Books : reviews

William C. Bauers.
Tor. 2014

The colonists of the planet Montana are accustomed to being ignored. Situated in the buffer zone between two rival human empires, their world is a backwater: remote, provincial, independent-minded. Even as a provisional member of the Republic of Aligned Worlds, Montana merits little consideration—until it becomes the flashpoint of an impending interstellar war.

When pirate raids threaten to destabilize the region, the Republic deploys its mechanized armoured infantry to deal with the situation. Leading the assault is Marine Corps Lieutenant and Montanan expatriate Promise Paen of Victor Company. Years earlier, Promise was driven to join the Marines after her father was killed by such a raid. Payback is sweet, but it comes at a devastating cost. And Promise is in no way happy to be back on her birth world, not even when she is hailed as a hero by the planet’s populace, including its colorful president. Making matters even worse: Promise is persistently haunted by the voice of her dead mother.

Meanwhile, the Republic’s most bitter rival, the Lusitanian Empire, has been watching events unfold in the Montana system with interest. Their forces have been awaiting the right moment to gain a beachhead in Republic territory, and with Promise’s Marines decimated, they believe the time to strike is now.

William C. Bauers.
Tor. 2016

Marine Captain Promise Paen barely survived her last encounter with the Lusitanian Empire. Now, with her career on the line and nightmares behind her eyes, she’s offered the chance to lead a new unit of green marines to hold the mining planet Sheol against a new incursion. Disgraced and angry, Paen has one shot to get back into her mechsuit—if she’s willing to jump across half the galaxy and storm the gates of hell itself.