Unbreakable: The Chronicles of Promise Paen
W. C. Bauers
Tor, 2015 (2015)
Reviewed by Hilary Williamson
re you a military SF fan? Did you enjoy Robert Heinlein's
, Tanya Huff's outstanding
series starring space Marine Torin Kerr, Elizabeth Moon's wonderful Heris Serrano books, or David Weber's Honor Harrington epic? If so, you'll want to dive into a new universe of action in W. C. Bauers'
, first in the
Chronicle of Promise Paen
(and highly recommended by David Weber no less).
begins on the struggling frontier planet, Montana. Her family had settled there after Earth's death. Her mother Sandra dies when she is still young, but said mother's ghost hangs around to dole out encouragement and sound advice - mom was quite a firecracker in her day and Promise has inherited an ancient GLOCK pistol from her maternal line. She has always felt less comfortable with her pacifist father, though the wisdom he tried to share with her will also serve her well in her future career.
hen her unarmed father is slaughtered by pirates, Promise signs up with the Republic of Aligned Worlds Marine Corps. She's a sergeant when her unit is assigned back to metal-rich Montana, which the Lusitanian Empire plans to annex. Because she is from Montana, the admiral in charge of the mission gives Promise additional diplomatic duties. But the mission is ambushed on arrival by mercenaries and most senior officers killed. Promise's personal actions save key hostages as the Marines take back control of the planet.
he ends up a planetary hero, is promoted, and works closely with Montana's President Annie Buckmeister thereafter. Promise tells her crew, they have one understrength company of Marines '
to police and secure a planet of ninety-eight million people and keep the Lusies at bay
'. As she leads a David versus Goliath struggle against much superior forces (a Lusitanian squadron soon shows up in full force), Promise also finds a few scattered moments to admire planetary militia leader Jean-Wesley Partaine. But her duties always come first.
is a wonderful debut, with engaging characters (the dialog between Promise and her dead mother is a hoot), thrilling military action on land and in space, and a credible universe with good and not so good folk on both sides of humanity at war. I very much look forward to more of Promise Paen and her Marines.
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