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1st to Fight (Earth at War) Paperback – September 16, 2020
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I never thought I’d actually become one.
As a sci-fi author with a hit TV show, I have a few ideas about what alien invaders are supposed to look like. In my stories, they’re technologically advanced monsters, with tentacles, and no faces.
Turns out I was right about the technology.
And about how angry they’d be.
But the way they look…that’s more terrifying than even I could have imagined.
They look exactly like us.
Because they are us.
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- Publisher : Pramantha Publishing (September 16, 2020)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 476 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1988380367
- ISBN-13 : 978-1988380360
- Item Weight : 1.53 pounds
- Dimensions : 5.5 x 1.19 x 8.5 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,700,297 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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It seems formulaic, Earth countries bickering and heading to war, Earth countries barely capable only of reaching the moon, high tech peaceful aliens need a military minded species to defend them from a brutal conquering foe. I expected to pitch the book after the third chapter as this is a formula that has disappointed me before.
But Partlow is innovative. In the first single ship to single ship battle in our solar system, the human led weaponless peace loving aliens defeat their war mongering attackers by colliding with them and caroming them into the moon. Crazy, yes?
If Partlow can keep up with imaginative new weapons and strategies from the new team of high tech aliens with science fiction reading Earth military leaders, then we will have an entertaining new series to read.
Good luck, Rick Partlow.
The story follows Andy Clanton, a mediocre Sci-Fi writer, who has done alright for himself in that, he not only has a decent selling book series, he actually has his own TV-Series. He is a former Marine, who having suffered PTSD, and having self-medicated with alcohol, was discharged from the Military after an unfortunate incident. His choice of self-medicating also led to the end of his marriage, and his ex-wife, having little understanding for the trauma and suffering he was going through (with the PTSD, not the drinking), and just being worried about herself and her son, left and took his Son with him.
It is his writing career that has keep him above water, and he has cleaned himself up, along with some help from friends, and at the start of this book, he is actually in space, aboard a special project with a Rich Entrepreneur, Daniel Gatlin.
However, whilst this is taking place, an object appears by our Moon, an Unknown ‘Alien’ Object, and transmits a message, the first to get to ‘their location’, will get access to their technology.
After a very short (and bloody) race, a US contingent makes it, mainly due to Andy’s group already being in space, but this doesn’t stop a Russian and Chinese contingent trying, which has led to a lot of unrest on Earth.
What happens next will not only change Andy’s life forever, but all of those on Earth.
Without giving too much away, what unfolds is that Andy, and an old friend, a Delta Force Soldier with the nickname ‘Jambo’, end up as part of a team on a mission in space. Andy is roped into it because of his former training, and then during a battle with an enemy space ship, he actually comes up with tactics that no one else thinks of because he is the Sci-Fi writer, and has thought of ship to ship space combat, something that no one else has.
Andy and Jambo become wrapped up in an intergalactic fight to help save not just Humanity, but another species to, and suddenly Andy’s Sci-Fi writing is a lot more ‘Science-Fact’ than ‘Science-Fiction’.
Whilst this might all seem highly unlikely, and unrealistic, Partlow has actually kept it real, there are good, clean explanations for things that occur every step of the way, and this includes the Tech as well, which is not only explained well, but is just SO COOL!! The Technology of the Aliens (called the Helta), without giving away spoilers, is just beautifully done. It is creative, clever, and well described, but at the same time, does not get carried away or glorify aspects of it, there is a healthy respect for the weapons, and there is also a healthy respect for the more technological aspects such as the hyperdrive and other toys the Helta and Tevynians have.
This exceptional work continues into Partlow’s character writing. His main character Andy Clanton is a soldier that has fought in a previous conflict, and has killed in combat. Clanton, is both quite intelligent, and a thinker, two traits that are rather unfortunate when faced with the situation he was in. Clanton suffers from chronic PTSD, and Partlow’s in-depth, and gritty discussion of Clanton’s story is intensely raw and powerful at times, very emotive. Partlow is a Soldier himself, from a Military Family, and has done extensive research into the subject, and you can tell with his writing, as it shows.
This is not just with the PTSD aspect, but also with the brutally raw nature of the combat scenes as well, which at times leave you feeling like you are standing in the middle of it, from the smell of burnt flesh, to blood on the floor and the overwhelming cacophony of noise – gunshots, orders, screaming, yelling, radio transmission, and the thundering noise of battle, all whilst you try and focus on your target, try not to slip, retch at the smell, get shot, or shoot at something someone else is targeting so you don’t waste a shot – Partlow describes all this in such intricate, gritty, (at times, with raw emotions), detail, at all times it is utterly captivating, as you are glued to the page, having to know what is going to happen next.
