Recommended Reads: Green Zulu 51 by Scott Whitmore

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The Blurb

A war of millions is fought by individuals. For sixteen years humanity and the alien Vyptellians have battled in space and on hundreds of planets in a distant corner of the galaxy.

Tyko is a teenage space fighter pilot who has never known peace; insulated from the horrors of the battlefield, he’ll learn war isn’t a game. Sergeant Siengha is one of a handful to survive the war’s first battle; surrounded and vastly outnumbered by a merciless enemy, it takes everything she knows to keep those around her alive and fighting.

These are just two of the countless stories from the human side of the Vyptellian War. To those on the frontlines and their families at home, why the war began is unimportant, forgotten when the first shot was fired. What matters is the survival of the species.

But after years of bloody conflict, the war’s end is closer than anyone realizes.

The Review

I bought this book on the recommendation of Tammy Salyer, whose book Contract of Defiance I reviewed earlier this year. Tammy is a writer whose work I admire, so when she says something is good I tend to take her word for it and give it a try. For any authors who are yet to be convinced about the value of Paying it Forward, hopefully this is proof that recommending the work of others really is worthwhile.

Green Zulu 51 (and other stories from the Vyptellian War) is listed as a set of short stories set in a future world where one of old Earth’s colonies finds itself embroiled in a war with a relentless alien aggressor. Each story takes on an aspect of the war from a particular character’s perspective (a pilot, a soldier, a diplomat) but the further you read the more you realise that these aren’t just perfectly formed short-stories but form part of a larger narrative whole.

Whitmore has a wonderfully natural style, clearly bringing in a lot of his own military experience to the fore in painting the very ancient experience of life on the front line in a futuristic war. Each character has their own perspectives, are well rounded and immediately draw you into their world. While the battles (whether in space or on the ground) are well written and compelling, it is the human stories that make this book a stand out.

The influence of today’s conflicts on this book are clear, with once clear reasons for war becoming ever more vague as the years roll on and the attritional aspects start to take hold, but rather than take these parallels too far, Whitmore prefers to concentrate on how that impacts on the brave men and women who are tasked with carrying out orders, and their families, who have either started to question, or have forgotten the original reason behind those orders and the sacrifice they’ve been asked to make. Highly recommended.

To buy Green Zulu 51 from Amazon.co.uk click here

To buy Green Zulu 51 from Amazon.com click here

Recommended reads are either independently published books – or those that are published via a small press – that I have bought and enjoyed. They are part of a commitment to ‘pay it forward’ to other independent authors by buying their work and promoting those that I have enjoyed, both here and on Amazon and Goodreads. I don’t accept submissions but instead focus on people who have helped or inspired me through their blogging or who actively support other writers, but I only recommend those books I have personally enjoyed. If you are an independent author I would encourage you to do the same and help pay it forward to the community. For more information please see my blog post here.

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Recommended Reads: Contract of Defiance by Tammy Salyer

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Up until this point most of my Recommended Reads have been written by self-published authors I have come into contact with through blogging or social media, but Contract of Defiance was a little different. It was recommended by Mike Fedison on his Eye Dancers blog and what caught my attention was that Mike spoke of  how supportive Tammy had been when he had started blogging. She sounded like just the sort of person deserving the pay it forward treatment and I’m very glad I decided to buy her book.

Contract of Defiance is a blast from the opening paragraph to the closing page. We follow the story of Aly, a smuggler and ex-military fugitive who becomes separated from her brother and crew on a botched job. She is rescued by a group of hardened settlers and becomes embroiled in a series of adventures that take her further from her goal of rescuing her brother and at the same time raises questions about what really went wrong.

Salyer has created a very believable future where a dominant military forces good people onto the wrong side of the law. While the story contains plenty of action to keep things going, it is the characters that draw you in. In Aly you have a strong, female protagonist who is no caricature. She is flawed, makes mistakes but continues to struggle against what life throws at her in order to save her brother.

As the motivations of the support cast are revealed, you realise what a fantastic job Salyer has done to create an ensemble of characters of real depth while at no point slowing the plot through overuse of backstory or exposition. Another thing I really liked about this book was that each act of killing has an impact on the characters involved and isn’t purely there as entertainment. There are consequences for each and every action and Salyer isn’t afraid to show them.

If you like the fantasy of Joe Abercrombie or Glen Cook, or if you are a fan of the film Aliens, you will love this really enjoyable book. Highly recommended.

To buy Contract of Defiance from amazon.co.uk click here
To buy Contract of Defiance from amazon.com click here

Recommended reads are independently published books that I have bought and enjoyed. They are part of a commitment to ‘pay it forward’ to other independent authors by buying their work and promoting those that I have enjoyed, both here and on Amazon and Goodreads. I don’t accept submissions but instead focus on people who have helped or inspired me through their blogging or who actively support other writers, but I only recommend those books I have personally enjoyed. If you are an independent author I would encourage you to do the same and help pay it forward to the community. For more information please see my blog post here.