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  John G. Hemry – Stark`s Command – Book 2
Posted by: admin - 04-05-2017, 08:32 AM - Forum: Book Reviews - No Replies

[Image: starkscommand.jpg]John G. Hemry – Stark`s Command

Review by Gh0styuk,

Stark`s Command is the second book in the John G. Hemry trilogy. The look of the second book seems to look and feel darker than the previous Stark’s War, the text is in red and the armoured figure on the front is in a crouching position as if he is lying in wait for something to happen. The moon is still displayed behind the figure as if a reminder that these soldiers are still in the dead waste land fighting to keep the line that many thousands have died for. If the first book is anything to go by, I was in for a good read and I was not disappointed.

The story opens with Stark trying to keep work as normal for his troops, as much you can in a war zone. He is trying to keep the ever present enemy from breaking the line that they have been trying to break for many weeks now using precession probe attacks to test how well the line is protected. With Stark back at the command bunker he watches all this taking place and he suddenly realises that the line is breaking and most of his troops are pulling back. Stark takes matters into his own hands, which most of his officers disagree with, but Stark disregards it and makes a personal appearance on the line to keep it from breaking any more. With a great deal of hard work and a great job from Stark’s old squad the line is held and are even are able to gain the ground back they lost. Not only does Stark have to deal with that, but also the new mentality of the troops as well. After the events that occur in the first book, Stark’s War, the troops have lost focus and really don’t have anything worth fighting for, which is a big problem for Stark.

While all that is going on Stark is also in talks with the civilians and, in particular, the head civilian Jack Campbell to try and get some things in order. At the top of the agenda is getting the old officers off the moon, which they do happen to do. They also manage to get some of the family members of the soldiers to the moon. As this is happening in the space port, Stark sees a ghost from his past, a sibling of a friend long since dead. This brings back a lot of bloody memories for Stark. With all this happening the story takes a new twist which I for one did not see coming, where a bunch of sailors, who have been in orbit blockading the moon, decide to join Stark’s Rebellion.

The really great thing I like about this book is the change in pace it brings and it really gives you a great insight into the workings of how the military and politicians work. You get a real feel that John G. Hemry is portraying this with great experience. There is a great part in the book where Stark and Jack Campbell are sitting round a table with representatives from different corporations, politicians and the military Generals and they are trying to negotiate the terms of this rebellion and as the scene is played out you really get a sense of how Stark is growing as a leader and how he is starting to learn the things he needs to keep his head above water.

As the books comes to its thrilling climax and you wonder if anything else could possibly happen the story line takes a major twist as the moon base is under attack from a small group of mercenaries who seem to take the base with ease, blocking all communications inside the command centre, It becomes all to apparent that there is a mole and also that the American military are really low on people for an all out attack, and so, now employing ‘guns for hire’ to help get this situation under control. Once the dust settles and the body count is established the story takes yet another huge twist as Stark is left to make one more decision which will put him and his command and his conscience to the test once more he just hopes it’s the right decision.

Overall
Stark’s Command is just as good as the first book in the trilogy Stark’s War. Bringing a whole new battle field into play that Stark and his troops have no idea they would be playing on. If you enjoyed the first book, then you will love the Second Stark’s Command. The difference in the characters and story line is outstanding and how everything is moving on really kept me enthralled from beginning to end, I literally could not put this book down, a real page turner. John G. Hemry is really setting up for an epic conclusion, and it’s been one hell of a ride so far. If you have to buy 3 books this year make sure the Stark’s Trilogy is it!

TITAN BOOKS Released 9th September 2011 £7.99


  Professor Moriarty: The Hound of the D’Urbervilles
Posted by: admin - 04-04-2017, 07:57 AM - Forum: Book Reviews - No Replies

[Image: Moriarty.jpg]Professor Moriarty: The Hound of the D’Urbervilles

Review by Martsbits.

I was quite excited to get this book, I was promised a book that would show me the opposites of the great pairing of Holmes and Watson. I was not disappointed by what I was offered. From the moment I started to read this book I was hooked. I have known of the author before reading the book, as well as contributing to novels to Games Workshop and knowing he has collaborated with Neil Gaiman only heightened my anticipation of what I was reading, whilst also being comforted by a writer of good calibre.

