Book Title: Iron Wolves – Order of the Centurion – Book 2
Editor: David Gatewood
Publication Date: March 5, 2019
Available on: Amazon as an eBook, a paperback and as an audiobook
Indie Athenaeum Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
The ruling government of the planet Viat has invited the Legion to its planet as part of its ceremony bringing them officially into the Republic. They also want to celebrate the Legion’s history and how they have helped their planet in the past. A squad of Iron Wolves goes in, thinking this is an easy assignment on a backwater planet. But it goes badly awry when the local resistance opposes Viat’s inclusion into the Republic and have the manpower and weapons to enforce their beliefs. Outnumbered and outgunned, can the Iron Wolves defeat this new insidious and vicious enemy?
The Iron Wolves are now trapped inside Cononga, the capital city of Viat with limited resources, almost no weapons and are short on manpower. How they think outside the box to try to win this battle is one of the treats of this novel. Trying to empower the local and incompetent militia, the Legion’s Captain Zeno also must battle for of hearts and minds of the Conongan population to try to convince them to fight.
The final battle that takes place in this novel is an absolute standout. Highlighting unique and unorthodox tactics, a palpable sense of tension and high-stakes action, the Iron Wolves fight a winner-take-all battle in one final push or die trying, fighting for what they believe in. I wondered whether the Iron Wolves would all die and whether the enemy would win. I could not even guess what would happen, with all the twists and turns this battle took.
The soldiers all are distinctive with a strong sense of honor, especially to the local population. But out of all the characters, Fenra stood out the most for me. Known as a lyconlore, she’s described as a massive, shaggy creature with razor-sharp claws, pungent smell, and keen intelligence. Anything involving Fenra was really fun to read, from the way she fights to her sense of loyalty to the journalist Sola. Sola also harbors a past that was unexpected and tied into the plot of the novel well. Fenra and Sola are not soldiers but turn out to be valuable and ferocious allies to the Iron Wolves. I hope we see more of Fenra’s history and/or lyconlores in future Galaxy’s Edge books.
The history of the Legion and of the Iron Wolves in this book are cleverly enmeshed into this novel. It was something I really enjoyed and appreciated in this novel. It’s not just window dressing either, as it proves to be crucial to the plot and how the final battle plays out.
This book, in some subtle ways, mirrors the conflicts of the Vietnam War. From traveling down a river in a boat looking for the enemy to the politics surrounding the Legion’s fighting to help the planet. The planet itself is even named Viat and has a Colonel named Minh. All of this evokes that sense of dread that comes from fighting when the odds are against you and creates a mood that settles over the reader like a dark shroud.
One battle felt like there was a certain sameness to it, in that it felt derivative of other Legion stories without bringing anything new to the table. That aspect of it slowed down the pace of the story for me. But that eventually changed, and it distinguishes itself in the grand finale, making it far more memorable. Legion stories set a very high bar for quality, so I have that expectation when I read something in this universe.
Set in the recent past before the first season of the “Galaxy’s Edge” universe, the “Order of the Centurion” novels spotlight an event and specifically, a person who is going to be awarded this honor. As part of the reading experience, I wonder who it is that will receive this award, whether it will be posthumous or not and what valorous acts they did to earn it. In the back of my head, I’m taking a guess as to who it might be and I’m always wrong until the final moments when it becomes perfectly clear. But the answer I received here is something that impressed me with what happened and why.
As a standalone novel in the “Galaxy’s Edge” universe, the Iron Wolves exhibit honor, determination, and commitment to their values and ideals. Despite the dire circumstances they find themselves in, battling resistance fighters and poor odds, the Iron Wolves fight on with courage, heart, and conviction. Those ideas are always at the heart of stories about the Legion and are one of the many things that make the Galaxy’s Edge novels such a pleasure to read. I look forward to more “Order of the Centurion” novels and seeing how they highlight soldiers worthy of such an honorific.
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