As you get through page, after page, you realise you are holding your breathe (And as an ex-Cop of 11yrs, this is why they teach Cops to shout ‘Don’t Move’ – because when you shout – you breathe – it stops the Probationary Cops (well in Australia), from passing out – it is also why I understand the entire concept of PTSD, and how Partlow has written it so well!!)
It is not just Clanton though who is brilliant, Master Sgt Jim ‘Jambo’ Bowie, Delta Force operative, is perhaps one of the best characters in the book (although there are a lot of them!!), as the war torn Delta guy, who sort of has a rank, of only Master Sgt, but everyone, even Colonels and the like, are scared of him. He has that casual calm in any situation of a Man that has seen too much action, and just knows how things play out, that things go bad, and there is no point getting upset about it, you just have to deal with it. His character is not gung-ho, but remarkably down-to-earth, and rational, gentle even at times, but with that smirk that terrifies even the scariest of monsters.
There are so many other wonderful characters, and so many other fun things that I would love to talk about, but it would ruin the book. One of the funniest things about this book has to be Andy’s mouth, he has a sarcastic tongue like a 16yr old girl, but with the comments of a 100yr old Sailor. He fires comments off so quick and so fast, at times, some of the characters are not sure what has happened, at other times, they are just in his head, but pretty much every one of them is so bad, that they could make a marine cry, but they make you laugh, OMG, I seriously laughed so hard I think I broke a rib a few times. Partlow obviously had a lot of fun writing this.
1st to Fight sees Humanity making difficult decisions, having to fight with little to no training in new tech (and the tech is just awesome and again, described so well – both the Human and Alien tech (well the Human is sort of alien anyway, so!!), but the detailed, and comprehensive descriptive work is just exquisite, it adds so much detail to the story.
And this is a story about Humans, fighting, well, other Humans, the Synopsis is right, you have to read it to understand, but you will. And it is rather fascinating how. With ship to ship combat, person to person, even hand to hand, there is a LOT of action.
As an added bonus, there is an extra short story at the end of the book that talks about Andy’s time in Venezuela, and how he met Jambo. It is a really interesting story, in that it covers two different stories, the one in Venezuela (which was apparently one of his worst days in the war, or so he tells his son), and the other part of the story, is set after ‘1st to Fight’, and covers Andy and the Team going on an important rescue mission, that will again, affect the course of Humanity, but this time around, if they fail, it will not only mean the death of Humans, but it could also mean the death of a lot of others as well.
Again, it is a really well written, fast paced action story, that just does not stop. The great thing about the short story (Called Rescue Mission funnily enough), is that it gives some fantastic insight into not just Andy, but some of the other characters as well.
Most of the time, a book like this (commonly a 0.5), would be a separate edition, and you would have to buy it, sign up for it, or sell your first born for it, but Partlow has not only included it for free, but it is actually included for free in the Audiobook as well.
1st to Fight is a brilliant start to what is going to be an Epic Series. If you like series like the Expeditionary Series – you will love this!.
Everything goes according to plan until an alien spaceship appears. This the beginning of one of the most original space opera and military science fiction stories I have read in many years.
Needless to say, Andy is recalled to active duty and is reunited with a former Delta Forces operator who is one of his closest friends, James “Jambo” Bowie, with whom he had gained more combat experience than he could have imagined or wanted.
The aliens, the Helta, are not bug-eyed monsters with tentacles for arms. They look like oversized koala bears. Turns out more than 100,000 years ago a panoply of animals, including humans, were removed from Earth, altered to enable sentience, and deposited on various new terra-formed planets along with other, simpler life forms. The Helta were only one of the many.
The Helta are more of a peace-loving species but had run into a very aggressive and nasty species — the Tevynians. The Helta need to enlist Earth’s humans to help them defend their world from the Tevynians.
The short version is this novel, the first one in a trilogy, has some of the best land-based military action and space battles I’ve read in a long time, the characters are engaging, and the writing is fluid. You will not be able to put this book down until you finish it.
I am retired from the army and the military action is as believable as possible. It made reading this book even more enjoyable.
Bottom line: if you like military science fiction, awesome writing that will engage you with a plot that is as original as possible. and some of the most engaging characters I have enjoyed following, this is definitely the book for you.
He has the good sense and skill to make this story character-driven rather than just descriptions of wondrous strange science toys and space battle after space battle. We're given people and aliens you can care about, who like real people make mistakes and screw up occasionally, but ultimately get it done.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, and am looking forward to the next one. In the meantime, I'm going to try some of his other books. An author who writes this well is a great find. This story may not be a timeless masterpiece, but it's a fun read that has entertained me thoroughly, which is enough for me!
Top reviews from other countries
I will be buying the remaining books to read, to finish the storyline.