From the opening chapter set in modern day London I was hooked. The characters were written with such depth I could imagine how they looked, dressed and what mannerisms each person had. There is a subtle but pervasive humour that made the book a joy to read. Kim Newman has a skill at inviting you into a world of his creation that doesn’t alienate you from historical fact. The way in which we are introduced to the books heroes (anti-heroes?) is clever and instils a sense of awe that such great personages existed.

So to talk about the book I cannot ignore the greatest thing in my humble opinion about it. Colonel Sebastian ‘Basher’ Moran for me makes this book the treat it is. He is rude and bigoted and many other negatives but also honest, yet that makes him all the more likeable as a character. We are introduced to Moriarty of course and his character is witty, clever and urbane and this is totally how the foil of Sherlock Holmes should be. That is the pairing for the book.

I loved this book. There, honest as I can be. I was stunned by some of the things I read, astounded at the complex plot and, yes, I enjoyed Basher Moran’s honest bluntness. One thing to note here is the use of the language. Kim Newman has crafted a book that utilises the grammar, the sayings and the slang of the time excellently and weaves it into the story to add yet another subtle nod that this is not set in the modern times. Let that be a slight warning too.
All in all this is one tremendous book that I wholeheartedly recommend. It’s difficult to put down, but easy to pick up again. So buy it now!! Go on…

Review by Martyn Elwell

Professor Moriarty: The Hound of the D’Urbervilles
By Kim Newman

Published by Titan books RRP £7.99


  Halo: The Great Journey The Art of Building Worlds
Posted by: admin - 04-03-2017, 08:51 PM - Forum: Book Reviews - No Replies

Halo: The great Journey – The Art of Building Worlds Published by Titan books to celebrate 10 years of Halo.  A book so good it needed to be titled twice! When the book landed on my desk I was amazed at the quality of the book, the cover art on the book is of the Master Chief standing with his assault rifle on top of a burning wreck in an iconic stance. Opening the cover you take your first steps into this amazing book, you will be treated to 189 pages with over 400 images. As a player of the Halo franchise and having followed the art direction from the original Xbox game to present day, the art style has been outstanding and this book is no exception. It really is a bible of all things Halo!

[Image: haloblogheader.jpg]

he minute you open the book and peruse the contents page you know you will be in for a great ride.  You’re met with a double page picture of a human base set into a cliff top, with a Pelican on the landing pad, from this one vista you begin to understand what you are in for inside the pages of this book.


The book is split up into 7 chapters, each chapter taking a look at many different aspects of the universe. Some of the things covered in this book are clothing, vehicles, and much more. It’s really nice to read this book or just flick through it, with each page you turn you are greeted with even more pictures and designs, and to complement this you get a few paragraphs of what the person had in mind when he started to come up with this idea. It’s also a great look into the design process of how an idea first comes to life and how many transitions it goes through until you recognise the final design that we have been playing in the game. You can best see this process when you look at the steps The Pelican went through. As you go from to chapter to chapter the information you get really links well with the game; like from Halo , how the Master Chief’s armour has been upgraded to the Mjolnir Mark VI.  It was the little things like this that I liked.  The book just gives you these titbits as you go along.

[Image: haloartbook4.jpg]


  Sherlock Holmes — The Breath of God
Posted by: admin - 04-03-2017, 08:47 PM - Forum: Book Reviews - No Replies

[Image: sh_breathgod2.jpg]Guy Adams
Titan Books £7.99

Sherlock Holmes – The Breath of God is Guy Adams’ first contribution to Titan’s popular The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes series. Which, given the seemingly immortal appeal of Conan Doyle’s detective, seems set to run and run.

Adams’ premise is an intriguing one. It is December 1899 and the world stands on the cusp of a new century. The book opens well with the horrific death of Hilary de Montford, a foppish young man whose smashed body is discovered in Grosvenor Square. His injuries are consistent with a fall from an immense height but such a death seems impossible given where his corpse was found. Holmes is visited by an occult expert, Doctor Silence, who tells him that three men including de Montford and Holmes himself have been named for death by the ramblings of a young girl, apparently possessed by demons. With that the game’s afoot and an investigation begins which will take Holmes and Watson all over London and eventually to the shores of Loch Ness with plenty of bizarre incidents and grisly deaths on the way.

