The Fortress in Orion (Dead Enders)
Pyr, Dec 2 2014, $18.00
Democracy covert operative Colonel Nathan Pretorius awakens in a hospital recovering from a near death experience when General Wilbur Cooper arrives. Nathan recognizes Cooper as the SOB who sends him on dangerous missions like the one on Bendaris IV that left him visiting the Other Side of life and the need for new body parts. .
Ignoring Pretorius’ insistence to leave him on pension, Cooper assigns his top field agent with his latest impossible target that he insists is the Big One game changer. Introduced to the clone of the Traanskei Coalition Kabori General Michkag, Pretorius learns what his superior officer expects him to accomplish. He and a small, eclectic team will capture or assassinate the original Michkag and replace him with their lab replica while the alien military leader attends a meeting in an underground fortress on Orion. Pretorius honestly explains to those he wants on his squad that the pay stinks and the odds of survival are 7% and dropping with each new info. Still Pretorius, Felix Ortega the strongman more machine than man, Sally “Snake” Kowalski the contortionist convict, Toni “Pandora” Levy the hacker-locksmith, Circe the emotion reader, the clone and Kabori defector Djibmet begin the suicide mission by stopping at a whorehouse on McPherson’s World to add a mental shapeshifter and a Madam.
The first Dead Enders science fiction starts a new exciting series in the Birthright universe (see The Starship and Jake Masters sagas). Though the action is somewhat muted as the first half of the novel introduces the readers to the unique team, The Fortress in Orion remains an enjoyable outer space adventure.