Tuesday, November 2, 2010

March to the Stars, by John Ringo and David Weber

March to the Stars (Prince Roger Series #3)
March to the Stars is the third in a series, beginning with March Upcountry and Marching to the Sea. The situation set up at the beginning of the series is that a spoiled young prince, heir tertiary to the throne of the Empire of Man (read galactic empire here), is marooned by sabotage on a primitive planet, and must fight his way across first a continent, then an ocean, to reach the spaceport, where he can presumably hijack a ship and return to the Empire.

Between Weber and Ringo, you have two of the most accomplished masters of combat SF alive today, and it shows in the military aspects of the story (as far as I can tell from my non-military background). The human aspects of the story are not as fully fleshed out. Prince Roger eventually makes the transition from spoiled rich kid to effective and respected field commander of the Imperial Marines stranded with him, and the dialog is pretty snappy, but there's not a lot of time spent by the characters in any meaningful thought or deeply conflicted reflection. It's pretty much guts, guns and glory all the way.

By the time March to the Stars begins, Roger's group of Imperial Marines has acquired a following of the native Mardukians, (four-armed slimy lizards), who may very well be the finest fighting force on the planet. They've made across the continent, and now are sailing in wind-powered ships across the ocean, to the continent where the spaceport is located. They get to fight sea monsters, pirates, and evil priests along the way.

It won't go down in the annals of classic literature, but it's a fast paced fun romp, if you like the militant brand of SF.


Lindsay said...

I enjoyed this series quite a bit, mostly because after their hi-tech equipment breaks down in the first book, the characters spend most of the series recreating the history of weaponry and warfare in fast-forward. The conceit amuses me, and I enjoyed the character growth by the final book.

Jon said...

@Lindsay - It's that whole Connecticut Yankee thing. I've seen it off and on in SF, especially time travel, for years, as in Leo Frankowski's Conrad stuff, Weber's (again) Safehold series, and even, in a different slant, in Fleet of Worlds by Niven (upcoming review), when an Earth physicist is trying to build the tools to make the tools to duplicate the Puppeteers advanced technology. Weber's March series does a great job on the theme.