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The Terran Gambit by Endi Webb

The Terran Gambit

by Endi Webb

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This review is based on a ARC-version of the book but I doubt that the final book will be much different. It is indeed a good start to a new series. Most of the book is pretty much setting the stage for the rest of the series, like the pilot show of a TV-series. The end result is that the stage is set for a somewhat Battlestar Galactica style book series although there are plenty of differences so I use the comparison somewhat loosely.

There are a decent amount of action, ground based, fighter crafts and capital ship action in the book although at times it does slow down a bit with lengthy interpersonal discussions. In general the action is well done and enjoyable to read though.

The author also managed to cram in no less than two attempts to take on the Corsican Empire although I have to say that some elements of these parts of the book felt a bit less thought through. For example you are taking on an interstellar empire and you are surprised, to the extent that you just give up, when they decide to throw a nuke at you. In the second attempt (slight spoiler ahead) they wham a battleship into another battleship and then they not only go on fighting inside for a lengthy amount of time but they somehow manage to jump away while still being stuck together. Felt very unrealistic to me. On the whole these are fairly minor complaints though.

As I wrote before, this book is very much a stage setter for the rest of the series and at the end there are several ongoing threads which of course all are entangled into the main plot of liberating Earth from the Corsican Empire and taking on the all bad Imperial Admiral. The book have all the basic plot elements for making a good action/adventure series. A few heroes, fast women (hey, I’m a guy so I do like that stuff in my books), big ships and a really nasty and despicable bad guy.

I am definitely going to pick up the next book in this series.
( )
  perjonsson | Oct 28, 2017 |
ABR's original The Terran Gambit audiobook review and many others can be found at Audiobook Reviewer.

It is about 600 years in the future and the Imperial forces are working hard to wipe out a struggling resistance. There are dozens of colonized planets tightly controlled by the iron fist of the Emperor, and the Senate, both based on the Roman Empire, complete with Roman gods and goddesses. Earth, the original planet, but also the most rebellious, continues to fight for its freedom, nearly winning a desperate battle until Imperial forces decimate Dallas, Texas with a nuclear strike. The resistance is nearly wiped out until it reforms three years later in a desperate struggle for its life.

The back-story of a futuristic Rome is interesting enough, though not explained in any depth. We know that a Roman-like empire runs the galaxy, but not how it came to be this way. One assumes this is revealed in subsequent volumes. The action revolves around a handful of undisciplined and erratic rebel fighter pilots and their crews. Fun loving, and fast living, they don’t expect to live much beyond their current battles.

The story flips back and forth to the Imperial Admiral consumed with finding and crushing the resistance once and for all. He is a brilliant sociopath who throws lives around without a thought. Though his schemes often work, they also destroy as many soldiers on his side as from the resistance. If you like evil geniuses, you’ll like this one.

There is plenty of action to satisfy any space military junky. It is fast paced and fun, moving forward briskly all of the time. There isn’t much in the way of political explanation or development, but many readers prefer it that way. The characters, though developed at great length remain two-dimensional caricatures, rather than real people. They seem disposable, with some memorable exceptions: the Italian scientist and the evil Imperial Admiral.

The story is read by Greg Tremblay. He does an excellent job and his character voices are well defined and a pleasure to listen to.

Pax Humana is a fun ride. If you enjoy the military space genre, you should not hesitate to listen to this one. While the back story of the futuristic Roman Empire is not explored in any depth, it is still interesting enough, and makes us want to hear what happens in part 2. And isn’t that the definition of a book worth listening too?

Audiobook provided for review by the narrator. ( )
  audiobibliophile | Aug 5, 2015 |
I was given this book in exchange for an honest review.

I have mixed feeling about this book. I loved the storyline it was well written and characters were well developed. However, the twists did not come as a surprise to me. I like to be completely thrown for a loop. You could tell the author is a huge fan of sci-fi, some of the characters seemed to be developed from characters of other sci-fi stories. While this book does start off a little slow, once the pace picks up it is hard to put down. I am looking forward to reading the next episode though. ( )
  sportzmomof5 | Apr 20, 2014 |
The Terran Gambit is based on a great idea: an imperialistic civilisation that decides to conquer Earth. The writing is agile and you quickly get to know the protagonist’s jock-like approach to life. I would say that Webb’s greatest strength is his battle scenes and the novel’s pace. The story is easy to read and understand, and I liked some of the characters, who leaped off the pages.
  sylbecke | Apr 6, 2014 |
[ Note: I received this book as an Advanced Review Copy (ACR) directly from the author via Librarything's Member Giveaway.]

