Rating:

5 Small Stars
Blood United

Well, I think this is the end of the line for this series. If so, there’s one thing that didn’t get done. Both Ester and Noah have had successful UFMC careers their Dad would certainly be proud of, but their Dad (and Mom) aren’t dead or at least I believe they are still alive, but in seclusion somewhere. Why didn’t they show up at the last of this book? Would have been a nice ending.

Still, Esther has been promoted to Lieutenant Colonel and given a Battalion of Marines to command. This is a job with huge responsibilities 24/7. And her Battalion is going into battle on almost every mission they are given. It’s a wonder her battalion hasn’t gone bonkers with all the combat that’s been and will be hosted on them in this book. Of course they have periods where they are just floating around in space aboard a Navy ship taking them to their next mission, but that lull never makes of for the terror of combat.

Through some interesting circumstances, Esther has been given the authority to bring her brother, Noah, into the Battalion as her Battalion Sergeant Major. That’s not only unusual, but since he’s just make First Sergeant, it’s highly unlikely that something like this would happen. I’m sure there were a great many other Master Sergeants/First Sergeants with the appropriate time-in-grade and experience that could have filled this billet. By the time you make Lieutenant Colonel, you should have already determine whom you’ll be bring along with you when your Battalion command comes along. She’s never worked with her brother and he’s actually in tanks not infantry so that right there is kind of a problem. Still, as a First Sergeant, Noah, is doing mostly admin stuff so he’ll not be doing anything much different as a Sergeant Major except he’ll be responsible for the health and welfare of all the enlisted in the Battalion.

So, since this is only a story, Noah, becomes Esther’s new Battalion Sergeant Major even though he’s only initially “frocked” to the rank. “Frocked”, as you’ll find out, means he gets to put on the rank (E-9) and gets all the responsibilities of his position, he’ll only get paid as an E-8. Some would say that’s not a very good deal, but, guess who’s almost certainly going to be permanently promoted when he meets time-in-grade requirements for that E-9 rank. The only downside to this goes back to the story of their Dad and his Brother-in-Law both assigned to the same mission. Ryck Lysander had to order said Brother-in-Law to say behind and cover the withdrawal of the escape of the surviving civilians and Marines. The Brother-ln-Law didn’t make it home. Neither Esther nor Noah want that to happen, but they both realize one or the other could die at the expense of the other surviving. In this case, while Lieutenant Colonel Lysander has the command authority to order her Battalion Sergeant Major to withdrawal while she stays, she and Noah both know that won’t happen. Noah has a responsibility to protect his Battalion Commander at all costs. She has to be able to command the battalion or what’s left of it under any circumstances. If that requires Noah to stay behind he’ll do it even if he has to throw his commander on the rescue vehicle.

Will this come to past, you’ll have to read the story. This story does kind of bring back my own memories. I had the fortunate experience of commanding an artillery battalion. The current Battalion Sergeant Major was unknown to me and I did not get glowing reports about him from the out going Commander. So, I was kind of considering bringing in someone I was used to and comfortable with, but I decided to have a long talk with the current Battalion Sergeant Major. Long story short, I quickly found out that my predecessor didn’t know how to properly use a Battalion Sergeant Major and wouldn’t listen to him practically at all. I believed this because I knew the other Lieutenant Command and he was the arrogant, know-it-all type, which I didn’t particularly get along with much. So, I kept the current Battalion Sergeant Major and we put together a fantastic Artillery Battalion, the best in the Division. I couldn’t have done it without him and a few others. Ok, sorry for the side story.

I’m pretty sure you’ll find this book just as good as the previous books. I don’t know where this one will lead, but I do know there is a short-story follow-up to this which I might have to read. It’s out and titled, “CODA (A United Federation Marine Corps Short Story”. I hope it includes what I mentioned in paragraph one.