Reviving another author’s creations, especially ones as iconic as Holmes and Watson, is a tricky tightrope to walk. The reader has expectations that have to be met but also demands something fresh that expands on the original creation without stepping too far from the template. In some respects Adams is very successful. He continues the convention of using Watson as the narrator and does a good job of recreating the original elaborate and wordy Victorian style. Watson’s story is interspersed by evidence in the form of accounts of events given by other characters and on the whole this works well and gives the novel an authentic antique feel.

How you feel about the presentation of our heroes will depend on how precious you feel about Conan Doyle’s originals. As Adams explains in his afterword, the author was not trying to slavishly copy the originals but rather to put his own spin on characters he has loved from his youth. How successfully he has achieved this will be a matter of personal taste. Dr Watson remains very true to his blueprint, loyal, wry and heroic, but also loveably bemused throughout. Holmes is a different matter. He is a less likeable character than his original and is a sort of pick’n’mix of characteristics from many of the innumerable screen interpretations some of which are welcome while others are less convincing.
Adams has also chosen to introduce other characters from the period. Aleister Crowley, the real- life occultist and notorious nutcase makes an appearance and there are also borrowed fictional characters along for the ride; the ‘Psychic Doctor’ Doctor Silence, the supernatural investigator Thomas Carnacki and demonologist Julian Karswell all wander in from other Eighteenth Century novels to add more period authenticity. There’s even a nod to Dracula’s Van Helsing thrown in to add colour and depth to the supernatural story.

Doctor Silence’s grim story of demonic possession at the book’s opening is only the first of a series of diabolical events. Silence is convinced that an expert occultist is summoning the mythical ‘Breath of God’ to destroy his enemies and, as our heroes investigate ever more grisly and bewildering crime scenes, it becomes harder to discount the paranormal. As Watson spends time working with

the psychic investigators he becomes more convinced, particularly when he starts to believe that he might be the victim of demonic possession himself. Holmes, of course, remains sceptical and, at several points, drops into the background of the narrative to monitor events from an impartial distance.

Adams manages the supernatural set pieces confidently, ramping up the tension very well and delivering the shocks effectively. It is in these sections where having Watson as the narrator has the most impact. His usual air of comfortable bemusement when faced with Holmes’ superior analytical intellect becomes something far more feral and panicked when he is forced to put his trust in the hands of his occultist allies and he finds himself facing terrors that he cannot understand but that seem all too real.

Unfortunately it is exactly these supernatural elements that undermine the novel as a Sherlock Holmes story. The one basic rule of Sherlock Holmes that has to be adhered to is the idea that every mystery can be solved through rational explanation based on the observation of facts. It’s what made Sherlock Holmes such a fascination to his original readers. The challenge of trying to pick up all the facts and put them together to find the solution was what created the obsession with Conan Doyle’s stories in the first place. The problem here is that the solution to the mystery and the perpetrator of the crimes is transparently obvious from fairly early in the book. In addition to this the subtleties are never properly explained and there is a sense that there might really be powers beyond this world — something Conan Doyle’s Holmes would never have accepted. Sherlock Holmes is the very byword for rationality and logic and to have him apparently endorse and accept the occult world just feels wrong. It doesn’t help either that Guy Ritchie’s recent film trod much the same ground with much more intricacy, attention to detail and panache.

For fans of the Victorian period and those who enjoy a good old fashioned supernatural romp Sherlock Holmes — The Breath of God won’t disappoint. It is full of imagination and has plenty of breathless action to keep you entertained. However, if you’re a Sherlock Holmes purist or you’re looking for a complex mystery puzzle to challenge your grey matter you won’t find what you’re looking for here. The old-school connoisseur would be advised to fill a pipe, dust down their copy of The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and re-read The Adventure of the Speckled Band.
David Stonehouse


  John G. Hemry Stark`s Crusade Book 3
Posted by: admin - 04-03-2017, 08:43 PM - Forum: Book Reviews - No Replies

[Image: starkcrusade.jpg]So here I am, with the last book in the trilogy Stark’s Crusade by John G. Hemry and let me tell you it’s been a great ride so far. I really feel like I have been on an epic journey in this universe. It has had its ups and downs but what I have really enjoyed the most is the characters. They all seem so real somehow, but I will talk about that more later on. First of all I would like to go over how the book looked and felt.


