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    MARCH UPCOUNTRY by David Weber and John Ringo

    Baen, May 2001

    Prince Roger MacClintock is a fop and the whole galaxy knows it. It's only natural that his mother, Empress Alexandra tries to get him out from her hair. When sabotage lands him and his bodyguards on an enemy-occupied planet, Roger finds that he is without friends, without authority, and cast into the type of situation he's spent his life avoiding. Now all they have to do is march halfway around a planet, fight off natives and terrible predators, and then capture a guarded and forewarned enemy spaceport. It would help if any of the men with Roger had some use for him, but that would be asking too much.

    After a somewhat slow start, authors David Weber (see more reviews of novels by this author) and John Ringo (see more reviews of novels by this author) throw Roger and his unfriendly band into harm's way. With his background in safaris on multiple planets, Roger actually knows something about survival in battles against unfriendly predators, but even when he knows the right thing to do, he somehow manages to do it in a way that creates more problems than it solves.

    MARCH UPCOUNTRY is pure and straightforward military space-opera but you can't help enjoying it. Weber and Ringo somehow manage to redeem Roger, making him sympathetic while making his guard's frustration understandable as well. During the voyage, Roger and company learn the limitations of modern arms, and more about civilization, barbarism, and finally something about growing as people--those who are still alive at the end of the novel.

    Although MARCH UPCOUNTRY doesn't represent anything new to science fiction readers, it is an engrossing and exciting read.

    Four Stars

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