March Upcountry Review


From BooklistnHis Highness Prince Roger MacClintock is third in line to rule the Empire of Man, a federation of worlds that originated long ago on Earth. No one takes Roger seriously, however, especially his empress mother. With the possibility of war with the empire's archrivals brewing, she sends Roger on a meaningless mission far away. But his ship is sabotaged, and he must make an emergency landing on a disputed planet, Marduka. Accompanied by a company of fiercely loyal marines and a great deal of firepower, Roger battles his way across Marduka in search of its only spaceport. In his pampered days a clotheshorse and the definition of petulance, Roger now learns what it means to be a marine as the company slaughters literally thousands of Mardukian life-forms and outwits a ruthless king, prime directive be damned! With their intermediary arms and propensity for swordplay, the Mardukians are much like the green Martians of Edgar Rice Burroughs' John Carter yarns, and Roger even forms a bond with a Tars Tarkas sort of character, Cord. As for Roger's marines, they would be too gung ho to believe if their creators, Weber and Ringo, weren't veterans themselves, so that their fictional soldiers' repartee, punctuated with humor and pathos, is convincingly fatalistic. This is as good as military sf gets, though it could get tiresome if it goes on beyond the promised sequel, March to the Sea. John MortnCopyright American Library Association. All rights reserved