Monday, October 8, 2012

The Heart of Valor by Tanya Huff

 Once again, (now) Gunnery Sergeant Torin Kerr is off on a "cake" assignment - escorting a severely wounded Major who has had his body rebuilt to a final test of his rehabilitation - the planet Crucible, where the space Marine recruits all must go for final testing to become Marines. As one might suspect, it turns out not to be a simple or safe assignment after all. Torin and her lover, salvage operator Craig Ryder, have discovered that they're the only people from her last mission who recall  the escape pod from the alien spacecraft, Big Yellow. The military and scientists took it away to study further, and now no one has any idea that it ever existed in the first place. She suspects that the Elder Races are playing around with mind control, and sends Craig off on an errand to talk with a journalist who went through the same experience, to see if their common experience of being scanned by Big Yellow has also made her immune to memory erasure.

When Torin arrives on Crucible with her charge, Major Svensson, and his personal physician, who is along to monitor his medical condition, things begin to go awry. The scenario that the recruits are scheduled to face gets thrown out the window, and the orbital platform which controls the drone enemy forces is blown up by persons unknown, though Torin suspects the Others. The limits on lethal force go out the window, and Torin and the DIs try to herd their platoon of recruits to a location that they can defend against all of the drones, tanks and aircraft that have suddenly focused on their destruction.

Another light and adventurous tale, with a good twist close to the end.

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