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Barghest by Susan Amund

 

Earth has had a bloody, disastrous first contact with an alien species, and humanity barely managed to survive their victory over the invaders. The planet had been struggling: wars, famine, environmental and industrial disasters, and achievements in science that came faster than morality could catch up. After the repulsion, advanced alien technology was reverse engineered to allow a massive leap forward in space exploration – and a fighting chance against an enemy that continued to attack. Earth united under a single government, the Sol Confederation. The world Congress and the Sol Coalition military forces spent the next century fighting a war across star systems.

In 2148, Sergeant Clara Maker is more than halfway through her obligatory two years of service in the military when she becomes involved in a new wave of aggressive attacks. She wants nothing more than to finish her duty tour and return to Earth, but a career as a soldier may not be something she can escape. Not with her life intact.

Congress and the Sol Coalition have acknowledged that the war cannot be won without taking drastic measures. Trillions of credits have been invested in researching new technology and strategies that might turn the tide. Although humans have reaped the benefits of genetic engineering advancements since before the invasion, it was only to improve the quality of life: eliminating hundreds of physical and developmental disorders. For some leaders on Earth, the next step is an obvious choice. To save their species, they must create a new one.

There are those who argue that super-soldiers, created in a laboratory, designed and raised to obey the Sol Coalition and defend a society that has spent generations shedding undesirable traits from their DNA, are not a step towards peace. Faster and stronger, bred for war, those soldiers were created to fight and die on behalf of humans that would shun them – if their existence was made public. The secret research project could give Clara Maker what she desires most – a life without war. Or, it could rip apart the fragile unity Earth developed against a common enemy.

Note: Barghest contains pervasive graphic violence; also, some harsh language.


A serialized novel, updating weekly

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Listed: May 2, 2016

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Fetch! Play dead! Genocide!

By Stable, author of The Archive Of Unusual Events

Jul 26, 2016: I’ve just caught up with the full 25 chapters of Barghest. This includes everything you could hope for from a military/space opera story including conniving politicians, a dystopian political system right out of starship troopers, evil aliens threatening all of humanity and heroic deeds by smarter-than-average grunts. It also has genetically engineered super soldiers, of both human and essentially anthropoid wolf (the Barghest of the title) varieties.

I love how alien the aliens are. The descriptions of them do a lot better than the "like humans but with funny ears and colours" we often get. The only downside is that the evil wanna-be genocidal aliens are so inhuman and inscrutable that there’s yet to be any reason given for their war with humanity. I’m assuming one will come up eventually, as well as the reason why they have been messing around instead of crushing humanity with their combined forces. It had better be a good reason though, or this story will take a hit in credibility.

The writing is enjoyable and each chapter has a good wordcount. The only weak points in the action are the flashback scenes to high school for one of the characters,which are at least good worldbuilding material. If you like space opera, or the starship troopers movie (I’ve got the book on my shelf waiting for me to stop reading so many web serials), this is worth a read.

4 of 4 members found this review helpful.
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