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The Eternity War: Pariah by Jamie Sawyer

The soldiers of the Simulant Operations Programme are mankind’s elite warriors. Veterans of a thousand battles across a hundred worlds, they undertake suicidal missions to protect humanity from the insidious Krell Empire and the mysterious machine race known as the Shard.

Lieutenant Keira Jenkins is an experienced simulant operative and leader of the Jackals, a team of raw recruits keen to taste battle. They soon get their chance when the Black Spiral terrorist network seizes control of a space station.

Yet no amount of training could have prepared the Jackals for the deadly conspiracy they soon find themselves drawn into – a conspiracy that is set to spark a furious new war across the galaxy.

A complete change of pace this week. We are still very much in the realms of science fiction, but where Ann Leckie’s Provenance is thoughtful and introspective, Jamie Sawyer’s The Eternity War is an explosive interstellar action-fest. We are solidly into the realms of intergalactic war, bring it on!

Kiera Jenkins commands a squad of marines known as Jenkins’ Jackals. With the exception of their leader, they are a pretty green bunch. Between them all they have only participated in a handful of missions. Fortunately for them, Kiera is an experienced warrior. I couldn’t help but find myself warming to the Lieutenant. Though more than confident in her own abilities, her new squad are relatively untested and she hasn’t quite found her feet when it comes to leadership. Initially she stumbles and makes more than a few mistakes, but that just makes her come across as that much more human. I liked the juxtaposition between Keira’s cynical world weariness and her uncertainty when it comes to her new command.

There is a lot to like about the character of Keira Jenkins, but there were another couple of others characters I loved. Captain Miriam Carmine (The Carbine) is a no-nonsense space captain with a penchant for flying by the seat of her pants. Like Kiera, she is a natural survivor and doesn’t suffer fools gladly. I loved her introduction and her been-there-done-that attitude. She rolls with the punches and comes across as being more than able to adapt to any given situation. The other standout character is a member of Kiera’s squad, a lowly private called Novak. While the majority of the group have enlisted to be part of the Simulant Operations Programme Novak is an ex-member of the Russian Bratva. Due to his criminal status, he has no choice but to fight in the war. Far more complex than he first appears, it is only later in the plot you get to discover what has made him the way he is.  I’d like to think if you checked the dictionary definition for the term “loose cannon”, you’d see a picture of Novak grinning back at you.  Mad, bad and dangerous to know most of my favourite scenes in the novel feature Novak front and centre. Miriam and Novak are great fun, I’m always a huge fan of characters who come across as unpredictable.

The Krell Empire are the sort of adversary that humanity can’t ever hope to properly understand. Their society is split into various complex factions and behaves in an almost hive like fashion. The marines refer to the Krell as ‘fishes’, and based on the description of this alien species I can’t help but agree. I found myself picturing something akin to Sharktopus with the addition of a human torso and limbs. They sound pretty badass to me. There is also mention made of a race known as the Shard, but they remain conspicuous by their absence. The only indication they exist are the jump gate technology they created that allows for long distance space travel.  The Shard appear to be quite the enigmatic bunch. I can only assume more of this race will be revealed in the future.

As if the threat of multiple alien races wasn’t enough, the Jackals also have Black Spiral to contend with. They are a terrorist organisation hell bent on achieve their own political aims. The big question is why are Black Spiral so interested in the Krell? There are suggestions scattered throughout the narrative that there is some sort of conspiracy going on, and that Kiera and her squad are being manipulated as part of that. This additional thread of the plot adds a nice additional urgency to all the action. What exactly is going on? Who is it pulling all the strings? Who can Keira trust? Are the Black Spiral exactly how they are painted to be?

I’ve not read The Lazarus War, the trilogy that precedes this book, but I get the distinct impression that there is a direct connection between the two. From what I can gather, there certainly appears to be mention of characters that appear in both. I’m sure fans of that series are going to enjoy this new adventure.

I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. The characters are great, the plot is chock full of fast paced action and everything is set up nicely for a sequel (which is handy because there is going to be one). I can heartily recommend The Eternity War is you are looking for science fiction delivered at breakneck speed. This new series is off to a flying start.

I’ve selected two soundtracks to accompany The Eternity War. The Mass Effect Andromeda soundtrack by John Paesano, and the Crysis 2 soundtrack which includes some nice Hans Zimmer for your listening pleasure. Both albums perfectly capture that sense of rollercoaster, interstellar action that Jamie Sawyer’s writing evokes.

The Eternity War: Pariah is published by Orbit and is available now. A sequel, The Eternity War: Exodus is set to follow.

The Eternity War: Pariah

New From: £4.29 GBP In Stock

3 Responses to The Eternity War: Pariah by Jamie Sawyer

  • russell1200 says:

    How can you have veterans of suicidal missions? That’s one of the problems with using suicidal methods, its hard to build up a skill level.

    • pablocheesecake says:

      Well spotted. The key word in the book blurb is “simulant”. The marines use disposable versions of themselves when fighting. You gotta love sci-fi 🙂

  • Paul Watson says:

    Haven’t read Jaie’s latest one, but what I enjoy most is his pacing, where he starts of with a nail-biting hook then a bit of backstory before the action picks up and doesn’t let go. I mean you really get drawn into the drama, and you can feel ghe intensity that you’d expect reaches a climax, but he ramps it up another notch and it’s a physical “Wow!” moment, and you realise you’re only a 1/3 of the way into the first book! That’s what I’m looking forward to with ‘The Eternity War Pariah.’

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