Endi Webb’s “The Terran Gambit” follows the All-American space jock Jacob “Shotgun” Mercer as he fights for the Rebellion to free Earth from the imposing clutches of the Corsican Empire. There are several battles between the primarily Terran rebellion forces and the empire in space, and the scope ranges from ground combat between marines, gunfights between two-man fighters and crushing conflict between gigantic warships. The story shifts between several points of view, primarily the hero Mercer, his friends Megan “Grizzly” Po and Ben “Manuel” Jemez, as well as Captain Titus, following the terrifying antagonist Admiral Trajan.

I’m of two minds about this book. I found the overarching plot to be entertaining, but while I loved following the villain I struggled to care about the protagonists. In the beginning of the book an earth-let rebellion is crushed when their major spaceport is leveled by a nuclear warhead. I enjoyed reading about the tactics used by rebel and imperial forces to position themselves for a final conflict. I also thought the pace of the action was excellent, as the plot starts on a high-intensity moment, dips during the bombing then steadily builds to an action-packed climax. I liked that the book incorporated a lot of cutting-edge theoretical physics (which admittedly went way over head) and showcases them very effectively during the space combat.

As a result of the gradual ramp in energy there was a lot of time to get familiar with the characters. I think Webb chose to be expedient by having his characters tell the reader their backstories in big chunks, but it sacrificed a lot of realism. For example, there is a paragraph where Jemez is walking down a corridor, and starts summarizing his childhood and early adulthood. It ripped me right out of the story. I can’t imagine a human doing that. Po and Anya Grace also divulge their painful histories in a page of densely packed information to relative strangers, which feels more like Webb is crossing off a column labeled 'backstory' than writing people. Therefore I was not interested in their triumphs or worried about their struggles, because they felt more like cardboard cutouts.

However I believe Webb is very capable of writing characters well and slowing revealing who they are through their actions. Mercer is described as a talented, cocky, space jock. Within the first two chapters he exhibits impressive flying skills, comes up with clever tactics, says some crazy stuff and flies a spaceship towards nuclear warheads against direct orders, showing me he is all of those things. Admiral Trajan is my personal favorite, and I was actually cheering for him in the last battle. That man starts out scary and somehow manages to get more terrifying until you want to run away every time he shows up. Trajan notably has a section where he talks for a page or so about his own history but because he’s using it to hint to a subordinate he killed his own father at sixteen, shit. That is a well-written character. Even though I didn't like all of these characters, they had a well-enough written personality that I had an opinion about them.

Another thing I felt was lacking is an internally consistent setting for the story to take place in. Very few recent events are mentioned by anyone, including Trajan, which is especially surprising as he knows a great deal about earlier history. Did nothing happen between 2014 and 2675? The most frustrating part is probably the huge gender disparity present in “The Terran Gambit”. Po and Grace are scoffed at for their discomfort regarding women in the military or even noticing that there are very few women around, implying everything is is rosy in the world of gender equality. However of the 46 named characters in “The Terran Gambit”, 7 are women. That’s either the definition of a boy’s club, or everyone is in serious denial about a huge re-population problem on the horizon. These discrepancies between what the story says is happening and what is shown create a world doesn't hang together.

The hit-or-miss characterization and the weak setting worked together to make this a rocky reading experience for me. I probably only finished it because I promised to review it, and I would not be interested in reading the sequel.

More at: http://dragonldy.blogspot.com/2014/03/member-giveaway-reivew-terran-gambit.html ( )
  kaydern | Mar 25, 2014 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 149735398X, Paperback)

DEFEAT The Corsican Empire extends the reach of the "Pax Humana" across the thousand worlds, ruling with force and fear. 40 years ago, they returned to Earth, subjugating it and claiming the ancient home of humanity for the Empire. RESURGENCE Now, in 2675, Earth fights back. Lieutenant Jacob Mercer likes fast motorcycles, faster women, and screamin' fighters. As a reckless space jock in the Resistance fleet he lives for the thrill, and to take out as many Imperial bogeys as he can. At least, more than his buddies. But with victory in sight, the Imperials thwart the Resistance in a surprise show of devastating force, and Dallas burns from a thermonuclear blast--millions die--a merciless example of what happens to upstart worlds in the Pax Humana. A DESPERATE PLAN The Resistance goes underground to rebuild its strength, and in the shadows, the leadership devises a daring plan to strike right at the Empire's heart in a final, desperate bid for freedom. A plan that will send Jake Mercer right to where he doesn't belong: The captain's chair of the most advanced warship in the galaxy, facing down a psychopathic Imperial Admiral bent on utterly destroying the Resistance, and Earth itself. But first he has to survive. (Content disclaimer: There are marines and fighter pilots in this book, and as such it contains some salty language and crude jokes. Also, mild sexual situations, and violence. Readers who are sensitive to these things, please contact me and we'll work something out.) The Terran Gambit is the first episode in a series of 10 books in the Pax Humana Saga.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:04:45 -0400)

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Endi Webb's book The Terran Gambit (Book 1 of The PAX HUMANA SAGA) was available from LibraryThing Member Giveaway.

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