I enjoyed this book tremendously! Yeah, that’s a strong statement, but it’s the absolute truth. It’s the kind of military science fiction story that I could read forever. I hope this series has a very long life. I’m becoming a huge fan of Mr. Partlow. I’ve read some of his books in the past and not to long ago, I re-read one of his books and I don’t ever do that. Seems like the first time I read, “Duty, Honor and Planet” it wasn’t part of a series, but that’s no longer true and I’m well into the “Wholesale Slaughter Series”. I highly recommend that series if you haven’t found it yet.
But, on to what we’re reading now. I’m a retired Army guy so when the main character in a story is a retired or former veteran of any kind, I kind of jump right in an empathize with them pretty quickly. This time we’re meeting Andy Clanton, Marine, currently living as a science fiction writer! There’s one thing Mr. Partlow got wrong in his introduction of Mr. Clanton; he called him a “former” Marine and I don’t believe those exist. i.e., “once a Marine, always a Marine”! Andy fits that bill to a T. Even in his early forties, he’s healthy and in some kind of good shape. He better have been.
Right now he’s actually on a Gatlin Aerospace shuttle blasting off for a meeting with the International Space Station and then on to the Selenium for its first lunar orbit mission. About two year ago, Mr. Gatlin has announced his intent to do this very mission and was looking for some one non-technical, who could convey this trip in words that others would understand. While he had looked for some of the well known science fiction writers, they all were not in the best of shape, so Andy Clanton got the ticket and he was going. He wouldn’t have passed this up for nothing (and neither would I)!
There were a few other people along for the ride including Andy and of course, Mr. Gatlin. Their pilot was Captain Julie Nieves, USNR, and Dr. Patel, the mission medical officer. The shuttle up to Mr. Gatlin’s private orbital station wasn’t all that big, but the ride was comfortable much as blasting off into space could be. When they got to the orbital station, there wasn’t much to see or do since it wasn’t much of a station. I housed the living quarters for the work crews who built the Selenium in space over the last eighteen months. Now that their work was mostly done, they had gone back to Earth. Everything was going great for the pending moon orbit, until it wasn’t!
A major announcement was getting ready to be made by the President of the United States at the very moment Andy was just floating around in the orbital station. Mr. Clanton had set up one of the monitors to capture the announcement and what the President said shocked them to their cores! The Selenium wasn’t the only space ship in our neighborhood of space! It should have been! Now that the US knew about this unknown ship, they were going to send someone to investigate and since we already had people in space and a space ship with them, the US Government decided to step in and take charge of this situation! Oh, dear! That’s usually when everything goes wrong!
So the plan was for the US Space Forces to send up the Orion to dock with Mr. Gatlin’s orbital station and then to commandeer his Selenium so they could then meet with whomever occupied the unknown spaceship. That was the plan, a very hasty plan and not one very well thought out. Let’s just say it got off to a real bad start when the Orion broke the docking solar on the orbital station after the other shuttle had been set adrift. Now instead of going back down to Earth on the Orion, Andy Clanton and his group found themselves drafted into this first contact mission to meet with who know who or what.
Let’s just go on and say that with the President of the United States asking you to do something and he renames you Captain Clanton, you probably need to figure that somehow you once again a Marine Captain whether you like it or not. And so begins Andy’s new career as a Marine. He’s a very good one at that and will be meeting some challenges never before faced by any Marine. It’s a good thing he’s going to have some US Army Rangers and a bunch of Delta Force guys with him. If Andy ever gets back to Earth and has the time to write again, he’s going to be able to sell some really great non-science fiction books that are the stuff of science fiction just a few days ago! That is if he lives through all this stuff!
I honestly thought the book could have stopped in three distinct places, but the author kept writing and that was just fine with me. Even when this book does finish, we keep on with a kind of background short-story that tells all about the first time Lieutenant Andy Clanton ran into Master Sergeant Jambo. And, yeah, you’ll be reading a lot about these two. This short background book is just as well done as the first book in this series. I’ve already downloaded the second book, “Primary Targets” and I’ll definitely be reading the third book when it’s published. These are way too good to pass up!