Gun Runner, by Larry Correia and John Brown is hard science fiction, set in a distant future that has interstellar travel. Yet Correia stays true to form. It is hard-edged and involves lots of firearms and fantastic creatures.
Captain Nicholas Holloway owns the Multipurpose Supply Vehicle Tar Heel, an interstellar cargo ship. He is a gun runner. He and his crew are not in it just for the money. They provide banned weapons to societies who need them to fight animals on their home planets or to battle crazies with better political connections to Earth Bloc bureaucrats.
Jason Rook is a member of Holloway’s crew. He piloted an exosuit mech in the Gloss rebellion against the Collectivists. Then the Collectivists enslaved him through illegal brain control – which Earth Bloc did nothing to stop. Holloway rescued as Rook just as the rebellion was collapsing. Rook has been with Holloway ever since.
Now Rook and Holloway are on a new mission: steal a Citadel, the latest, greatest top-of-the-line mech available. They are going to deliver it to Swindle, a world with a corrosive atmosphere and apex predators that make Tyrannosaurus Rexes look wimpy. Swindle’s citizens need military-grade hardware to survive, but those weapons are under an Earth Bloc ban. They claim Swindle’s ruler is a tyrant.
Even a broken clock is right occasionally, and it turns out this time the Earth Bloc is right. Swindle’s ruler is Idi Amin-level crazy and cruel. What do you do when you discover you are not on the side of the angels this time?
You fix it.
Jason Rook plans to do just that. Despite the odds, even when his allies are as much of a hindrance as his enemies. Even if it means he has to confront his fear of becoming mentally enslaved again.
Correia and Brown have put together an action-packed adventure filled with giant robots, bandits, and murderers. They have thrown in dinosaurs (or, rather, extraterrestrial equivalents) as a bonus. There are good guys and bad guys, and enough ambiguity to make it unclear at first which are which. Add a touch of libertarian politics to fight overweening bureaucracy and you have the story.
Gun Runner is space opera at its best. Fun and fast-paced, it is an entertaining read.
Gun Runner, by Larry Correia and John Brown , Baen Books, 2021, 384 pages, $25.00 (Hardcover), $9.99 (Ebook)
*Mark Lardas is an engineer, freelance writer, historian and model-maker living in Texas. Mark posts on Ricochet as “Seawriter,” and is well-known for his regular and much appreciated reviews of books on all subjects. Of his reviews, he says “I have an unusual approach to reviewing books. I review books I feel merit a review. Each review is an opportunity to recommend a book. If I do not think a book is worth reading, I find another book to review.” His website is marklardas.com
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