Fighting for tomorrow's children, Squad Beta launches a suicide attack against a merciless alien enemy that has never known defeat. In the era of total galactic war, can one squad really make a difference?
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Soldier of the Legion
The Black March
Victory or Death!
Welcome to the kitchen of the Gods, a forbidding volcanic cauldron guarded by merciless, invulnerable Omni aliens and giant, primitive exosegs. As the young Legion trooper Thinker and his comrades of Squad Beta fight their way into the Camp of the O's on Andrion 3, they fear their only mission is to die for the Legion. Their enemy has never known defeat, and they find themselves helpless and terrified in the grip of the alien's awesome psypower. The battlefield is soon littered with the pitted, smoking A-suits of Thinker's closest comrades.
The secrets that the squad uncovers on Andrion 3 will transform galactic politics and launch Beta into a seemingly suicidal attack against Omni targets on a hostile System world. As they drop onto Mongera like microbes, they know it must be victory or death. Failure will mean extinction for their species. Forced to cooperate with their sworn Systie enemies, they meet the O in a burning city and duel with it under nuclear skies. Thinker's Legion lover Priestess is right by his side, and they vow they will live or die together. They both know that immortality is a cruel joke for a Legion trooper, and the angel of death is with them every instant. As he advances on the O, Thinker is filled with a burning resolve and vows that if he goes out it will be with a record body count.
In the era of total galactic warfare, can one squad really make a difference?
The Black March is the second book of a six part series that follows Thinker's adventures in the service of the people of ConFree. Other titles in the series include Soldier of the Legion, Slave of the Legion, Secret of the Legion, Cross of the Legion and Curse of the Legion.
For sample chapters from The Black March, please see my website www.soldierofthelegion.com .
Midwest Book Review - The Black March
The Black March - Review by Laurel Johnson for Midwest Book Review
"It's been a long wait for the second in this exciting series of sci-fi books. I must admit that the attraction for me is Marshall Thomas's writing style and story telling ability. This book picks up where the last left off, with the Legion facing a scourge that threatens all life forms throughout the universe – the Omnis. Once again, the action is heart pounding, the characters believable and well developed. This time, adding interest to the plot, the Legion juggles political intrigue and betrayal along with fighting the Omnis.
"Thinker and his fellow Legionnaires are battle weary and beaten down, although their courage is never in question. The Confederation of Free Worlds can replace their shattered limbs and perforated organs, keep their warriors immortal in most cases, but little can be done to repair their psyches. The warriors are little more than walking wounded as they gear up to face the Omnis on a volcanic planet of primeval chaos. The Omnis are a plague on the Universe, a creature with psychic powers and an arsenal of weapons the Legion can't easily overcome.
"Arch enemy, the United Systems Alliance, is willing to make a truce with the Confederation to defeat the Omnis. Will Thinker and his Unit survive betrayal and defeat the Omnis? Readers experience breath taking action and frightening battles on alien worlds before learning the outcome. Sci-fi fans or readers who enjoy good writing should love this book This series is highly recommended.
"The Black March
Book Two of the Soldier of the Legion Series
by Marshall S. Thomas
250 pages at 15.95 paperback
P.O. Box 2399
Bangor ME 04402"
Thunder Child Review of The Black March
The Black March - Review by Caroline Miniscule for the Thunder Child Science Fiction & Fantasy Web Magazine.
"The time: A future in which mankind is fighting for survival against an all-powerful alien enemy.
The place: A volcanic rock called Andrion Three
The event: When we last left Thinker and the rest of the Beta Squad, they had found themselves and their make-shift metallic raft inexorably swept away from their battle with the Omnis by a river of lava, teetering on the edge of a lavafall, and then, amidst screams of terror, sucked over the edge.
Marshall Thomas returns with the second installment in his military science fiction series detailing the adventures of the soldiers of the Legion, in particular those of Beta Squad, as told by Thinker, a young man who embraces his fate to live or die for the Legion.
I awoke to a great light shining directly into my eyes. My body ached, but it was beyond pain, just as I was beyond pain. I propped myself up on my elbows and looked around. I was stunned.
I was clad in my A-suit on a black beach on the shore of a vast, luminous white lava sea that glowed under dark skies. Little volcanic islands rose here and there in the sea, smoking. On the lake's distant shores, great steaming slabs of tortured rock rose almost straight up to an opaque sky. Overhead, evil clouds streaked the sky, clouds with glittering edges of fire, a volcanic sky.
The galaxy is divided between the System - an empire that has enslaved the worlds of the inner systems, and the Confederation of Free Worlds, or ConFree. The ConFree is defended by the Legion - male and female soldiers clad in A-suits (anthropomorphic armor that protects them from just about every weapon...just about, but not quite) who have given up their old lives and forged new ones, who live only to fight and die together...and who are tasked with saving human civilization.
They are ranked against not only the "Systies," but also the Omni, a warlike alien race possessing psychic ability, who feed on mankind physically as well as mentally. And on Andrion Three, Beta Squad discovers that the "Systies" have been collaborating with the Omnis...and that their own government has known about and aided and abetted this collaboration.
After rescue from Andrion Three, the Squad's next assignment is, along with Gamma Squad, to infiltrate Mongera, a planet where the Systies have allowed the Omnis to establish a base.
The ship was shaking itself apart, a falling star, a meteor, hurling itself at Mongera's tortured surface.
"We die today," Valkyrie said dreamily.
"We die together," Boudicca replied quietly.
Outstanding leadership, I thought glumly. [Valkyrie and Boudicca are part of Gamma Squad]
"That O is going to die too, guys," Sassin announced. He was armed with a massive plasma manlink, another horrendous toy for our O to ponder.
"I'm staying right next to you, Sassin," Scrapper said. "I've got no plans to die."
"Nobody's going to die," Snow Leopard cut in, "except the O. Listen to me and follow orders, gang. We came back from Coldmark, we came back from Andrion Three, and we're coming back from Mongera! Nobody dies!"
That was the difference between Beta One and Gamma One. I'd walk into Hell for Beta One, but I wouldn't cross the street for Gamma One."
Thomas' prose is a return to the breathless, adjective-heavy style of the classic pulps, with non-stop descriptions, deep-dyed evil alien monstrosities, and rousing battle sequences...interspersed by Thinker's endless monologuing on every aspect of a Legion soldier's service, and the conflicts between the ConFrees, the Systies, and the O's.
When Thomas is describing the battle scenes the book moves along at a breakneck pace, with plenty of suspense. However, he's also introduced a love triangle into the mix - with Thinker as the object of affection between Valkyrie - a top-notch killing machine, and Priestess, a medic, and we're frequently treated to Thinker's agonizing over his betrayal of Valkyrie and his emotions for Priestess, and his feelings about life, which sometimes got on this reviewer's nerves.
Neverthless, Thomas has created an intense view of the future, designed and populated over twenty years worth of work. The back of the book contains a glossary featuring excerpts from the ConFree Handbook - which gives the history of the conflict between the ConFree, the System and the Omnis, and a list of the worlds - slave and free - that occupy the galaxy. At the back of Soldier of the Legion we have a glossar of definitions of technical terms used in the books, explanations of the various weapon systems, and a description of the weaponry of the Omnis.
There's plenty more information, and illustrations, at the Soldier of the Legion website.
If you like military science fiction in the style of the classic pulps, chances are you'll enjoy this series."
Link to The Thunder Child Science Fiction & Fantasy Web Magazine: http://thethunderchild.com/Reviews/Books/Fiction/Military/TheBlackMarch.html
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