Saturday, March 30, 2013

Books: Terms of Enlistment


"Terms of Enlistment" is a military science-fiction novel by Marko Kloos, aka The Munchkin Wrangler. In the book, a young man named Andrew Grayson escapes from the overcrowded slums of Earth the only way he knows: by enlisting in the armed forces of the North American Commonwealth, to fight battles on this planet and beyond.

The reader follows Grayson's military career, from basic training to pitched battles in urban war zones. Obviously, there's a lot of "Starship Troopers" in the novel (Grayson has a girlfriend who joins the Navy and becomes a dropship pilot). However, unlike Heinlein, Kloos doesn't insert much rhetoric into the piece, which keeps things moving at a brisk pace. This includes the centerpiece of the book, a "Black Hawk Down"-esque rescue mission that presents a tense (and pretty convincing) portrait of near-future infantry warfare.

On the downside, I found that the protagonist and his love interest were a bit unrealistic - skilled, courageous, respectful. I can't remember Grayson ever screwing up, failing, or arguing with his girlfriend, and I thought some of the other characters (like the butt-kicking, authority-bucking Sergeant Fallon) were more interesting. Still, this is only the first book in the series, and there's plenty of time for those kinds of wrinkles to get introduced.

The sequel, "Lines of Departure," drops in May, and a third book and companion novel are planned.

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