March Upcountry (Empire of Man Series #1)

( 27 )


The Royal Brat is in Trouble
Roger Ramius Sergei Chiang MacClintock didn't understand.
He was young, handsome, athletic, an excellent dresser, and third in line for the Throne of why wouldn't anyone at Court trust him?
Why wouldn't even his own mother, the Empress, explain why they didn't trust him? Or why the very mention of his father's name was forbidden at Court? Or why his mother had decided to ...

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March Upcountry

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The Royal Brat is in Trouble
Roger Ramius Sergei Chiang MacClintock didn't understand.
He was young, handsome, athletic, an excellent dresser, and third in line for the Throne of why wouldn't anyone at Court trust him?
Why wouldn't even his own mother, the Empress, explain why they didn't trust him? Or why the very mention of his father's name was forbidden at Court? Or why his mother had decided to pack him off to a backwater planet aboard what was little more than a tramp freighter to represent her at a local political event better suited to a third assistant undersecretarv of state?
It probably wasn't too surprising that someone in his position should react by becoming spoiled, selfcentered and petulant. After all, what else did he have to do with his life?
But that was before a saboteur tried to blow up his transport. Then warships of the Empire of Man's worst rivals shot the crippled vessel out of space. Then Roger found himself shipwrecked on the planet Marduk, whose jungles were full of damnbeasts, killerpillars, carnivorous plants, torrential rain, and barbarian hordes with really bad dispositions. Now all Roger has to do is hike halfway around the entire planet, then capture a spaceport from the Bad Guys, somehow commandeer a starship, and then go home to Mother for explanations.
Fortunately, Roger has an ace in the hole: Bravo Company of Bronze Battalion of The Empress' Own Regiment. If anyone can get him off Marduk alive, it's the Bronze Barbarians.
Assuming that Prince Roger manages to grow up before he gets all of them killed.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Everything seems normal; even dull: Prince Roger MacClintock is making an obligatory visit to a distant planet for a ceremonial appearance. And then the unthinkable occurs: A crash leaves him and his guardian Royal Marine on a hostile planet. Now, to survive, the prince must become a man.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
An established master of military SF, Weber, and a fast-rising comer in the genre, Ringo, combine forces in the first of a new series sure to please their fans. Prince Roger Ramius Sergei Alexander Chiang MacClintock has a problem. Thanks to terrorist sabotage, he and a company of space marines are marooned in the wilderness of the planet Marduk, noted for high mountains, high temperatures, low technology and the short tempers of its nine-foot, four-armed, slime-covered natives. They have to get out of this place. In their effort to do so, they win allies among the Mardukans (mostly in legitimate ways) and overcome others by judiciously combining sneakiness and firepower. Along the way, the prince turns from a spoiled brat into a useful, even valuable member of the company. This coming-of-age theme often crops up in military SF, and indeed both authors are working within territory they know well. The pace never gets too slow, despite generous world-building and extended action scenes. Another strength is the deceptively deep characterization particularly of Prince Roger, whose transformation draws on skills and character traits carefully planted early in the novel. The book could actually use more background (the villainous terrorist Saints are shadow figures) and ends on a cliff-hanger (or cliff-climber), but overall the superb storytelling will add considerably to the reputation of both authors. (May) FYI: Weber created Honor Harrington. Need more be said? Ringo's most recent novel is Gust Front, reviewed in Forecasts, Mar. 12. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
Prince Roger, third child of the Empress of Man, finds himself a reluctant warrior when sabotage forces his diplomatic mission to make an emergency landing on a barbaric planet filled with savage predators and unexpected dangers. As the soldiers of the Bronze Battalion of the Empress's Own Regiment face a brutal march across the planet to get their royal charge to safety, Roger finds his own courage tested to the limit. Best known for his "Honor Harrington" series, Weber teams with Ringo (A Hymn Before Battle) to inaugurate a new series that combines military sf with political intrigue. Sure to appeal to both authors' avid readers. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Military SF, of course. What else could a collaboration between Weber (the Honor Harrington series, etc.) and Ringo (A Hymn Before Battle, 2000) be? Plots swirl about Alexandra VII, Empress of Man, and the numerous members of the royal family, including young, sulky Prince Roger. Alexandra, who doesn't trust Roger, decides to send the youth on a state visit to a distant planet as various plots come to the boil. Roger embarks on a troop carrier accompanied by top-notch marines. But the ship's sabotaged and, heavily damaged, veers into a system occupied by the hostile eco-religious-fanatic Saints. While the ship's crew remains to engage enemy warships, the marines and Roger flee down onto the planet. The marines' task: protect Roger, cross thousands of miles of broiling, humid planet swarming with voracious alien life forms—not to mention huge, barbaric, four-armed natives—capture an enemy base and escape. The action's nonstop, with plenty of Machiavellian plotting involving the natives. Will Roger come out of his sulk and show some real backbone? And as the marines' losses mount, ammo runs short, and their high-tech weapons fail in the demanding conditions, will they have enough muscle left to tackle the enemy base if and when they finally arrive? Tactically exciting if strategically predictable, and, despite the doorstopper length, only half a book: a conclusion is promised. Your move.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780671319854
  • Publisher: Baen
  • Publication date: 5/28/2001
  • Series: Empire of Man Series , #1
  • Pages: 528
  • Product dimensions: 6.12 (w) x 9.25 (h) x 1.75 (d)

Meet the Author

David Weber
David Weber

DAVID WEBER is the author of the New York Times bestselling Honor Harrington series, the most recent of which was At All Costs. His many other novels include Mutineers’ Moon, The Armageddon Inheritance, Heirs of Empire, Path of the Fury, and Wind Rider’s Oath. He lives in South Carolina.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

"His Royal Highness, Prince Roger Ramius Sergei Alexander Chiang MacClintock!"

