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Publisher's Summary

Earth is in turmoil.

The enemy is bearing down on us with every warship they have, and our only allies are in chaos.

Our one hope for survival is Andy Clanton - a hack science fiction writer trying to convince some aliens that humans are worth saving.

It’s an uphill battle, because to the aliens, we are the monsters. We look just like their sworn enemies, the Tevynians, who’ve sworn to wipe out both our civilizations.

When everything falls apart and the fate of the galaxy is on the line, can Andy Clanton pull our fat out of the fire?

He’s outnumbered, outgunned, and in way over his head.

But what else is new?

©2021 Rick Partlow (P)2021 Pramantha Publishing

What listeners say about Return Fire

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great series.

My only complaint is that I would prefer an actual female to narrate the female characters.

1 person found this helpful

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Really great new series

This is my first Rick Partlow series and it is really good. For me, a good measure for how a writer develops characters is realized when one is killed off. As weird as it may sound I find if I am genuinely upset or pissed off at the loss of a fictional individual, even secondary characters, I know the author has truly hooked me. Partlow does a great job in this and the previous two books to build a believable universe and dynamic characters. I am interested to see where he takes the series.

Scott Aiello is a better than average narrator and does a good job with the series. I think sometime his accents or chose of voices can be a bit cartoon like, but he understands the pacing and knows how to bring the authors story to life. I really wish he would have chosen a different voice/accent for Julie Nieves though, the accent he uses for her is a bit silly considering she is supposed to be super BA. Although, this a minor complaint and it does not distract from the overall story.

1 person found this helpful

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Another great read!

Another great read. The series was so good I'm going to start to re-listen to all three books again..

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Outstanding series!

The writing is great, the plot works, and the narration is among the best I've ever heard. The Drop Trooper series is also exceptional.

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Its the Details

All 3 books are great. It doesn't have that video game plot. This was written by someone who has vast military experience. But I was certain the author was Army, not Marines. The Marine language was almost perfect, I'll give him a 9.9 out of 10. Bulkhead, overhead, deck, ladder well, etc.. Being a Marine I also understand inter service rivalries and criticism of another services language, all in good jest though. I have trained with the 75th Rangers, and they are 9.9 spot on. Julie being a "Jet Jockey" was very good. But Oliverra was almost correct. We Marines, Navy, and Army all know they can't lead, let alone be in charge of a star ship. And that critique is based on one irrefutable fact; Air Force officers will not serve if there is no Officers Club. This how you construct an Air Force base. Next is a golf course. We, the other branches all know this; the order of construction of an Air Force base happens in this sequence. 1st build an O'club. Then a golf course. Next is build housing and barracks. Then a commissary and Exchange. And if there's any money left, build the air field. No Offense. Just good fun. Anyway I'd recommend this book to anyone who wants a serious SciFi book.

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Must Listen Series of 2021!!!

