Asbaran Solutions can be found on Amazon here. First, a confession. I have known Chris Kennedy and Mark Wandrey for several years, having met them at Liberty Con in Chattanooga. But I have met a lot of authors at conventions, and sometimes I review their books. Also, I don’t do bad reviews. I’m not in this to make enemies, and a bad review can come back to bite you in the ass. That said, I also don’t do reviews that I wouldn’t stand behind. I have been asked to contribute to an anthology set in this Universe. With all the items on my plate at the moment, including a new book contract, I would only agree to write a story for a Universe that I enjoy reading myself. This series is a winner, and I was happy to accept. Now on to the review.
The Revelations Cycle is set in a Galaxy populated by thousands of technologically advanced sapient species. After a history of disastrous wars, combat has been ritualized to lessen its destruction of valuable property and reduce collateral damage. And not all species are natural warriors. Some are unable to defend themselves, while others are bloodthirsty barbarians who revel in combat. Bring in humans, not the most bloodthirsty, but with the aid of combat armor, one of the most proficient. Humanity needs cash to be able to enter the Galactic Market, and they really don’t have anything to offer, except their lives. So mercenary companies earn the cash that Earth needs. There are a large number of companies, but the most famous of all are the Four Horsemen, the only survivors of a disastrous mission in the past that wiped out all of the other companies involved.
Mercenaries are used to secure valuable targets, or to take them away from competitors. Some weapons and tactics are forbidden, including the use of biological weapons and bombardment from space. Some of the alien species don’t always play by the rules, which leads to complications, including those in this story. Nigel Shirazi is the oldest son of the current leader of Asbaran Solutions, one of the Four Horsemen. His displays of temper have gotten him thrown out of several colleges, and out of his inherited position. When a contract target is taken from Asbaran by a force of aliens, using forbidden weapons, the males of the family attempt several assaults to get it back, losing their units and their lives in the process. When Nigel’s sister is captured, it is up to him to rally the bankrupt company and accomplish the mission, bringing in a grand payday that will save the company, and rescue his sister as well. Don’t want to spoil the story, so that’s all I’ll say. Just know that it is a tight, action packed tale that is sure to please fans of military science fiction. There is a lot of violence, and Kennedy reminded me a little of George R R Martin in the way he killed off characters. But war is a bloody business, and Kennedy captures the camaraderie of living on the edge of the combat soldier. Highly recommended.