When I held the last book, Stark’s Crusade, I really did feel a sadness it wasn’t long ago I had started the first book, and was telling you of all the adventures I was hoping to read about, and between you and me it’s been a great ride, but anyway looking at the book the pictures on the front show a person with a sniper rifle in some armour that is completely different to the one shown on the front of the last two books. It is darker and more light weight, as if the person in it is more of assassin than a soldier. The stance is more assured, as if the target he has been searching for is located, and he is ready to pull the trigger. The Earth is depicted in the bottom right corner of the book. The writing is blue and somehow this book just seems to stand out more than the others. To me this brings with it a feeling of pressure. As everything you have been reading is building up to this book and it’s all going to explode into one last battle for Commander Stark and his army.

Stark’s Crusade starts with yet another raid on the colony but this time Stark’s forces are ready for action and happily manage to defend themselves. What I find great about this book is the balance between the battle field and the politics, you really get a great feel for both of them, and how Stark and The Officers work together with Jack Campbell and his civilian assistances. The book itself is way more fast paced than the last two, due to ever growing pressure from all sides. The Government have realized that just throwing mercenariness at Stark is not going to do anyone any good. Once the enemy on both sides is at bay Stark’s army also starts to get internal problems with a few troops, who start to push for a mutiny, which is one of those twists that made me smile. It was interesting to see how Stark would deal with this while the eyes of the world watched and in Stark fashion he dealt with how a trained commander would have, in a very professional way resulting in no casualties. As word gets around about this The Troop’s morale is evidently boosted.

Stark gets some information passed on to him, telling him that the government are planning to attack to try and end this stalemate with the help of robotic troops. Stark passes this information to his Command staff who then start to draw up plans on how to take these things down. Needless to say battle plans are drawn up and defences made with this attack, by their own Country being imminent, it was going to be a fight that Stark and his Command staff did not want. He worries it may come down to Americans fighting Americans and in Stark’s book that is a bad thing indeed. He didn’t become a solider to shoot at people on the same side and would not do that even if he had to and would never expect his troops to shoot them ether. I really enjoyed how this book was written you follow a few story lines which lets you bounce from Stark’s problems to Jack Campbell’s problems and also the problems back home on Earth, as the civilians are demanding that the Government step down and let someone else take the reigns. John G. Hemry really shows you the full spectrum of how war can effect many things, not just the battle field but people hundreds or even thousands of miles away and how warfare is not just about who has the biggest gun, although I’m betting it helps.

Towards the end of this epic story I was amazed at how the story line twisted and turned. You also read about old faces returning to the moon. The ending was something that I was not expecting, but seemed to fit really well in the context of the story and I could not have come up with a better ending in my head.

Overall
I really could talk about John G. Hemry’s Stark trilogy for ages, to anyone that will listen. It is one great read and it shows you the epic journey of one man who is trying to change the system and doing what he thinks is right. The characters are some of the most believable I have experienced, which makes reading the book all the more enjoyable. The Stark trilogy is a set of books any sci-fi fan should have in their bookcases. John G. Hemry has written a sci-fi classic here.

Would I recommend this to anyone? 100% Yes!!! Go buy it now!

TITAN BOOKS Released 9th September 2011 £7.99


  Kevin J Anderson- Captain Nemo: The Fantastic Adventures of a Dark Genius
Posted by: admin - 04-03-2017, 08:40 PM - Forum: Book Reviews - No Replies

[Image: captainnemo.jpg]The title is quite wordy, and automatically it made me pause and consider. This is not a book I would usually read, so I was a little wary about it. The cover was dark and appeared a tad bit gothic, and reading the information on the back cover gave me a slight insight to what I would be reading. It all appeared quite mysterious and exciting.

Before reading the book I took a little time to acquaint myself with the author as this was a new genre for me, I had never personally come across him before, and I was staggered with his previous portfolio. Kevin J. Anderson is the author of several epic series and collaborated with luminaries such as Brian Herbert and Dean Koontz so his pedigree was exceptional. This assuaged my previous cautious feelings about the book.


The first chapter showed us a mature Jules Verne, aged and successful in his writing career, himself the author of many books. And so the book we are given is a reminiscence on his youth and in particular, of his friendship with the eponymous Nemo. We are transported to France of the late 19th century and this is truly where Kevin J. Anderson excels. The setting was richly and elaborately described, from the sights and sounds to the very smells, I thoroughly enjoyed the experience that was being crafted for me, and this was one of the subtle pleasures this book offered me. However, I do have a slight criticism, and I emphasise that this is in fact a very slight criticism, was that at times the story would drift to historical fact and I would be left wondering of this was a book of fiction or fact.

