Points of Impact (Frontlines #6)
by Marko Kloos
Review by Ernest Lilley
47North Kindle Edition ISBN/ITEM#: B072JY94DY
Date: 09 January 2018
Andrew Grayson, drop ship trooper, combat controller, and now Captain, is back in the fray in the 6th Frontlines novel from Marko Kloos. This is one of my favorite military science fiction series, and the latest installment, Points of Impact is a engaging as ever, its only fault being that I wish it was longer.
We've followed Grayson's story from boot camp onward, through humanity's unfortunate first contact with the 30-foot-tall aliens known as the Lankys when they wiped a human colony off the face of its planet and right up to the brink of losing the Earth. Now we've managed to hold them at Mars, having destroyed their ships and left their survivors burrowed into the red planet. Garrison duty is wearing down men and machines, but if we let up for a minute, the resourceful aliens will create a new ship thanks to their ability to grow technology from almost anything.
Holding the Lankies isn't good enough for humanity's survival though, and European resources, long lacking, are finally committed to taking the fight to the enemy with a new class of starship that may look like it came out of a science fiction movie, with gleaming white hulls and spacious corridors, but they're packed with all the best ideas that our scientists and tacticians have been able to come up with, and now we're ready to take the fight to them.
Andrew is along as CO of the tactical controllers and SAR teams, which is a perfect spot for the readers to watch the action from. Just when they've completed their shakedown a Lanky incursion is detected and the ship and crew, including the Europeans who'd come along for training, head out to find if things work as advertised, or if they're going to want their money back, posthumously.
The colony under attack this time is a frozen world Andrew has been to before, where he made a stand with the colonists against a general on the verge of sacking the colony for his own use. As such, he's got friends on the ground that he's determined not to let down, but fighting a Lanky incursion in the face of the planet's brutal weather may give the aliens an edge that even our new tech can't blunt.
Andrew's tired of fighting by now, close to the edge of burnout and suffering from PTSD, holding himself together only by the need to complete the mission and not to let down his wife, stationed on the ship as the XO of a carrier group, and a step ahead of him in rank. He's had enough of war, in space, on the surface of Mars, and even helping restore order in Earth's ghettos, which he escaped from by joining up. There's a quiet town in Vermont where he and his wife spend their leaves, and after a decade of marriage which afforded about six months of time together, it may be time to hang up his helmet, even if he must forgo the money accrued for him at the end of his service. Assuming he lives long enough to get out, of course.
As I said, the serial episode nature of this book, and that it's a tad shorter than usual at 297 pages, makes you really wish Marko Kloos could just write faster. He puts out a new novel about once a year, and fortunately, they're pretty much self-contained, but it still seems like a big wait to find out where Andrew, his wife Halley, and the whole human race go from here.