Loren L. Coleman,
A Call to Arms
(Roc, 2003)

A Call To Arms is the continuing Battletech saga, though the name has been transformed into MechWarrior due to a change in publishers. While the name has changed, the saga has not.

BattleMechs are humanoid-type war machines that stand more than three stories tall and weigh more than 50 tons. They are manned by a single soldier, known as a MechWarrior, from a cockpit in their head. Raul Ortega wanted to be a MechWarrior in the worst way, but was eliminated from the fierce competition for the few positions by his archenemy, Cadet Charal De-Priest. She was awarded the prestigious position while Raul was assigned to the Republic's Reserves on Achenar.

For two years, Achenar has been quiet and relatively peaceful. But when the interplanetary communications are destroyed and worlds isolated, Achenar is suddenly thrust into the heart of the conflict. The warring peoples all want to gain control of Achenar's Hyperpulse Generating Station.

Raul is called into active duty to defend the HGS. But the Steel Wolves take the planet under siege and Raul's allies abandon him. Can he save the planet? Can he even save himself? After all, he allowed a girl to kick his rear in the only battle he has fought -- the battle for appointment as a MechWarrior.

The action in this book moves at a fast pace. From the beginning battle between Raul and Charal, it never lets up. I was immediately hooked, in spite of the fact that I do not care for most sci-fi. The scenes are so vividly detailed that it is easy to picture everything and follow the words with a clear picture in your mind. These descriptions are among the best I have found in sci-fi. The character development is likewise extensive, proving that the author is an accomplished writer who places emphasis on the components of the craft.

Coleman does a brilliant job of creating credible battle scenes. You will feel as if you are there. The details make the story totally believable and I did not find anything that I would disagree with from a military standpoint.

If you like action, war or science fiction stories, this is a book written especially for you. It is easy to forget that this is a sci-fi book and get lost in the story. Coleman has produced a literary masterpiece.

- Rambles
written by Alicia Karen Elkins
published 1 May 2004

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