    Prince Roger maintained his habitual, slightly bored smile as he padded through the door, then stopped and glanced around the room as he shot the cuffs of his shirt and adjusted his cravat. Both were made from Diablo spidersilk, the softest and sleekest material in the galaxy. Since it was protected by giant, acid-spitting spiders, it was also the most expensive.

    For his part, Amos Stephens paid as little attention as possible to the young fop he had so grandly announced. The child was a disgrace to the honorable name of his mother's family. The cravat was bad enough, and the brightly patterned brocade jacket, more appropriate for a bordello than a meeting with the Empress of Man, was worse. But the hair! Stephens had served twenty years in Her Majesty's Navy before entering the Palace Service Corps. The only difference between his years in the Navy and his years in the Palace was the way his close-cropped curls had shifted from midnight black to silver. The mere sight of the butt-length golden hair of the farcical dandy Empress Alexandra's younger son had become always drove the old butler absolutely mad.

    The Empress' office was remarkably small and spare, with a broad desk no larger than that of a middle-level manager in any of the star-spanning corporations of Earth. The appointments were simple but elegant; the chairs sensible, but elaborately hand-crafted and covered in exquisite hand-stitching. Most of the pictures were old master originals. The one exception wasthe most famous. "The Empress in Waiting" was a painting from life of Miranda MacClintock during the "Dagger Years," and the artist, Trachsler, had captured his subject perfectly. Her eyes were open and smiling, showing the world the image of an ingenuous Terran subject. A loyal upholder of the Dagger Lords. In other words, a filthy collaborator. But if you stared at the painting long enough, a chill crept over your skin and the eyes slowly changed. To the eyes of a predator.

    Roger spared the painting one bare glance, then looked away. All of the MacClintocks lived under the shadow of the old biddy, long dead though she was. As the merest—and least satisfactory—slip of that lineage, he had all the shadows he could stand.

    Alexandra VII, Empress of Man, regarded her youngest child through half-slitted eyes. The carefully metered bite of Stephens' ironic announcement had apparently gone over the prince's head completely. Roger certainly didn't seem affected by the old spacer's disdain in the slightest.

    Unlike her flamboyant son, Empress Alexandra wore a blue suit of such understated elegance that it must have cost as much as a small starship. Now she leaned back in her float chair and propped her cheek on her hand, wondering for the hundredth time if this was the right decision. But there were a thousand other decisions awaiting her, all of them vital, and she'd spent all the time she intended to on this one.

    "Mother," Roger said insouciantly, with a micrometric bow, and glanced at his brother in the flanking chair. "To what do I owe the honor of being summoned into two such august presences?" he continued with a slight, knowing smirk.

    John MacClintock gave his younger brother a thin smile and a nod. The galaxy-renowned diplomat was dressed in a conservative suit of blue worsted, with a practical damask handkerchief poking out of one sleeve. For all that he looked like a doltish banker, his poker face and sleepy eyes hid a mind as insightful as any in the known worlds. And despite the developing paunch of middle-age, he could have become a professional golfer ... if the job of Heir Apparent had allowed the time for it.

    The Empress leaned forward abruptly and fixed her youngest with a laser stare. "Roger, We are sending you off-planet on a `show the flag' mission."

    Roger blinked several times, and smoothed his hair.

    "Yes?" he replied carefully.

    "The planet Leviathan is celebrating Net-Hauling in two months—"

    "Oh, my God, Mother!" Roger's exclamation cut the Empress of Man off in mid-sentence. "You must be joking!"

    "We are not joking, Roger," Alexandra said severely. "Leviathan's primary export may be grumbly oil, but that doesn't change the fact that it's a focal planet in the Sagittarius sector. And there hasn't been a family representative for Net-Hauling in two decades." Since I repudiated your father, she didn't bother to add.

    "But, Mother! The smell!" the prince protested, shaking his head to toss an errant strand of hair out of his eyes. He knew he was whining and hated it, but the alternative was smelling grumbly oil for at least several weeks on the planet. And even after he escaped Leviathan, it would take several more weeks for Kostas to get the smell out of his clothes. The oil made a remarkable musk base; in fact, it was in the cologne he was wearing at the moment. But in its raw form, it was the most noxious stuff in the galaxy.

    "We don't care about the smell, Roger," snapped the Empress, "and neither should you! You will show the flag for the dynasty, and you will show Our subjects that We care enough about their reaffirmation of alliance to the Empire to send one of Our children. Is that understood?"

