...how many times has *this* been done?
Tally another one and this is a winner.
Boulter brings the classic trope down to the personal level with his main character - Alan "Mad Dog" McLean. Starting with being drummed out of the police force on his home planet, McLean undertakes a journey of redemption on the battle field of a distant planet. The view from the ground blends personal with political, technical with tragic, and even manages to add a pinch of humor.
The story does have a couple of things that bugged me.
The Foreword didn't do anything for me and nearly made me put the book down before I got to the first chapter. If I hadn't already been a Boulter fan from reading Courtesan, I might not have pushed thru and that would have been a mistake. The story starts at chapter one. I thought the book should as well. I think I know why that foreword is there, but I don't think it's needed. Just my opinion.
McLean - as a character - is flawed, and that's cool, but he's also stupid and that's not supposed to be his flaw. Yes, he's a testosterone poisoned male at times, and I'm ok with that, but he hangs on to his bias and bile long after it seems appropriate. The change, when it comes, is abrupt and, while perfectly logical and handled well at that point, it jarred. McLean is also not a terribly reliable narrator - the limitations of first person point-of-view notwithstanding - or perhaps it's the "stupid" part of him that insists on missing the clues to the relationships changing around him. In any case, I found myself saying "Oh just get over yourself, ya putz!" to the character more than once. Eventually I realized that the only time I do that is when I care about the characters ... and that Boulter had sucked me in very thoroughly.
So, in spite of the problems I had, I still rate the book 5-stars. It'll be one that sticks with me for a while and one that I enjoyed a great deal.
This is a darn good "military sci-fi" yarn that focuses more on the people than the weapons, but works very well indeed. If that's your cuppa, then this is worth a shot. Grab a sample and see if you like it.
But.. I'd skip the foreword.
Thanks, Mr. Boulter, for another great read.