 
The book is written expertly from the point of view of three characters, Jules Verne himself (though at a much younger age), Andre Nemo and Caroline Aronnax. These names may be very familiar with those who have read and studied the actual works from Jules Verne, and I have to say I was impressed by the amount of research Kevin J. Anderson has placed into writing this book. The three characters introduced to us are realistic and three dimensional, each having their own aims, goals and desires as well as the negatives that truly made these people come alive. I could empathise with the decisions they made, I could understand their motives and I was captured by the individual stories each one presented.
After the slower tempo of the first few chapters, the pace is surprisingly quickened with the very sudden and dramatic change for Nemo. I was offered a new and interesting story line in which I was quickly engrossed in. Each of the main characters diverged and became unique and self-reliant, independent from the other two characters. It was with Nemo that I finally saw the dark genius from the book title emerge. Here was a resourceful and practical young man who could create wonders from seemingly impractical items.


One of the many highlights of the book was when Nemo is shipwrecked on a tropical island, the wonders he created for himself gave subtle hints as to the practical intelligence he had. There were many allusions in these chapters to certain books that Jules Verne himself would write. During the time while Nemo is shipwrecked we are also viewing the younger Jules Verne hiring a boat in his hometown and how, due to his inexperience he lost control of his vessel and scuttled it by accident on the shore of a remote island. The experiences of Nemo and Verne are a testament to the many differences there was between the two characters. On one hand you have Nemo, shipwrecked on a tropical island but with all the comforts of home, and on the other hand, Verne who is completely clueless and at a complete loss stranded so close to home. It was this comparison that emerged several times that I particularly enjoyed.


The book does not stay so light and airy however, there are many shifts and changes of the fortunes of the three characters and it was delightful to see and read how they interacted and reacted to certain situations. A section that tugged at my heart was near the end, a silent meeting between two of the characters where a certain truth is offered. It was a simple few paragraphs, but in my honest opinion, it was a really profound read, especially considering the events that occurred before hand.


So in summary, I will not go into great detail regarding the book as I truly feel that to offer in depth information would spoil a thoroughly good read. The book made me smile, frown and blink in complete surprise a few times. Yes it is emotive and sometimes a little frustrating but all in all it was a very good read. Would I recommend the book? I most certainly would.


TITAN BOOKS Released 16th September 2011 £7.99


  Jack Campbell – The Lost Fleet: Beyond the Frontier – Dreadnaught
Posted by: admin - 04-03-2017, 08:35 PM - Forum: Book Reviews - No Replies

[Image: dreadnaught.jpg]It has to be said that the title of Jack Campbell’s new book is a bit of a mouthful. Dreadnaught is the opening novel in a series called Beyond the Frontier which is itself a spinoff from the bestselling The Lost Fleet saga. Fans of The Lost Fleet will feel right at home but newcomers shouldn’t be put off as Dreadnaught turns out to be a great place for new readers to start exploring Campbell’s universe.The adventure begins in the aftermath of the interstellar war between two human races, the democratic Alliance and the totalitarian Syndic. The Alliance have won and an uneasy peace exists between the two but in the background there is also the shadowy menace of a mysterious alien race known only as the Enigma.

We join our hero, Admiral John ‘Black Jack’ Geary in home port managing his Alliance fleet. Geary is the inspirational leader whose actions ended the war. He is a living legend and is revered as a god by some. He appeared to come back from the dead after a hundred years in suspended animation to save the Alliance and win the war. In this down time between actions Geary emerges as a very normal human being coming to terms with his new marriage to fellow Captain Tanya Desjani and the impossible expectations that come with being a living legend. It turns out that attitudes to Jack are very mixed. To many in the Alliance he is the ultimate saviour and hero but to factions of the duplicitous government he is a problem who needs to be kept quiet. Having made Geary a mythical hero to boost waning morale during the war the last thing the government needed was for him to turn up larger than life and save the day with the population adoring his every action.

Campbell’s universe is a massive creation with competing races, complex politics and religions, established characters and convincing future science. There is a vast amount of information to get to grips with and one of the great strengths of this novel is Campbell’s ability to get the reader up to speed without slowing the pace or resorting to pages of tedious exposition. Series fans won’t feel as if they’re treading water and after the first hundred pages newcomers will know everything they need to feel right at home with Geary and his ships.

