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March Upcountry    by David Weber & John Ringo order for
March Upcountry
by David Weber
Order:  USA  Can
Baen, 2001 (2001)

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* *   Reviewed by Wesley Williamson

This collaboration of two of the most prominent military science fiction writers is enough to make fans drool before they even start reading, and a sequel is already on the way. Prince Roger MacClintock is a disappointment to himself as well as to the rest of the Imperial family, including his mother the Empress. As for his father, it is forbidden even to mention his name at Court. The Prince is appalled when his mother orders him on a diplomatic mission to a remote planet of little note, but reluctantly embarks, accompanied by an escort of Bravo Company (Bronze Battalion) of the Empress' Own Regiment.

Prince Roger is even more appalled when a saboteur tries to blow up his transport, which results in the Prince and his escort being stranded on the planet Marduk, halfway around the world from the only spaceport, which in any event is held by deadly foes of the Empire. To reach it, Bravo Company must guard the Prince through tropical jungles swarming with damnbeasts, killerpillars, carniverous plants and hostile barbarian hordes, making allies where they can and fighting only when they must. Sometimes the Marine commander and his sergeant-major feel that the wild beasts and barbarians are the least of their worries; Prince Roger has difficulty realising that he has to adapt to his changed circumstances or die, and with him his Marine guard.

The action is fast and furious, the various native races and their political and military ramifications well executed, and Prince Roger's character and its gradual development well drawn and interesting; all as might be expected. Military SF fans will enjoy March Upcountry. Those who are not may well find it somewhat contrived and repetitive. Personally I loved it and can't wait for the sequel.

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