Andromeda’s Fall: Begins a LEGION OF THE DAMNED prequel trilogy

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Andromeda’s Fall is the start of a new prequel trilogy related to William C. Dietz’s LEGION OF THE DAMNED and it’s a fine place for someone to enter this good military science fiction series.

Catherine Carletto is Empire nobility. Her family is incredibly powerful and wealthy and Catherine is on a sort of debutante tour after finishing college. She’s pretty, she’s rich and so everyone on the planets she visits wants to meet her. In the midst of a social event she is attacked by a Synth, a sort of highly advanced robot. Cat manages to evade the Synth, but in the process many people are killed and she gets wounded as well. Fortunately for Cat, her family and education have not left her without skills to survive.

After running for her life through a strange city, Cat realizes that serious resources have been set to exterminate her. The more she learns, the more it appears that not only is she being hunted, but her family as well. In desperation she does the unthinkable and joins the Legion, the modern permutation of the French Foreign Legion. They don’t care who she was or what she is running from as long as she can make it through the training and fight with them.

Andromeda’s Fall becomes a pretty typical military science fiction novel at this point. Cat’s matriculation into the Legion paints a rough picture of a real band of cast-offs who must learn to serve and fight together in order to survive. Dietz paints a rather bleak picture and Cat, who adopts the name Andromeda McKee, has to learn to balance her need for privacy and avoiding the attention of the Imperial agents who are hunting her against the need to connect and bond with her fellow Legionnaires.

Dietz has as strong command of the principles of military science fiction. Without spending too much time on the intricate details of future technology that we don’t yet have, he instead focuses on the similarities between future and current military forces. Tasks such as taking care of equipment, managing resupply, and working to turn strangers into a functional team are all very real, very normal issues for any military. The way Dietz incorporates these issues into the story makes it feel really normal and you aren’t left confused about what happens to the brain of a Legionnaire who elects to serve as a cyborg. There were tactical issues that I had to question, like basically soft human soldiers riding on the back of a heavily armored cyborg — the humans would get killed like crazy just from shrapnel — but from a storytelling perspective, it works.

Cat is a likable character. The other members of the Legion are more or less likable, but there is enough variety to make it entertaining. If you enjoy military science fiction then the LEGION OF THE DAMNED and Andromeda’s Fall are something you will want to try.

Publication Date: December 4, 2012. 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—Cat—has lived for 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 allies—including Cat’s family. Now Cat is on the run. And, like countless others before her, she finds sanctuary among the most dangerous of society’s misfits—the Legion. Cat becomes Andromeda McKee: a woman with a mission—to bring down Empress Ophelia—or die trying.

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JOHN HULET (on FanLit's staff July 2007 -- March 2015) is a member of the Utah Army National Guard. John’s experiences have often left a great void that has been filled by countless hours spent between the pages of a book lost in the words and images of the authors he admires. During a 12 month tour of Iraq, he spent well over $1000 on books and found sanity in the process. John lives in Utah and works slavishly to prepare soldiers to serve their country with the honor and distinction that Sturm Brightblade or Arithon s’Ffalenn would be proud of. John retired from FanLit in March 2015 after being with us for nearly 8 years.

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