It isn’t long before the Fleet are leaving home space and heading into more dangerous territory. Jack’s orders are vague and it looks like some distant and faceless politicians are doing their best to make things difficult for the departing ships. Geary walks a fine line, balancing the fleet personnel he can trust against those with other agendas. There are civilian alien experts aboard and the Admiral is saddled with two political observers neither of whom appear to be completely trustworthy. As the journey progresses Jack must piece together pieces of information and try to work out the real reasons for his mission and the motives of those back in the Alliance who have sent him away.

That’s not to say that this is a sort of deep space espionage novel. Those mystery elements give depth and realism to the Alliance culture but they don’t detract from the action and there’s plenty of that. It is in the military aspects that Campbell’s real strengths come to the fore. Fleet movements and communications just feel real and that is no doubt a product of the author’s own experiences in US Navy. This might be a distant future with aliens and incredible space ships but the interaction between the characters, the military, politicians and civilians feels authentic and convincing and makes the science fiction all the more engaging. When we get to the action set pieces – fleet ambushes, daring rescues and so on there is a real understanding of the logistics of managing personnel and hardware which adds to the tension, excitement and fun. And it really is fun – fast moving, exhilarating fun.

As you would expect, the feeling of threat increases steadily the further the Fleet gets from Alliance space. Annoying political manoeuvring at home gives way to edgy encounters in Syndic territory where ex-enemy commanders try to push the terms of the peace treaty for their own gain. Beyond the Syndic systems lie territories belonging to the secretive Enigma aliens where things become a lot more volatile.

All this spectacle would be less entertaining without the character of Jack Geary at its heart. We follow events from his perspective which works because he is such a thoroughly likeable creation. Italicised sections show clearly Jack’s thought processes at crucial points in the plot. It is easy to share his uncertainty about his mission and his frustration with those who let him down. His relationship with his wife gives him a grounded human quality and it is easy to sympathise with a man who fears he can never live up to the expectations that his living legend status has built around him.
It would be wrong to give too much away but Dreadnaught builds to a cliffhanger finale that is unexpected and game changing. Campbell leaves some clues as to how the series will progress and makes it clear that there are plenty of exciting and original challenges out there for Geary and his fleet which bodes very well for the books to come.

Dreadnought is a great addition to The Lost Fleet and a very promising opener for a new set of adventures. It’s also a great place for new readers to start exploring Campbell’s universe. Dreadnaught and the re-issue of the Stark’s War trilogy should help win Campbell an army of new fans.
Highly recommended.


TITAN BOOKS Released 9th September 2011 £7.99


  John G. Hemry – Stark`s War – Book 1
Posted by: admin - 04-03-2017, 08:25 PM - Forum: Book Reviews - No Replies

[Image: starkswar.jpg]On receiving Stark`s War, written by John G. Hemry, I was greeted to a nice looking book the cover depicting a soldier, which I presume to be Stark in his battle armour, looking into the distance as if surveying the battle field. The Moon is behind him. Just holding the book in my hands and seeing the cover gave me pause to think what battles I would be reading about once I opened the book. On turning the book around I gave myself time to look at the back cover to see what the synopsis would tell me, I was excited by it and thought ‘Yes, I am in for a great read’.


The story is set in a world where the USA have raised to the top of the Super powered countries and now reigns supreme on the Earth, and is fast becoming a very small place. As foreign countries fight to claim what is theirs and America fight to keep hold of what they think is theirs. The Law of war has changed a lot from today, the more technology has advanced, the easier it is for the powers that be to control the soldiers in the battle field, albeit from a distance. Tactics are downloaded to the soldiers on the ground for them to follow, to the letter. Times are also set and what is even worse, war as become a TV show for the masses to watch, so every soldier is fitted with a cam so the officers can watch the whole battle from the comfort of their office chair. But what makes it worse is the fact that they plan battles on how the the ratings are, if they are low they plan high risk ops to try and get ratings up because low ratings mean less money for the military.

The military is a life choice for most people but many people don’t have a choice as they are born into service. Only a few decide to leave ‘Civ Street’ for the military and what I found great is how the two are shown. Most civilians know that they are here to fight for them but don’t really want to get any closer to a soldier than they have to, which is kind of different to what I was expecting to read about.