    The young prince drew himself up to his full hundred ninety-five centimeters and gathered the shreds of his dignity.

    "Very well, Your Imperial Majesty. I will, of course, do my duty as you see fit. It is my duty, after all, is it not, Your Imperial Majesty? Noblesse oblige and all that?" His aristocratic nostrils flared in suppressed anger. "Now I suppose I have some packing to oversee. By your leave?"

    Alexandra's steely gaze held him for a few moments more, and then she waggled her fingers in the direction of the door.

    "Go. Go. And do a good job." The "for a change" was unstated.

    Prince Roger gave another micrometric bow, turned his back quite deliberately, and stalked out of the room.

    "You could have handled that better, Mother," John said quietly, after the door had closed on the angry young man.

    "Yes, I could have." She sighed, steepling her fingers under her chin. "And I should have, damn it. But he looks too much like his father!"

    "But he isn't his father, Mother," John said quietly. "Unless you create his father in him. Or drive him into New Madrid's camp."

    "Try to teach me to suck eggs, why don't you?" she snapped, then inhaled deeply and shook her head. "I'm sorry, John. You're right. You're always right." She smiled ruefully at her older son. "I'm just not good at personal, am I?"

    "You were fine with Alex and me," John replied. "But Roger's carrying a lot of loads. It might be time to cut him some slack."

    "There isn't any slack to cut! Not now!"

    "There's some. More than he's gotten in the last several years, anyway. Alex and I always knew you loved us," he pointed out quietly. "Roger's never been absolutely sure."

    Alexandra shook her head.

    "Not now," she repeated more calmly. "When he gets back, if this crisis blows over, I'll try to ..."

    "Undo some of the damage?" John's voice was level, his mild eyes unchallenging, open and calm. But then, he looked that way in the face of war.

    "Explain," she said sharply. "Tell him the whole story. From the horse's mouth. Maybe if I explain it to him it will make more sense." She paused, and her face hardened. "And if he still is in New Madrid's camp, well, we'll just have to deal with that as it comes."

    "But until then?" John met her half-angry, half-saddened gaze levelly.

    "Until then we stay the course. And get him as far out of the line of fire as possible."

    And as far from power as possible, as well, she thought.

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Table of Contents

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 27 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 27 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 17, 2013


    I've always loved this series, even though I really don't kknow why. It's not particularly well written (seriously, how many times can you call someone a fop without it just being ridiculous), the military characters all are self-righteous jerks with sticks up their behinds, and O'Casey is a raging imbecile whose so-called "expertise" is little short of a joke. But I like Roger, Kostas, and the Mardukans, so I guess somehow that outweighs rhe woodenness of the writing for me.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 24, 2011

    David and John have done it again!

    Great book. I cannot put it down. The authours never leave you bored. Every chapter is brimmimg with excitement!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 21, 2004

    More Please!

    This was an ensnaring read, once I started it I could do little else before it was done. There is fantastic character development, and it is written so you can see what they characters see, and feel their emotions likewise. In addition, the technology was well thought-out and quite belivable.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 23, 2003

    I WANT MORE!!!!

    I so wanted to reach into the book & slap Prince Roger until he saw double. I'm looking forward to watching Prince Roger become a man and develop the talents that are hinted. As an avid SF reader and combat vet, I could FEEL this story. The importance of mission & the dedication of the marines. I mourned the loss of every life. I WAS THERE.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 28, 2002

    Never a dull moment 'Marching' wih Prince Roger

    When I opend this book I became hooked in the first 2 pages and now after a marathon reading session I have to read it again. Prince Roger is a spoiled brat and it is enthralling to 'watch' him become a leader as the story progresses. The supporting cast of characters are also very dimensional,you can see and hear them as your read each word, page, paragraph and chapter. I hope this does indeed become a series as is the 'Honor Harrington' books.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 13, 2001

    Already waiting for the next installment

    The Prince is a pain will be your first reaction. Keep reading. This is good military fiction. Good humor. Add these authors to your 'if they are writing it I'm buying it list.'

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    exciting science fiction coming of age tale

    The Empress of Man Alexandra VII sends her spoiled youngest son Prince Roger MacClintock to waive the flag at the planet Leviathan¿s Net-Hauling event. Roger protests about having to visit a backwater orb that smells for light years around. Roger remains unhappy with the assignment, but knows he must carry it out wondering why his father is persona non grata at court and why nobody trusts him to support his mother once he learns the truth. <P> On the trek through space, terrorists disable the ship forcing an emergency landing on the dangerous planet Marduk that makes Leviathan look like the center of civilization. Accompanied by marines, Roger needs to grow up rather quickly if he is to survive the hostile planet whose low-tech natives are as deadly as any species in the universe. <P> MARCH UPCOUNTRY is an exciting science fiction coming of age tale that never slows down for even a paragraph. Roger makes the plot work because readers believe in his transition from spoiled brat to responsible adult team member. The ¿good guys¿ including Roger are fully developed, but the villains lack substance. Military science fiction experts David Weber and John Ringo prove that the total sometimes is greater than the sum and that is saying a lot since these two writers are among the best today. <P>Harriet Klausner

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