My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This novel is pretty much a direct follow-in to Citadel, and continues to be mostly Dana's story, with occasional appearances by Butch and some cameos by Vernon Tyler. Dana's story is pretty much an enactment of the proverbial Chinese curse "May you come to the attention of those in high places."
Her heroism at the end of the last book has made the Powers That Be decide that she's leadership material -- and send her to the new station, to command a squadron from the various Latin American countries. Reading all her struggles with the pervasive cultural dysfunctions, I'm wondering whether John Ringo picked Sarah Hoyt's brain on "the problems of cultures that derive from the patron-client culture of ancient Rome," or if it all comes from his own military experience. A lot of the problems really make me think of stuff Sarah's discussed in her blog, According to Hoyt.
This is a Baen book, so of course there will be victory at the end. Dana has an uphill climb to cut through the cultural issues and remold her team -- and that possessive represents a keen sense of responsibility, and a relationship akin to a mother bear and her cubs -- and resolves some significant issues on the way to victory.
My biggest complaint is that it leaves me wanting more. Sure, they've won a major battle -- but it's a battle in a long war. Think of telling the story of WWII and stopping after Midway.
I understand if there were legal issues (since this series started out as what was effectively a fanfic of the webcomic Schlock Mercenary, trying to find out how that 'verse started, and the creator liked it enough to give his OK), and I know about Mr. Ringo's fickle muse. All things considered, it's far better to be left wanting more than to have a series get to the point where you wish the author would just wind it up and write something else, as certain other authors have done.
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