Since I began reading Jack Campbell/John G. Hemry’s book the thing that amazed me about his writing style is how realistic he makes the characters, it seems to be consistent of his style as I also found this in The Lost Fleet and I’m still finding it now in Stark`s War. The ability he has to do this in so few paragraphs is outstanding, and it doesn’t stop there! The combat scenes are also just as real. In Stark`s War you follow Sargent Stark and the Third Squad. Stark seems to be troubled by his past, and looking after the Third Squad seems to be a high priority for him. When orders come from tactical, that will put his men in trouble, if he can see a better way out of the situation or a better way to proceed he will very happily change the orders to best suit him. This blatant disregard sees him get into a lot of trouble. Another Sargent who also plays a main roll in the story and seems to be Starks conscience is Sargent Reynolds, Commander of the First Squad, who herself has a few demons. Together they seem to help each other out a lot, she seems to know a great deal of information about what is going on. The Third Squad that makes up the platoon is the Second Squad that is command by Sargent Shanchez. He is a cool and calm guy and you never can really tell what’s going on behind his eyes as he keeps his emotions very closed off to people. He knows the rules inside and out and never really lets anything faze him, even when in the midst of battle.

One thing I really enjoyed about this setting is how the technology was not over the top. I sometimes find that scifi books bog themselves down with needless techno speech, whereas in Stark’s War there is a nice balance between keeping the story on track and also bring that scifi setting to life, with ships and armour which really make for a refreshing change. I also enjoyed the flash backs that a few of the characters had it really helped with bring them to life and grounded them in the story. The whole book from beginning to end is paced well. I found myself wanting to keep reading, as the plot twisted and turned. I wanted to discover how each problem was played out and how the characters dealt with it. When I had finished the book it left me with a great sense of enjoyment and I am very much looking forward to picking the next book up in the trilogy: Starks Command.

Overall
This is a great stage setting for the Stark trilogy, it brings together so much. The battles are described so vividly you really do think you are there. If you love military Scifi, then this is a must read but even if you don’t and you just like a good story with some really rounded characters wrapped up in a setting set in the future, then you really can not go wrong with this book. I loved it!

TITAN BOOKS Released 9th September 2011 £7.99


  Star Wars: The Jedi Path Review
Posted by: admin - 04-02-2017, 05:55 PM - Forum: Book Reviews - No Replies

[Image: TJP.jpg]The first thing I noticed when I received this book to review was the presentation, from the embossed and silver inlaid front cover to the rough edged parchment style pages this book looks and feels like a handbook for young Jedi, which is of course what it’s meant to resemble. The attention to detail is marvellous, from the list of previous owners found in the inside cover (And quite a distinguished list it is too!) to the notes and comments scribbled throughout the book by various Jedi initiates. There’s even a whole section of blanked out text, allegedly covered over by Darth Sidious himself!

Contained within this handbook is the knowledge any young Jedi would need, providing information on the Jedi order itself, expected dress codes and behaviour of Jedi Padawan, right through to the roles and duties of a Jedi Knight. The book is written as a manual and therefore can be a bit dry although the aforementioned side notes from the books previous owners add a little brevity and personal insight making it less heavy going than it could have been.

I found the section on different styles of Lightsaber combat to be particularly interesting, now I know that Yoda favoured the Ataru style, Count Dooku the Makashi style and more interestingly from the description Darth Vader seems to use Niman style, which is also referred to as Moderation form, as favoured by diplomats!

Other parts of the book cover the agricultural, medical/educational and Exploratory arms of the Jedi Service Corps where force wielders who didn’t quite have it in them to become fully fledged Jedi Knights are assigned, these support workers of the Jedi are given equal billing to the Knights themselves and are show to provide a great service to the galaxy in general. It’s information like this that helped flesh out my (sadly film based only) knowledge of the Jedi order.

The ability to apply the information in the handbook to add further depth to the films and other Star Wars related publications makes for a fascinating read, every page or so I found myself thinking back to moments from the films and thinking “Oh, so that’s what that is!” and in that light, I’d happily recommend this book to anyone who wants to explore the Star Wars universe in general and the Jedi themselves.

Star Wars: The Jedi Path
Published by Titan Books.
Review by Ian Clarke.