This isn’t Buck Rogers – it’s Band of Brothers. The wahoo planet hopping adventures come later. Legionnaire eases the reader into the Galaxy’s Edge setting with one long fight scene set on one small planet. Tapping into modern disgust with the futile efforts at nation building in the Graveyard of Empires, the men of Victory Company feel like the sorts of guys you meet at your Ten Year High School Reunion you remember leaving small town America eager to do some good in the world and return jaded and haunted by their experiences as disposable pawns in meaningless games played by faceless men for whom words like honor and sacrifice are nothing more than levers with which to encourage naïve boys to fight and die for foolish dreams, empty platitudes, and industrial scale graft.
And that’s where Legionnaire elevates itself well above the standard sci-fi fare of today. Anspach and Cole have a knack for terse descriptions of characters that punch well above their word count. In six words, they turn throw-away characters into fully realized individuals with their own hopes, dreams, challenges, and vices. The fact that they paint even bit characters so vividly leads to a constant undercurrent of suspense as the reader can never rely on the plot or time investment to armor a character against an untimely end. On the flip side, they also have a knack for heel-face turns in the supporting cast that means the reader can never rely on a foil getting his just comeuppance. Just as often, the authors pull back from the brink of justice meted out and remind the reader that the man they have been conditioned to hate thanks to the point of view of one character, the reader can turn on a dime and root for that same awful character to make amends and redeem himself. Sometimes those troublesome characters even do so.
Rod Walker read the entire Galaxy’s Edge series in 2017, and he says without hesitation that it was his favorite science fiction series of the year. The first book was good, but each book gets successfully better. Plot elements introduced almost casually early on come roaring back with a vengeance later in the series.
Nick Cole and Jason Anspach are absolutely at the top of their game as writers. Additionally, they have mastered the business side of indie publishing. RW has not seen many people who do it better.
Looking forward to Galaxy’s Edge #7 later this year!