Andromeda's Fall

Andromeda's Fall by William C. Dietz, The Prequel Legion Series #1

The roots of the Legion of the Damned lie deep within the mythology of the future. But now, national bestselling author William C. Dietz goes back to the Legion’s early days with the story of one recruit’s rebirth and redemption…

Hundreds of years in the future, much has changed. Advances in medicine, technology, and science abound. Humanity has gone to the stars, found alien life, and established an empire.

But some things never change...

All her life, Lady Catherine Carletto (called Cat) has lived for nothing but the next party, the next lover, the next expensive toy. Until, in a bloodthirsty power grab, Imperial Princess Ophelia and her cadre of synth assassins murder her brother the emperor, and go on to purge the galaxy of his friends and supporters—including Cat’s family. The Carlettos are known to be staunch supporters of the Emperor and Carletto Industries has been in the forefront of his pet project—developing cybernetic technology for use by the masses.

Now Cat, one of the last surviving Carlettos, is on the run. And, like countless others before her, she finds her sanctuary among the most dangerous of society’s misfits.

Welcome to the Legion.

Cat Carletto vanishes, and in her place stands Legion recruit Andromeda McKee. A woman with a mission—to bring down Empress Ophelia—or die trying.

I have read quite a few science fiction book last year from Titan and I was very pleased with the level of it. When I saw that they were publishing Andromeda's Fall, I got quite eager and luckily I got a review copy! New York Times Bestselling author William C. Dietz is perhaps best know for his science fiction series Legion , a nine book series published between 1993 and 2011. Legion has been widely well received and in 2012 a new book was released in this series but rather than following up the ninth book, William C. Dietz made it an prequel to the original series of Legion of the Damned, the second prequel story Andromeda's Choice, was released just last week and besides bringing the prequel to the UK, Titan is also set on publishing the original Legion series in the UK later this year. I have heard of the Legion of the Damned series but hadn't had the chance to read them. yet.. Andromeda's Fall proofed to be the perfect start! (I won't be able to relate any events told in Andromeda's Fall with the earlier published books so don't pin it down on me). 

Andromeda's Fall opens in not your typical way or at least I thought it wasn't. It does kick of with a lot of action to say the least and throws you right in the midst of it all. The story starts with an military coup staged by the Imperial Princess Ophelia and is aided in this by an army of synth's, synthethic people/robots. The initial focus isn't on Catherine just yet but first you see how Ophelia eliminates all other threats or at least does her best. After you have read of how Ophelia has done her deal the focus switches to the protagonist of the book, Lady Catherine Carletto, who is currently and has been living quite the life of luxury never having a care for anything. But this all is about to change soon, as Catherine is confronted with the coupe staged by Ophelia. Her life is forfeit and she flees to safe her own life. Now stranded without resources, her life has changed to full 180 degrees and then some more. Catherine only want revenge for all that Ophelia has done to her and her family, and only sees one way out of it all. Joining the Legion. I initially thought that the Legion would just be another military division but it soon became clear to me that there is more behind the this idea. It's based on the French Foreign Legion the Légion étrangère. I really liked this idea, I haven't encountered this in military fiction yet and especially when you see that its just as it was in the past, they accept anyone not depended on rank or past, criminals and the like or people looking to start anew. But back to Catherine. Her story is just about to start when she signs up. 

If you look at most military science fiction you often have a male lead, I have to admit that they do make an easy protagonist, but recently I read the first book of Confederation by Tanya Huff and was pleasantly surprised by how she showed her female lead. William C. Dietz's protagonist Catherine, turned Andromeda McKee (as soon as she enlists in the Legion) is just amazing. I have to be honest and thought her to be a spoiled brat to begin with but this soon changed when she starts to realize than when you are on your own life is hard. Andromeda only gets stronger as the story progresses, in the Legion the majority is male and this makes her life only that much more harder, but she does has her mind set on one goal revenge, and she is going to get it, no matter the cost! I can go on just how much I liked such a strong voice all throughout the book, with Andromeda, William C. Dietz managed to pull me into his book and didn't let me go, only sadly when the last page was done. I have very high hopes to see how Andromeda's story will unfold in the sequel. There are some other secondary characters that you are introduced to and they all play a nice supporting role to Andromeda, for example there is Larkin who first makes her life pretty sour but Andromeda isn't one to take this for granted, later on there is nice development between them and they both realize that they are fighting for the same goal, so working against each other will only make their cause more difficult... I am very pleased with the way the characterization was shown in Andromeda's Fall, yes I like it when you have the tech-y side of military fiction but great characterization is a must to create a great story. 

As for the story in Andromeda's Fall, for some part it's outlined in above but that is only the beginning, when you delve deeper into the book, the story transforms and the first introduced societies are abandoned and the focus lies with the training of Andromeda and the new recruits of the Legion. Here again, William C. Dietz does a nice job in clearly building up story. From recruitment to training to last but not least fighting. I must say that when I read the training I had some reservations as to the main plot of the story. Yes there is a lot of rapid fire action surround our female heroine and you get the ins and outs of the training regime of the Legion and it's harsh and tough to say the least. But I thought in the beginning that with such a heavy focus on the Legion itself that it might start to overshadow the goal that Andromeda had in her mind for Ophelia, but luckily this isn't the case, sometimes it is pushed to the background of the story but that is more in the spur of the moment. Andromeda never looses sight of her goal and even when she realizes that with the Legion she actually fights for Ophelia... it's like the saying keep your friends close but you enemies even closer. I have some thoughts as to how the story might go down in Andromeda's Choice

And what would military fiction be without any rapid fire action? William C. Dietz background must have helped in pulling this off. His descriptions of the action that takes place, the small fights - bullying between the Legion recruits down to fighting of aliens is all written in a clear a crisp way that brings you right to the edge of your seat and leaves you wanting more. What struck me as most pleasantly while reading was that there is definitely a great focus once the battles takes down where a lot of tactics are shown combined with several heavy artillery weapons, but this doesn't take over the storyline completely. You aren't thrown in the depths of military lingo at all, hereby the storyline is much more readily approachable by not only military science fiction fans but also for your average science fiction fans. And most importantly, with all this you get perhaps a much greater well rounded story, combining a strong female lead, great supporting cast, word building spanning an entire universe and edge of your seat action. Top stuff right here. 

I can only highly recommend Andromeda's Fall to everyone. If you are looking for a great science fiction story, get it. If you are looking for military fiction, get it. If you are looking for great characters, get, If you are looking for a more than cool story, GET IT. I think you are catching my drift. William C. Dietz definitely knows how to write his stories in a engaging way that leaves you wanting more and more. I cannot yet relate the prequel events to the original Legion series but I hope I will be able to do so soon. Andromeda's Fall well get anyone eager to devour the rest of the series asap. 


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