Humanity's last encounter with aliens saw 16.2 billion people killed in a war with the Merkiaari that had spanned decades. Only by the grace of God and the use of Nanotechnology were they defeated. The result of that Nanotech? Vipers, a regiment of super soldiers tasked with protecting the Alliance and annihilating the Merki. It was a job they performed with distinction, a job they completed almost two centuries ago. A job that cost them their humanity.
Thurston is an unimportant border world with a problem, a Marine type problem. Not the sort of place Gunnery Sergeant Gina Fuentez expected to find one of the fabled Viper cyborgs, but that's just what she discovers when a simple mission to extract an operative from a terrorist camp leads to a firefight and two of her squad dead.
With friends dying around her and a world coming apart at the seams, Gina must decide if the Marine Corps is really her home, or just a stopping place to where she really belongs.
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Involving and imaginative
Rise of the Vipers!
I actually went straight into the audio version after listening to Hard Duty without reading the print version first. Whilst it is certainly true that Mark E Cooper has drawn me into the story with his characters and plot Mikael Narramore breathes life into those characters making each one stand out and adding excitement to every listening session.
From induction to creation and finally to deployment we have finally learnt more about vipers from what they are to why they react as they do. When we reach the Child of Harmony campaign they truly come into their own combating the Merkiaari and aiding the Shan ground forces.
From character interaction to location descriptions and scene setting Mikaels clean and crisp diction makes it easy to differentiate between participants and his tone and pace adds drama and excitement as required.
When Gina begins her augmentation process and it all goes to hell in a handbasket I found myself clenching my fists and hoping that it would somehow work out, that the medics knew what to do and could save her.
Mark E Cooper builds upon the work he begun in Hard Duty as we learn more about the Alliance and in particular the 501st before he sends us straight into the depths of a warzone and a desperate bid to prevent genocide. Combined once again with the vocal talents of Mikael Naramore I was not only gripped from start to finish but found myself plunging straight into book 3 to find out where the story would go next, exceedingly entertaining.