Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Better to Beg Forgiveness by Michael Z. Williamson

Loosely tied to the Freehold stories, Better to Beg Forgiveness is the tale of a band of mercenaries tasked with protecting the president of a backward, "third world" planet. The leader of the executive protection detail is Alex Marlowe, a former captain in the USMC. Rounding out the group, we have Aramis, a young, brash, and slightly insecure Army vet, Elke, the lone female on the team, an explosives expert - who seems to get almost an orgasmic pleasure from blowing things up, Jason Vaughn, Marlowe's deputy and sidekick, Horace "Shaman" Mbuto, the team medic, and Bart, their heavy weapons thug and German wet Navy vet.

One of the things that keeps this novel interesting is the interplay between these characters as they get to know each other - their employer, RippleCreek, has formed the team ad hoc for this assignment, and only a few of them have worked together before. Aside from a little bit of maturing on the part of Aramis, the youngster, there's really no change in their basic natures throughout the novel, however.

When they begin to guard Balaji Bishwanath, in the nation of Celadon on the planet Salin, they find a situation that is definitely fubar. The scenario is eerily similar to that obtaining in many sub Saharan nations, where the UN forces, the military and the State Department are allegedly working towards the same goal, a stable nation, but where their actual goals are widely divergent.

The detail soon comes to respect Balaji for his integrity, intelligence and honor, and when he is inevitably abandoned by the multinational forces, they undertake a quest to get him off planet to safety, and to a place where he can also communicate to the galaxy at large the truth about what's happening on Salin. The journey is long and fraught with difficulty, and the group fights a series of engagements along the way.

Unfortunately, I didn't find this book as entertaining as Freehold, Contact with Chaos and The Weapon, and it seemed to end rather abruptly, as if Williamson had simply stopped when he fulfilled his contractual page count obligation.

1 comment:

Irish said...

Thanks for stopping by I will be back to check out your reviews :)