Andy Clanton and the crew return in Book 3 of the Earth at War Series, but the team is not Interstellar at the start, having to deal with more Earth bound issues relating to the theft of ‘The Ship’ as it has become known in higher circles (given it has no name). At the end of Book 2, a conglomerate of Russian and Chinese Mercenaries stole the second Cruiser being developed by the Helta and US forces over Earth, and it is now up to Andy and his team, to not only locate who took it, but where it is before the Helta realise that it is missing, and Earth is not as united as everyone believes, potentially causing issues with their alliance in that everyone will feel that they are too much like the Tevynians.
It becomes even more important that they get this ship back, when they are invited to an Interstellar Alliance meeting of all the various current Alliance members to decide if ‘Humans’ should be allowed to enter into the Alliance with the other species that were created by the Aliens that had originally taken DNA of Humans, and combined it with a selection of animal species on Earth, and then seeded them on other ‘Earth-Like’ planets in the galaxy, including, taking a group of humans from during an era on Earth, and dropping them on a planet to, and these became known as the Tevynians.
The Helta gave technology to all the Allied planets, except Earth, as they are the ‘Source’ planet, and no one was allowed to go to the ‘Source’ planet.
I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but the gang makes it to the Alliance meeting, and there are some very ‘Interesting’ events there, thanks to Andy and his ever charming mouth. This leads to certain things that only Andy can get himself into, with a particular species in the Alliance that is a cross between Humans and Wolves, known as the Skrith, and I have to say, it is certainly one of the more ‘Intriguing’ parts of the book. And by this, I mean you will be laughing yourself stupid, whilst simultaneously flipping through pages utterly engaged in what is going to happen next.
This book is just a fascinating read in many different aspects.
For one, I have made comment recently on a couple of different aspects of Sci-Fi writing, that we see too many aliens that are too ‘humanoid’ in stories, with little or no explanation, and yet, even on our own planet, whilst there has been the natural selection to grow ‘Eyes’ in species in thousands of different ways, and ears in lots of others, they are not humanoid, they are all different types of creatures. So on an alien planet, thousands of light years away from us, or even next door at just a few hundred light years, species that might grow into an ‘Alien’ intelligence, are not going to be ‘Humanoid’ (Sure there is the possibility through natural selection/evolution etc, but there is no way everything is going to be two armed, two legged, and have a different head for convenience sake of the Special Effects department).
However, in this book – Partlow has actually come up with a plausible reason for his different species, and why they are how they are (I won’t go into it – you can read about it), and even then, not all of his aliens are ‘Humanoid’, and it makes for some really fun reading.
The other thing that as a Non-US person, that really drives me nuts in a lot of books, is that an awful lot of writers (and because I am a Sci-Fi nerd – it happens to be a lot of Sci-Fi series), have this whole thing, that when Aliens come to Earth, they are going to land in the US, that the US President is going to make all the decisions for the planet, and everything always happens in the US. Now, I get that it is easier to write a story based on your own country, because you know the lay of the land etc. But (and I say this without trying to offend anyone – honestly, but just as someone who would like to see a bit more diversity in writing?!?), my argument has been it is very narrow-minded to assume that an Alien intelligence would just land in the US for a start, but also that the US President would make all the decisions.
I’m not going to get into it here (there are a number of fun reads on various Facebook pages – Including Ricks – if you want to have a read and get into it!!) – but what I will say, is that Partlow has actually done something really awesome in this book, in that, the US are the ones that make contact with the Helta first, through a series of events in book 1, and it is very plausible. But this sets in motion a chain of events with the rest of the world, especially China and Russia, who are very upset about the US having access to Alien tech, and them not. But more than that, is that the US President makes multiple comments and decisions based on knowing that he is not just dealing with the US, but he is acting for all of the Worlds People, and that he is going to be judged by all of them to. That his actions are going to have ramifications for the whole planet. At the core, this is actually a really fun book – most of it is about a Sci-Fi writer, who has a military background, who suddenly finds himself leading a Delta Squad against an Enemy that are basically Humans that were taken from a time period in our past, given advanced Technology, and rather than playing nicely with the other children, decided it would be more fun to go and kill them all with it. Throughout this book, there are so many references and Easter Eggs to Sci-Fi Books and Movies, that it would make like the best drinking game (I have been thinking about it with the audiobook – get a group together and the last one to work out the reference gets a double shot).
But throughout this book – there are such deep and powerful parts to the story, such as when POTUS is quite literally having a crisis of faith as he realises that he is responsible for the entire planet, that really make this story so good, take it to a whole extra level.
And there are multiple different points in the series like this, when Andy is having nightmares about PTSD (and as someone who suffers from PTSD, Partlow has done such a good job of capturing the raw pain, the emotional angst, and the gritty, powerful, realistic psychological agony that he is feeling over the loss of his friends and comrades, of what he has both seen and done. It is some really great writing, and pays a lot of respect to those who suffer with it each day).
There is the grief of the soldiers at various scenes when they realise that they have lost friends, or the severe casualty rate of friendlies, and even just the senseless killing of the enemy, the psychological impact it has on them. For some, it can actually break them, others, it turns them into stronger soldiers – but at the cost of their souls.
Partlow has obviously done a lot of research into combat, to get the brutality, realism, the pure craziness of it, and for Andy, his collapse into almost a berserker so he can cope with the nature of war. The writing is not just gritty, and real, but very raw and for most of it, very emotive. It is exceptionally well done.
Partlow’s story is extraordinary, in that it can go from side splitting humour, to ethical dilemma’s in the Political arena, and the next chapter, you are utterly engaged in brutal combat, that you just can’t put down, as you have to know what is going to happen, who is going to survive.
Because that is the other thing that Partlow does well, he is willing to take out his main characters, no one is safe. This is a Mil Sci-Fi story, in which the main characters are fighting for their lives on a constant basis in a vicious war, and Partlow doesn’t believe in invulnerable heroes like a lot of books (Hey, we just fought for 10hrs, everyone else is dead, but it’s ok, the main 8 characters came through with only a few scratches – of paint on their power armour….)
If you want a really great read, one that you will not only be seriously having to put the book down as you are crying from laughter at some of the things that Andy has done (the comments that come out of his mouth are priceless), one that makes you think of chocolate (All the Easter Eggs!! There are so many references to Movies and Books, different quotes, it is like Ready Player One), and some of the most incredible action you are going to read – with some fierce action, and more importantly, some Exceptional Characters that tell an outstanding story, you will love this.
Must Read Mil Sci-Fi of 2021!!!
Scott Aiello is just so good, he is easily one of the best Narrators around!!
He is not only so easy to listen to (you can listen to him for hours on end, without getting annoyed of listening to his voice), and he has such an easy voice to listen to, so clear and concise.
He does the best voices, Male, Female, Alien (he has a fantastic range of Alien voices, Male, Female, Other), that really bring the story to life. His different voices are so good that you can easily tell each of his characters apart, without having to be told who is who, so you always know who is speaking. And even better, he brings such powerful emotive quality to each of his characters, such that they convey exactly how they feel each time they talk.
Aiello conveys such realism with each of his characters, really bringing each story to life, and every story he does, is just so much better as the audiobook version than reading it, he is just so good!!

