“Crimes of War”

Rating:

4 Small Stars
Crimes of War

Well, this was certainly a military science fiction story. There was a lot of killing and a lot of bloodshed. If you’re kind of squeamish, this book might not be for you. The main character is Emich Aumeier. Now I don’t know if that’s a German name or has some explanation behind it, but I found that name a little hard to pronounce. I guess, if you want a character’s name to stand out, then make it something no one has every heard before.

Anyway, this guy Aumeier is a soldier of sorts. He apparently starts out as a bad soldier since the opening scene shows him in a holding cell. We then get to go through a number of flashbacks showing how he got into the military and how he got in the predicament he now finds himself. Unfortunately, these flashbacks are a little confusing. You are immediately transferred to some other part of the story with no dates given. You have to figure out that, “Oh, this was when he was a young kid.” And then you continue to read about what happened during this part of his life. Nothing really nice happened to Emich.

Emich finds that his holding cell is really a staging area for some kind of experimental laboratory where he and his fellow inmates are the rats! And no, this isn’t an enemy prison or laboratory. His side of the war is trying to build a better human to combat the Niflheim. The Niflheim are an alien race that just showed up on Mars, destroyed everything human on the planet and started growing their own creatures. They are extremely advanced and don’t really have a problem with human warriors except the Niflheim haven’t really attacked Earth in force yet. They have sent some scout type ships which have done some damage in the areas they have landed, but those have eventually been destroyed after considerable effort by the humans.

There are several factions at work on Earth. I was never clear on who was doing what to whom. I think there were a group of humans working for the Niflheim, but I wasn’t sure. There’s the ERA, the NDA, and the Neo Ettin. These different elements seem to be fighting each other while the Niflheim fight and kill anything on Earth. Part of the story deals with a young girl who I believe was originally an ERA soldier like Emich, but for some reason is now with the Neo Ettin. Why she’s even in the book, I didn’t understand.

Back in the experimental laboratory, Erich is subjected to some kind of blood transplant whereas he survives to find out that his body now self repairs any and all damage. He’s subjected to sever torture by being shot, stabbed and otherwise brutalized only to feel his body fixing itself and putting him back in combat shape. Emich is already a pretty big guy so it’s not easy to restrain him. And now with his new ability, it’s not easy to contain him either. He manages to escape when the Neo Ettin attack the laboratory trying to free Niflheim that are also being held there.

Again on the run, he manages to join another military outfit under an assumed name and is doing fine until the owner of the Sindri Corporation finds him and wants Emich to complete the test on a new prototype exoskeleton suit that no one else seems capable of wearing. So, Emich agrees to test the exoskeleton combat suit as long as his identity is kept secret. Little does he know that the suit will be tested against a powerful Niflheim orbital weapon.

The books seems a little short and my copy ended very abruptly. I was given an free advanced ecopy to read although the book is already in paperback format. I liked the story and even the gruesome parts were well written. No real person could survive the kind of battles that Emich and his fellow soldiers have to go through so this is all real fiction stuff. The book is confusing with the lack of transition to the flashbacks. These just seem to appear whenever and don’t seem to follow a purpose other than to give us some background on Emich.

I would read a sequel or two if they do come out soon. It sounds as though this was going to be a series although you don’t even know if Emich survives his swift return to Earth.