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Star Corps: Book One of The Legacy Trilogy    by Ian Douglas order for
Star Corps
by Ian Douglas
Order:  USA  Can
Eos, 2003 (2003)
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

I have been looking forward to this book for some time, having enjoyed the author's previous Heritage Trilogy. This new Legacy Trilogy continues in the same universe featuring US Marines in space - later in time but with many familiar names, such as Garroway and Warhurst. It's a bit of a slow start as the author establishes a context for the new series. We see a Marine Sergeant at an embassy under siege on Ishtar, which is a moon of Marduk, a gas giant circling the Llalande sun. We wonder what humans are doing there and gradually find out as the story unfolds. It turns out that this is all that is left of the Empire of the Ahannu and the human slaves they exported from Earth long ago. There are different theories about whether their civilization was destroyed by civil war or by the feared Hunters of the Dawn.

Actors in this episode include Captain Martin Warhurst, first seen defending the Giza Complex on Earth, and John, a Garroway descendant on the maternal side who leaves his abusive father for boot camp and later the stars. Both end up on an expedition to relieve the forces on Ishtar and to free its human slaves. Douglas gives us the same formula that made his Heritage Trilogy so successful - tough Marines in innovative space action, including a newbie recruit who comes of age in the service; governments at odds with each other and religious fanaticism on Earth; and an individualist, slightly flawed scientist (she doesn't have a strong role in this episode). In this case, though the enemy being fought are the Ahannu, the true bad guys are officers of PanTerra, a multinational that is taking its nefarious plans off the planet (making it a multigalactic?)

There's plenty of action and casualties when the expeditionary force finally arrives in Ishtar, including urban warfare and a thrilling Battle of the Pyramid. It becomes even more interesting when the reader gets to see from the point of view of one of the Ahannu, a god-warrior and a Keeper of the Memories. Star Corps is a great read (though I missed the frequent literary references of the first series, and also its unique style of weaponry, such as beer cans and human waste.) The epilogue introduces the next episode with action, and possibly a new alien enemy, in the Sirius system. I hope we don't have to wait too long for it.

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