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    Review of MARCH TO THE STARS by David Weber and John Ringo

    Baen, January 2003

    Prince Roger, his small band of surviving human marines, and his larger group of native allies has slogged their way across a continent, built a fleet, and now have only one more continent, one high technology human base, and one spaceship to go. Or so they think. Proving once again that Murphy's law is in full force, things are about to get worse. MARCH TO THE STARS continues the series begun with MARCH UPCOUNTRY (see our review) and MARCH TO THE SEA. (see our review) Roger has fully matured as a fighting machine with barely a trace of the obnoxious youth that began the adventure.

    MARCH delivers battles against a sea monster, pirates on sailing ships, an Aztec-like civilization as disciplined and organized as any that Roger and company have trained, the high-tech space port, and finally a surprisingly equipped 'merchant' ship. Authors David Weber (see more reviews of novels by Weber) and John Ringo (see more reviews of novels by Ringo) deliver a carefully thought out series of military tactics and weaponry designed for each type of combatant that Roger and his marines face.

    Weber and Ringo raise the stakes considerably at the halfway point--it is no longer enough merely to survive the planet Marduk. Instead, Roger will be forced to confront a galaxy of enemies once he emerges into 'civilized' space. This realization raises the emotional stakes as Roger realizes that his future plans for a marriage with Despreaux have become a wishful fantasy.

    Fans of military fiction will enjoy the way Roger's native allies have progressed from pike-carrying cannon fodder to hightly skilled skirmishers who now have asparations to fight in space itself. A few author-intrusive digressions into the nature of religion and whether abortion constitutes a type of infanticide similar to that encouraged by the Baal faith and discussions of twenty-ninth century archeological discoveries pull the reader out of the fantasy without adding anything to the plot, but these are forgettable once we get back into the action.

    I'd be interested in the take from any of my readers from India or another country 'civilized' by the British Empire because there are definitely parts of this book that seem to nod to this episode in world history--and not just Weber/Ringo's frequent nod to Kipling. Mail me.

    Four Stars

    Reviewed 2/01/03

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