and gore in every battle scene. I don't mind it that much, but this wasn't PG-13 gore this was R gore, and I couldn't stomach it.
I love military sci-fi which means there is going to be swearing, who ever heard of a sailor who didn't swear. However, I can't stand it if there is an f-word every other sentence.
The other thing I didn't like is that some sort of sexual encounter in every other chapter. It was never narrated, but it was talked about in detail.
Overall I would stick to Starship Troopers. Not recommended for anyone under 16.
The description of training, and how the main characters weren't at all prudish about sex or nudity.
It was about what I expected. When I found out that the _Rogue_ follows right after this one, I downloaded it.
The first two thirds of the book were excellent. I didn't always agree with the protagonist's politics, but he wasn't particularly dogmatic...until he gets to Earth and everything between that and the thing that would be a major spoiler is like a Glenn Beck fever dream of right-wing BS. Though I was impressed with the protagonist respecting Denny's wishes in the other thing that would be a spoiler.
It is a pretty simple story. It has it's moments. Overall it was just OK.
This is my first Williamson book.
Fit the part.
No, I think it may have one but I don't think it needs one. The story wasn't that compelling.
The story is decent military science fiction but with a steadily thickening paste of right wing political theory that pulls the story down. I have no problem with an author who puts some political views into a book and it can add to a story. Views that I don't agree with are fine because it creates an interesting perspective. The problem here is that Williamson keeps harping more and more about the politics as the book goes on. By part way through the second half fully half of the material is political (corporations unchecked and untaxed are the best thing for society and would never destroy a world for higher profit, everyone owning a gun makes life safer, etc). As I said in small doses (see Starship Troopers) this can add to a story by adding flavor to the universe, this isn't a small dose.
All of that said, the story is fun if you can ignore the politics. I came to this book with low expectations figuring it was the type of book that would be titled "The Weapon" which would include lots of text about how bad ass the main character was and that wasn't going to be deep. If fulfilled expectations and has been entertaining, it was well worth the sale price I paid for it, I just wish I didn't have to slog through the political drivel (I am such sheeple, I believe that since the murder rates are lower where the number of guns are fewer that it is safer to have fewer guns around...).
I have a long history of loving pulpy sci-fi books (Ringo, Webber and the like) as well as the classics Heinlein, Asimov and the modern semi-serious toned Richard Morgan (Altered Carbon books) and Peter Hamilton (Commonwealth Saga).
That said - Williamson in my opinion is a sub-par writer. Perhaps it was just me but it was very hard to slog through a book where the main character adds some sort of personal societal comment to *every* single action they do. At first it seemed like this was some intro to the character's thought process but midway through the book he steps foot on Earth it turned into "What does Mike Williamson REALLY think about life on this planet." Well, I guess since it's the "future" this really isn't "Earth today" (wink, wink). Some highlights:
-All people except the main characters are sheeple who love to watch 'vids' all day long.
-If your society is bombed all to hell by an external attack that is the perfect time to overthrow that pesky controlling government you have been "sheeping" under.
-Everyone on this new Earth is fat, lazy, soft or all three. Everyone! There are NO exceptions.
-At one point the main character is bitten by a flea only to launch into a internal monologue about how any one who likes bloodsucker/vampire movies should be clocked with a club. Really?!?!!? This guy has no moderate opinions on anything.
It goes on and on. Flat dimensionless characters doing predictable actions. The main character (likely Williamson's alter-ego) goes on at great lengths with his opinions and reasoning behind every single action - TREMENDOUSLY BORING! I don't want or need to know every thought behind the main characters motivation. I don't recall Han Solo, Indiana Jones, Aragorn or hundreds of other classic heroes droning on and on about their cleverness.
If you got this far - thank you. I may have a minority opinion here but the book commits the final deadly sin of just being badly written (reads like a grocery list) and panders to a low intellect (you are rarely allowed to discover a character's ingenuity as much as that character will TELL you how smart they are).
This was a fantastic read, and one that I was sorry to have to finish. Having read the reviews I knew the major plot line of the book and anticipated it it through the first two thirds of the book. However, it's one of those stories where the journey to the climax is as enjoyable as the climax itself.
The details of the main character's training is an important component of the book, otherwise you'd end up with a seemingly unreasonable super-soldier appearing to defeat his enemies with ease. But after living through both his training and experiences, you are in a much better position to understand his performance in the latter third of the book.
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