The Last Centurion
by John Ringo
Cover Artist: Kurt Miller
Review by Harriet Klausner
Baen Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9781416555537
Date: 05 August 2008 List Price $25.00 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
In The Last Centurion, the Hell Times arrived and as is the usual they got it wrong again; this time their hoax to get elected cost the planet. They worked on preventing global warming destroying the environment, but missed the mark as it was the Freeze from solar variation causing global cooling that led to climatic havoc and the Plague caused by bird flu pandemic in which socialized medicine proved an abomination. By 2020 and 2021 worldwide famine is the norm and all indications affirm it will get worse.
They failed us in the Middle East by abandoning the soldiers in Iraq after expanding the mission to Turkey, Iran, and Kuwait. Several deployments to that hell hole desert are left by the government along with the other military to rot and die or find a way home; to survive means scouring the earth for food and water, and looting artifacts to sell on the black market; it also implies killing the innocent. This is the world in which there are few left willing to die for a cause with most of them in the last decade have been on the enemy side. Now the TV is showcasing The Last Centurion unit, the Farmer's Freaks, as a propaganda tool to counter the bad military news from the front and to patriotically hide the even worse domestic news. Everyone knows those fat DC cats do not care about grunts in their hundred year war; which is why soldiers keep writing blogs so the truth is out there if anyone at home would get past their selfish lives and read.
The premises of the first few chapters are difficult to accept as a grim future is laid out based on mistakes by the obvious Democratic President. So extreme is the argument especially the concept of global warming being a sham that one will initially wonder if a Neocon or a Bush revisionist wrote this instead of John Ringo. However, once the audience understands and moves on (without dot com) to accepting the strong belief of The Last Centurion who is telling the story from his perspective that global cooling, the aviary flu pandemic and leaving the military to rot in the latest desert invasion is gospel "historical facts", you end up with a powerful bleak futuristic saga. Those early sections are needed to understand the military officer's mindset as he writes his blog and to a lesser degree that of his wife, who edits his entries. Readers get to know each of them more from the writing and editing than from the events he rants about.
Although politically one sided, as all blame is heaped on a fictional not disguised Democratic Administration for ignoring the "true" global problems, readers will appreciate this fascinating near future dark science fiction tale. As always in a John Ringo thriller, there is plenty of well written exhilarating military action much of it seen through the eyes of the bitter blogger who understands the enemy has more of the Centurions willing to die for their cause than his side.
Although the ending seems less possible than the opening sections ranting (after the major war crime tribunals) even with bloggers watching the media-military-industrial complex foxy spins of the news so people cannot understand that we are being spun in circles. That is what this cautionary tale is all about as Mr. Ringo encourages bloggers even with their personal prejudices to expose the power structure which gives out misinformation, disinformation, and lies to remain in power by hiding embarrassing truths of ineptitude.