Prince Roger MacClintock is a brat -- affected, whining, and obnoxious. He doesn't really want to be, but there's really nothing else for him to do, as third in line to the throne, and strangely sidelined by his Empress mother. Finally, she sends him off to a routine engagement on a distant planet. But on the way, someone attempts to blow up his ship, leaving him and his company of Marine bodyguards stranded on a hostile planet. They must battle their way across it, through hostile natives and even more hostile jungle, to the small spaceport to get home. Will the brattish Prince pull through?
Of course he will. In a typical coming-of-age tale, Roger gradually gains the respect of the Marines as they slog across the planet, their high-tech weaponry gradually failing in the jungle heat, making alliances with some of the war-like natives, and in typical Weber and Ringo style, cutting bloody swathes through others. The plot device of failing weaponry with no resupply allows the use of swords, while keeping some of the big guns in reserve for use when the going gets really tough. The no resupply problem might be thought to result in severely depleted marine numbers, too, but the other plot device of nano-tech enhanced soldiers allows (most of) them to recover from their wounds.
This is the first of a trilogy. There is enough closure to make a reasonably satisfying stand-alone story -- but the party are still well short of their goal when the book finishes. Roger has stopped being too much of a brat by the end -- so I suspect the remaining books will focus more on the battles, and possibly the politics that landed them in this predicament in the first place.
Very much the middle of a trilogy feel to it, this book has Prince Roger and his dwindling company of Marines slogging across the continient to reach the sea, battling ever larger groups of native barbarians, and training their own armies of native soldiers. (Certainly no Prime Directive here; in fact, we get a short diatribe against the very idea.) More battles, more guns, and a bit of ship-building.
Prince Roger and his Marines fight their way across the ocean, across another continent, and into the spaceport, meeting new friends, and losing old ones, along the way.
I don't know if a fourth book is planned, but this series is definitely not a trilogy. There is closure of a sort at the end here, but by no means a conclusion to the overall story. It has a more complex plot that the second book, involving human intrigue as well as alien slaughter, and the various factions are drawn well. There is a growing tendency to lecture -- one feels that, having done their research, the authors are determined to use it all (I'm thinking especially about the cult of Baal here). The action scenes are good, and varied. But if Roger keeps on maturing at the current rate, he'll be a demi-god by the next book.
Prince Roger and his Marines have slogged their way across the planet Marduk, fighting unimaginable hordes of bloodthirsty natives, only to discover, when they reach the assumed safety of the spaceport, that they are wanted for treason. While he has been missing, a palace coup has taken place, his brother and sister murdered, his mother the Empress in captivity, and the blame placed squarely on his shoulders. So he and his remaining followers now have a harder battle: to sneak back to earth, rescue the Empress, and defeat the traitors.
This is necessarily less bloody than the earlier books, as you can't have enormous battles against overwhelming odds fought covertly. So instead, Roger and his crew start a restaurant. It does all end with a climactic battle, of course. However, that's probably its main weakness. The space part of battle is described in loving detail. But we don't care about that battle, only its outcome, because we haven't slogged across a planet with any of its participants. We care about the parallel battle on the ground, for the palace, and that's shown in less detail. So, a good, resounding conclusion to the series (yes, there is an ending), but it would have been better if someone had taken Weber's missile pod calculator away from him while he was writing.
The various peaceful species of the federation are being badly defeated by the insanely aggressive Posleen, and so, in an act of desperation, call on the almost as insanely aggressive Humans for military help. Earth has five years to prepare for a massive Posleen invasion, but it's not clear if our greatest danger comes from our enemies, or from our new allies.
This is clearly the first in a series, but does have a satisfactory ending (despite a few strangely dangling plot threads, introduced presumably for significance later, but taken absolutely nowhere in this book). It is standard Mil-SF, with lots of loving details about guns, ammo, military structures, incompetent senior officers, the importance of training, battle armour, and plans not surviving contact with the enemy.
The various alien species are suitably alien, both in physiology and psychology, but we don't get to see that much of them. They're mostly just cannon fodder. The battles are well-drawn, but for the most part (apart from the AIs and the battle armour) could be anywhere -- there's not that much of an SFnal feel. A good page turner, but ultimately a bit unsatisfying. I hope the later books will have more about the aliens, as the various plot threads become important.
I've skipped a few books in the Posleen sequence, so here we are, after the Posleen have been defeated on a devastated Earth, watching a human faction fight covertly against the real alien troublemakers. Cally O'Neal, presumed dead daughter of war hero Iron Mike O'Neal, is living under cover as an assassin for the Bane Sidhe resistance organisation. Completely dedicated to her job, she shrugs off suggestions that she should "get a life", until her next mission finds her falling in love with an enemy.
For all that it is supposed to be some sort of love story, this is a curiously passionless book. Some of the early scenes are clearly there to show how damaged Cally actually is, so that's fine. But then we get a long trip across the ravaged US, which feels that it is there to give a guided tour of the aftermath, rather than to progress the story. And when we get to the final stage, what the book is actually about, there's still no passion. Oh sure, there's lots of leaping on and off beds and other pieces of random furniture, but it's still told in the same passionless style as earlier, and is all rather implausible, not least because there's no indication that either side is falling in love with the real person, rather than their cover persona. Also, there appear to be several places where "guns on the wall" are not later fired, but merely taken off the wall and waved around a bit (such as Cally's suppressed nightmares), or even, in some cases, never noticed again.