Chains of Command by Marko Kloos

Disclaimer: I received an eARC from Net Galley. In addition, I kicked in money to Marko’s Semper Fi fundraiser, and as a result, my wife’s name is in the back of the book.

Twitter Summary: Explosive, tightly written side quest that sets up next book to be a doozy.

Affiliate Links:Chains of Command (Frontlines) First book in the series Terms of Enlistment (Frontlines) , Frontline: Reqiuem (comic)

First Line: We now call it the Exodus.

I’ve been reading the Frontline series by Marko Kloos since I ran across book one in Nov of ’13, a few months after it’s publication date of 8 May 13. It’s been less than three years, and we already have four novels, and a couple short stories set in the world. A quick Tweet to the other, and I got back that there will be at least two more, though the POV character for the 6th may change. This is in addition to the comic that’s coming out in May 15. Quite a prodigious output.

One which doesn’t seem to diminish the quality of the story. His novels have been on my pre-order and devour immediately list since the first one. And while I thought that there was a minor plot hole with this one, one easily explained away by the fog of war, I believe that he has consistently improved his craft. This is the best yet.

Look at that first line! Immediately I wanna know “Who is we? What did we call it? Why that name”

I especially like how the book seems to pull a Force Awakens, and follows a lot of the story beats of the first book. We start out in boot camp, we get to a unit with Platoon Sergeant Fallon, and then we go do some urban warfighting. That is of course, a super abbreviated version of the story, but I don’t want to give anything away.

What I will give away is that the story goes like an Orion rocket. I devoured the book over the course of a couple of days, and it wouldn’t have taken that long if I hadn’t been out all day yesterday.  Marko’s POV character is relatable. He wants to do his job, spend time with his wife, and maybe occasionally blow the shit out of some aliens. Who doesn’t have a day like that?

It’s not all jingoistic, ra ra, crap either. The scenes on Earth with Grayson’s mother, and various conversation he has with friends and enemies alike, point to both the futility and the horror of war. He delves into what isa  just or unjust order, and what is a just or unjust war. This is a MilSciFi novel that understands that MilSciFi doesn’t have to be loving descriptions of viscera splattered across airlocks, or exhausting detail of the construction of a blaster pistol. You actually care about both the character, and the state of the world that he lives in.

Final Verdict: Highly Recommended. Kloos continues to be one of the authors whose works I preorder in both e and deadtree, because I want them on my shelf. I very much look forward to all hell breaking loose in the fifth book.

Other Recommendations:

The works of author Jay Allan. Jay’s Crimson World series starts at a similar place, with some similar pieces, but the story that gets spun out of it is much different. Jay also writes at an incredibly prodigious pace and has self published 20+ novels in the last five years, with three tradpubbed as well. Also on my immediate purchase list. The first three Crimson World are in an omnibus for cheap. Highly recommended. Crimson Worlds Collection I: Crimson Worlds Books 1-3

His Harper Voyager series is about Mercenary Space Pirates. Also awesome. First book is  Shadow of Empire

Chains of Command by Marko Kloos

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