Friday, August 11, 2017

Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum

Review: Son of Justice by Stephen L. Hawk


Remember the hedonistic thugs of Rollerball? "In the future there will be no war. There will only be Rollerball." Hawk's future with no war has an Earth where expressions like "when the shout hits the air" and "don't give a flock" have replaced their more violent, vulgar predecessors. 

Yet even a peaceful society needs warriors—especially when their space is invaded by warring aliens. That's where Eli Jayson comes in. He's joined the ranks of a military where most of the privates are orphans from Earth, raised in an institutional environment that promotes a level of competition unwelcome in general society.

Not Eli, though. He's incognito; his real surname is "Justice" and his father is the renowned commander of the Shiale alliance of four races: Human, Telgoran, Waa, and Minith. Eli grew up on Waa, was trained in weapons-handling by truly-fierce Minith warriors. He learned a bit of all three non-human languages. And he's determined to make it on his own, without trading on the family name. 

All he needs to do is not stand out.

That, he discovers, is an impossible task when you can almost defeat one of the Hulk-sized green Minith with their oversized staves, or understand what the Minith sergeants are muttering when they conspire to wash out large numbers of the human soldiers and send them back to Earth.

Then Eli manages to enlist the help of one of the stand-offish Telgoran natives of the world where they are training, and use his assistance to win an unwinnable test assignment. His Kobayashi Maru victory lands him in a court martial.

If you have already encountered the worlds of the Shiale alliance, the name of Justice is familiar. I, however, was unacquainted with The Peace Warrior trilogy, but decided to buy SOJ when I saw the title on Kindle Scout. (I missed the campaign to nominate it.) Now that I've nearly finished the tale of Grant Justice's son, I've purchased the omnibus volume of the trilogy to read. Better late than never!

Either way, I strongly recommend Son of Justice for mil-SF fans and Bildungsroman-readers alike. Eli Justice is a winner.

By any name!