In Review: For More Than Glory

An enjoyable read, but the first in the series with a sequel necessary to conclude plotlines.

For More Than Glory by William C. Dietz

Published by Titan Books, April 3, 2015. Paperback of 455 pages at £7.99.

The cover: One of the infamous cyborgs of the Legion, painted in camouflage, sports a monstrous gun — seen just under the author’s name — while having all seven of its searchlights on. The ‘borg has a nice alien quality to it, which is exactly how its enemies must view it. The illustration is by Dreamstime/Funny Little Fish. It’s a good image, but isn’t as strong as previous entries in this series, because much of the character is dully painted and it’s weapon obscured. Overall grade: B+

The premise: From the back cover, “Legio patria nostra. The elite fighting force of the Human Empire, the Legion of the Damned, have hardly recovered from their last battle before flames of rebellion and violence begin to flicker in another corner of the Confederation. This time, the backwater world of LaNor, light years distant, is the location of intense political and social strife. Legion Lieutenant Tony Santana finds himself stationed on LaNor. The recent discovery of the planet has triggered an influx of various alien races shouldering for control of its valuable resources and strategic position. With the help of a diminished crew of Legionnaires, Santana must subdue the rebellion of the LaNor natives and delve into the heart of a sinister conspiracy that threatens to bring the vulnerable Confederation to its knees.” I’ve read the books prior to this, as well as the first two of the Andromeda series, and enjoyed all of them. I’m looking forward to seeing what Dietz does this time. Overall grade: A

The characters: Bill Booly III is the first major character introduced to the reader, though he plays the smallest part in this novel. He’s a general gunning to take out the two war ships, Ibutho and Guerrero, that the Syndicate use to attack Confederation ships. He and his Legionnaires easily take over the base the ships were at, but just missed them, and now he has to take an indirect route to find them. I didn’t like the sections of the book when he appeared because it was taking me away from the main story that featured Tony Santana. He’s been demoted to lieutenant after not following a commanding officer’s orders; though he was in the right and the CO died as a result of his own incompetence. Santana is soldier who wants his men to be as good as he is, and he’s quick on his feet, gaining the respect of this men and others. Among this group is Foreign Service Officer Christine Vanderveen. She’s involved at the lowest level of Confederation on LaNor but is catapulted up after she works as an in-between for her boss and one of the locals. She proves to be more than just a pencil pusher when the action begins, and this is due to her father’s teachings. She and Santana are attracted to each other, but their situations don’t allow them to act on their desires, providing some sexual tension. Ex-President Sergi Chien-Chu returns, in a new body, but he’s acting in an undercover capacity on LaNor due to concerns that his business venture there is involved in criminal gain. Events conspire to put him back into the thick of things politically, and it was fun to read his take of situations. One of the villains of the novel is Regar Batth, an insect of the Ramanthian species. He’s a diplomat on LaNor but is conspiring with his Queen to gain control of the world so that a portion of his world’s impending 5 billion young have a planet to grow on. He was wonderfully arrogant and devious and I found him fun. There are other villains to be sure, but to reveal who is an antagonist would ruin part of the surprise when intentions are learned. I found all of the characters on LaNor to be very enjoyable; if only Booly wasn’t interupting. Overall grade: B+ 

The settings: LaNor is a terrific planet. It’s got mountains, tough for a cyborg to climb, forests, wooded plains, swamps, rivers, and a town created by the aliens that have made their home there. It provided excellent natural obstacles for both sides of the battles, as well as places to hide and materials to use when the conflict got primitive. I would love for Dietz to return to this world. Overall grade: A 

The action: This is a ground war battle with a minimal amount of futuristic hardware. There are no airships for combat or rescue. The Legionnaires must use what they have on them, and then use what the environment provides. As the battle progressed, supplies realistically ran out, and the Legionnaires had to improvise and make every bullet count. It was refreshing to read a military adventure where there is not an endless supply of ammunition and weapons. If something broke, it was tossed aside as there was no way to fix it. It’s always interesting to read a story where a force with more advanced weapons does battle with a force considered primitive, but has superior numbers. This is where the book went, and, though I have read it and seen it a million times over, Dietz made it entertaining. I couldn’t stop turning pages. Overall grade: A+

The conclusion: There’s a slight stumble here, as with the inclusion of Booly. One of the alien races is involved in a major plan that the heroes are racing to stop and there’s no resolution to it. This is the first time in this series that I’ve read Dietz leaving a sequel so blatantly open. Granted, these books should be read in order, but each could be read in isolation and a reader feel all ends tied up. Not this time, and that was a disappointment. I want to read the next book in this series; I just wanted it to wrap up as tightly as previous books. Overall grade: B

The final line: An enjoyable read, but the first in the series with a sequel necessary to conclude plotlines. The action is some of the finest in military science fiction. Overall grade: B+

Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer’s Guide for several years with “It’s Bound to Happen!” and he’s reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He’s taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.

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