Publisher: Pat Kelleher
Publishing Date: March 2015
Publisher Description: On November 1st 1916, 900 men of the 13th Battalion of the Pennine Fusiliers vanish without trace from the battlefield only to find themselves on an alien planet. There they must learn to survive in a frightening and hostile environment, forced to rely on dwindling supplies of ammo and rations as the natives of this strange new world begin to take an interest. However, the aliens amongst them are only the first of their worries, as a sinister and arcane threat begins to take hold from within their own ranks!
Review: A rather mixed bag of reviews with not a lot of pen to paper types. Just stars with no comments. Those that liked it said the author did a good job of researching the Pennine fusiliers, who were a regiment that was formed in Northern England, Lancashire, at the foot of the Pennine Mountains. Only there is no such thing according to David Icke and others who did similar research into the veracity of the story line. The author makes no claims, really, that the Pennine Fusiliers were real. He just does a good job of grabbing your imagination and twisting it into believability. This installment is all three books combined into one, so hold onto your garters because its a long ride. Very dialogue heavy, to the point that the movement in the scenes was lost and scattered only to be re-visited again and again. Not a grinding slog fest of spew, as the writing is really good. Just patience warring with instant gratification.
The world building was pretty good yet fell a bit short on the alien descriptors. The floating bladder beasts were not described in detail and like a lot of the alien species, was left up to your imagination. I think in some instances the intensity was lacking because of the lack of descriptors. As a whole it worked for me, then was lost to me. Soldiers transported to an alien planet doing battle in a hostile environment, check. Jeffries as Mr. Old Black Magic….un-check. Too much going on with regard to the story line. I think the black magic was inappropriate to the SciFi genre and lacked a higher degree of believability.
The good bits were the creative aspects of the world building, the resident alien life forms and the novels premise, sans the black magic. While the writing was excellent it got lost in trenchant dialogue that slowed the pace and movement. The characterization was great due to the copious dialogue yet the movement suffered as a result.