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Asbaran Solutions (The Revelations Cycle) (Volume 2) Paperback – January 1, 2017
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Nigel Shirazi was first in line for the chairmanship of Asbaran Solutions, one of the prominent “Four Horsemen” mercenary companies. First in line…until his drinking and temper caused him to fail out of college and get disinherited by the family.
Now he leads the life of a playboy, enjoying a stipend from the family to stay out of the way. But someone is out to get his family, and Nigel is all that stands between the hidden enemy and the destruction of Asbaran Solutions and the Shirazi family.
Nigel will have to learn to control himself if he’s going to take the reins of the company, figure out who’s behind the vendetta against Asbaran, and work out a way to stop them. But they’ve taken his sister hostage, and that makes him a very, very angry man!
This is Book 2 of the Revelations cycle (Book 1 is by Mark Wandrey - "Cartwrights Cavaliers"). To me, this is very intriguing as it's the first time I've run across what I'll call a "collaborative universe" where several authors have 'agreed' on a universe, characters (and I suspect an over-arching plot) and then each author writes their own book based on that universe. The interesting point is that, while based in the same reality, reflect the different styles of the authors and different 'eyes' on events. I've seen it where authors get to 'play' in the universe created by another, and I've seen where authors collaborate on the same book, but it's different to me having different 'views' into the same universe in full length novels. And of course, multiple authors mean more books quicker which means... more great reading!!!
So, the author blurb is good so not repeating that, and while it's excellent military SF, it's also about rising to the challenge to save the family business and the family name. Of course, the family business just happens to be hired mercenaries and someone or something is plotting to destroy them. Starting from nothing, and knowing even less, the protagonist (Nigel) must find the right people and resources to succeed. He's also very human, and not every plan succeeds the way he wants it to so there's a price to pay.
It's a rollicking good yarn, rolls along in somewhat unexpected ways (and with an interesting plot twist), but sometimes like in the real world things don't go the way you expect. Very human, very interesting, and I look forward to the next book!!! -- Pat Viebey
From the Author
- Publisher : Seventh Seal Press (January 1, 2017)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 399 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1942936354
- ISBN-13 : 978-1942936350
- Item Weight : 1.02 pounds
- Dimensions : 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.5 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,957,368 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from the United States
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This book is unenjoyable from the beginning. The main character had a chip on his shoulder for some reason never explained EXCEPT for a small backhanded reference that Humans are still racist despite all the aliens they now know exist. The first book (which is written by a different author) showed the reverence, respect, and fear not just people have but ALL races of the story have for the Four Horsemen. This book never comes near to capturing that feeling. As such, it falls flat and puts everything at odds with what was established in the first book. Both the good and the bad.
Nigel is one of the worst main characters I have ever read and I was actively rooting for his death around Chapter Five and he NEVER redrems himself. In an flimsy attempt for character growth, Nigel would make speeches, plans and had genius combat, tactical, and strategic insights that was borderline clairvoyant. The author stacked the deck against him far beyond the character's capabilities and had him solving problems, issues, and plot holes that he logically couldn't do.
This entire series appears to be written by many different authors and it did not work in this case. If Book Two is this horrible, I can only imagine how bad it gets. Despite Book Three written by the author of Book One, I will not keep reading the series or ever recommend it. I rather stop reading after this one and just write this off as a "good idea fairy" that did nor succeed. Especially when Book Four is written by the same author as Book Two.
Nigel Shirazi behaves much more realistically than Jim Cartwright in my opinion. While just as inexperienced as Cartwright, Shirazi still deploys with the troops, but steps back and lets his veterans lead the actual combat. While he still steps in a few times, he spends more time directing the troops to different objectives.
...he also doesn't magically discover the one secret weapon at just the right moment to bring victory, either, which was a big plus for me.
A favorite part about Chris Kennedy's writing is that he gives you just enough information about his minor characters to make them feel real, and gets the reader caring about what happens to them. It makes for a very poignant story overall.
Asbaran Solutions has me really looking forward to seeing how the next two books unfold.
After reading it for a while, I was even more disappointed to find the story was basically a copy of the story from the first book. I'm not sure now if I'll bother with the third book in this series.
Top reviews from other countries
The main character – Nigel Shirazi – is, at the beginning of the book, the third in line to succeed his father as the Commander of Asbaran Solutions. Although apparently the most gifted – more so than both his elder brother, of which you learn next to nothing, and his elder sister, which gets herself killed rather foolishly, this is never really shown and evidenced throughout the book. What is shown, however, is this Nigel displaying the rather bad temper and stubbornness of a spoiled brat, something that does not exactly equate with the gifted and inspired leader that he is supposed to become.
Moreover, although his grandfather has supposedly discovered his potential and made him into his favourite grandchild, he fails and gets thrown out of multiple colleges because of fighting and gets somehow disinherited by the family without any further explanation. Strangely, none of the other family members, neither his father nor his siblings, not his mother which you simply do not hear anything about, bother trying to pull him together. This is somewhat strange and jars with the family’s vendetta minded behaviour.
Having mentioned these shortcomings, and the fact that the beginning of the story shows similarities with Cartwright’s Cavaliers with two companies and new leaders out of their luck and trying to restore their fortunes, it is also fair to mention two strongpoints.
One is made up of the various fighting scenes, and the assault on the base held by the wolf-like alien and cruel Besquith in particular. Another is that some of the other characters in the novel and interesting, and even amusing such as the three female Tortantulas (a kind of giant armoured tarantula) who love slaughter and have fun and joke when blowing up the Besquiths.
A related point here is the hiring of aliens as mercenaries contracting with the company, and idea that is further developed in Winged Hussars and which can only be explained and justified in this novel by the company’s dire circumstances after four consecutive failures since Asbaran Solutions is reputed to be less than friendly regarding aliens in general, and one species that destroyed the founders country (Iran) in particular.
The last point is that while the main character may not be always believable and while I could not help thinking that there were some holes in the plot, or at least some points left unexplained, the story is nevertheless easy to read and entertaining. Three and a half stars (rounded up to four).
Each of the Four Horsemen Merc Companies have a specialty - Asbaran Solutions are the airborne assault specialists. What is more bad@$$ than a Herc full of paratroopers dropping behind enemy lines to tear their logistical train a new one?
What if all those paratroopers wore Hulkbuster suits with missile pods and gauss rifles?
I didn't especially like the main character at the beginning, which really just means Chris Kennedy has done his job. You're not supposed to like him. He's that typical 'my paren'ts are uber-wealthy, you can't touch me' jerk (See title, above), right up until his entire family gets clobbered and it's time to put up or shut up. I'm a big big fan of the 4HU series, having started with book 5 (A Fistful of Credits, the short story anthology) and each book has its' own focus and its' own dynamics. The Cavaliers are Armor. Asbaran Solutions are Airborne, the Winged Hussars are spaceship-based marines (I hesitate to call the Space Marines, but there aren't too many alternatives) and the Golden Horde are the defensive specialists. Once you've read through all four novels, you'll see the plot arc take shape - and that just gets me stoked for more.
This book has a very high mortality rate for it's characters, which is kind of understandable when you think about it. I think only about 6 of the 20 or so named characters survived to the end, and several of them were wounded. There's no real romance in the book at all, apart from one of the senior NCOs being in love with Nigel's sister. The battle sequences were well written and I'm looking forward to the next book, "Winged Hussars" and the 4th, "The Golden Horde".