'IX', Andrew Weston
Fans of historical and military sci-fi will not want to miss the latest offerings from Andrew Weston, a writer who has only just come to our attention, but whose work is certainly worthy of high praise - indeed, I personally rate him as my find of 2016 so far. A veteran of the Royal Marines and a retired policeman, Weston brings a wealth of combat and law enforecement experience to his writing, which in this case sees the legendary IXth Roman Legion joined by a range of troops, each plucked out of their individual time stream, and merged into one force with the sole aim of halting the advance of the Horde, and alien army intent on bringing the galaxy to its knees. Men and women from the as far apart of ancient Caledonia, pre-colonisation America, the US Civil War, and the 21st century come to one stark realisation together - they must fight, and they may die. If they don't, then death is certain.
It is no exaggeration to say that Weston's 'IX' has everything you could want of it, and more. It has a wide range of backstopped and relatable characters, it has a perfectly balanced mix of historical research and future speculation, the proven science of today mixed with the thoroughly believable science of tomorrow, and all wrapped up in a prose style that is accessible, succinct, and polished. Hell, when I say it has everything, there's even a Buchanan in the mix (and if I have a chance to ask Weston at some point, I look forward to discovering if that stemmed from his well researched section on the US Army's 2nd Mounted Rifles back in 1860 - I wouldn't be at all surprised to find that it did, given the obvious work he put in to that and other historical sections of his storyline). Add to all of that an enemy we steadily learn more about, and even come to sympathise with to a degree, an underpinning of native American mysticism that should be thoroughly out of place, but isn't, and a satisfying ending in spite of the fact that this is only the first of a proposed trilogy, and it is difficult to praise what Weston has done too highly. What it does lead me to do is wonder why he is with a relatively unknown publishing house (Perseid Press, of Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin), and how long it will be before a major player picks him up. He has already proven he can more than hold his own with major authors, now he needs the coverage that a major publisher can bring - someone who can make him a household name.
As soon as I have pressed 'send' on this review, I'm going to hop onto Amazon and buy the second volume of this stunning series in electronic format. I recommend you grab the first, because this is the real deal, and almost certainly one of the best new releases you'll find this year.
'IX' and its successor, 'Exordium of Tears', are both currently available in electronic format from Persiad Press.