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Great story. Riveting

Just a enthralling adventure could see how fiction could mimic reality in the future. Make you realize we may not be alone in the galaxy

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The series keeps getting better

Great story, great narration. Be warned, the ending sets up the start of a new adventure!

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Better off without the protagonist...

You can only have the same problem so many times before it's just stupid and you should fire the guy responsible. On three separate occasions, potentially world ending, avoidable, calamities come to be because the protagonist isn't doing his job...apparently at all.

Spoilers:
1: A manufacturing facility on the Moon is infiltrated by a large number of foreign intelligence operatives. Many of whom should probably be in a database of "known hostile mercs". We learn later that they wouldn't have been identifiable by the facial recognition that's available. This isn't the protagonist's fault, but given there's only one way to get to the Moon, and even current, RL, spacecraft crew security would have stopped the plot cold...felt dumb. However, it's the premise, so we give it to the author.

2: And they steal a starship. Letting anyone steal a warship is just stupid. Making a situation where is possible to steal one of your two warships capable of ending all life on Earth (even without weapons) is next level dumb. Creating a situation where enemy agents can gain enough info to use a never before seen stardrive and pilot it successfully to extra-solar enemy territory...this is pushing credulity. As the protagonist is the first ship's security officer in this world, this is at least partly his fault.

3: Enemy agents infiltrate the protagonist's entourage. They don't do anything fancy, just show up in the right clothes having shaved their mirror universe beard. Given that quasi-religious fanatics from some of the people at their meeting have tried to kill them in the past, bomb sniffing and ID checks are a no brainer. Or, that facial recognition stuff. This is totally the protagonist's fault, and super-duper-court-martial level stupid.

4: His ship, the one he's in charge of security for, get's disabled by a pair of goons who take over engineering...without a peep being reported. No alarm, no "hey what's that gunfire"...just "Poof! Power's off!". By this point in the rain of infiltrators and saboteurs, the protagonist should be SHOT for colluding with the enemy. I can't think of any other reason that, after the spies, warship theft, and suicide infiltrator-bombers, guys who don't look like any known crew could be still wandering around the ship for a couple of weeks not being identifiable by the ship's facial recognition.

This protagonist has, on at least one other occasion, nearly crippled the efforts of his people and world due to his inability to do the job. Then again, maybe if you put a guy who follows internet fishing into a remote dark alley in charge of security you deserve to be conquered by more competent people.

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Has potential

He’s a great story teller unfortunately of the greedy short story type think I’ll wait for his other works to go into publisher’s packs

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  • Anonymous User
  • 10-23-21

just keeps getting better.

the story line is great, the narrator is fantastic. well worth the listen. i listened to this non stop.

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 08-10-21

I enjoyed both the story and the narrator

I think the narrator capturer the personality of the lead perfectly. the voices of the other species remain the same from previous books so the flow was maintained. I laughed quietly when he said the way someone was guarding their plate reminded him of a meal at a Baptist social of his youth because it was similar experiences in my youth also at Baptist social.