Review: The Peace Warrior Trilogy Omnibus: Peace Warrior, Peace Army, Peace World by Steven L. Hawk
For Army Sergeant Grant Justice, life ended in a snowy wilderness at the edge of an icy plunge—but his world isn't done with him yet! He is resuscitated, his 600-year long frozen death reversed by a researcher who has also given him replacement super-limbs to go with his ancient warrior's brain.
Earth needs that brain more Justice realizes at first. A cultural shift united Earth's people and made "peace" a primary value, just before the world was invaded by the warrior Minith. In a world of peaceful sheep, the aliens are ravening wolves.
I found great resemblances in the first book with Sylvester Stallone's Demolition Man in the swooning reactions of his critics and excited groupie-ism of Sandra Bullock's Lenina Huxley. Justice shares another vice with John Spartan (asid from the Marvel-comic name): he introduces swearing and casual obscenities to a culture that has largely moved past them. However, despite the "French," Justice and Spartan are both able to communicate immediately with their new hosts. It is not language that sepearates them, but a different cultural philosophy.
It was probable, he decided, that many of the historical sites had been torn down because they were monuments to the wars that had forged the old United States. For all of the city's newfound dullness, the streets were surprisingly clean, and smelled of antiseptic.
Another echo from past reads came with Justice's attempt to fit himself into a society that is decidedly alien. Ever encounter Richard Ben Sapir's The Far Arena? True, Sapir's protagonist is a Roman soldier resurrected from a glacial tomb rather than an Artic waste, spent 2,000 years in his limbo, and cannot speak any language now in use. Even so, I found parallels with the Roman's and Justice's bafflement at the non-warrior's passive submission to the ills that beset them.
...those who aren't here fighting with you? They will know that you were here. They will know that you put your life on the line for them and that some of you sacrificed your lives. There's no way they cannot know that. But they won't know what you know. They won't know the soldier standing next to you didn't make it home. They won't know what that means to you. They won't know how it has scarred you or how it will affect you for the rest of your lives. To most of them, it will just be a distraction.
The Minith (whom I first encountered in Son of Justice, reviewed in Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum) resemble nothing so much as wile, bat-eared Hulks, casually slaughtering humans because they can. They are decidedly short on wits, however long they may be on muscles and combativeness. Throughout the three novels in the trilogy, Justice's task is to conceal from the conquerors of Earth his efforts to enlist, train, arm and bootstrap the peaceful society into rebellion against them. He does have a secret advantage:
Had General Soo known the history of Earth, he would have known that Peace, as currently practiced by the humans, was a relatively new concept. He would have known that humans had practiced war, both as an art and as a business, for much longer than three hundred years. If he had known their history, the general would have known that humans were much better at war than they had ever been at Peace.
I won't reveal anything more that might be a spoiler, but the action is well-considered (even while the continual resistance of the ultra-peaceful leaders of Earth gets to be frustrating for the reader, as much as for Grant Justice.) There are plenty of battles and skirmishes, and even knowing how it will end—remember, I read the sequel first—can't spoil the increasing tension as Earth fights for freedom.
Justice will prevail!