Margaret Weis is the co-author (with Tracy Hickman) of the bestselling Dragonlace Chronicles & Dragonlace Legends series, as well as the co-author (with Robert Krammes) of the Dragon Brigade trilogy of novels. She also publishes role-playing games, including major franchises such as Firefly and Smallville.
Knights of the Black Earthby Margaret Weis, Don Perrin
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From Publishers Weekly: Weis (the Dragonlance series, etc.) returns to her Stars of the Guardians series (The Lost King, etc.), this time collaborating with military expert and first-time author Perrin, formerly of the Canadian Defense Department. Cyborg Xris and the six other members of his mercenary Mag Force 7 team are back as well, seeking to foil a plot to assassinate the galactic ruler, King Starfire. High-tech combat and violent death permeate the narrative, which initially focuses on Xris's mission to do away with his former colleague, the transsexual Darin Cowan/Darlene Mohini. Xris, who was once wholly human, believes that Cowan betrayed him, leading to the accident that left the Force ruler imprisoned in a cyborg body. When a foppish, drug-using member of the team is kidnapped during that mission, the Force discovers the plot by the Knights of the Black Earth to kill the king. Adventures and misadventures, leavened with plot twists, humor and ample quotes from Sun Tzu, follow. Unexpectedly subtle yet filled with fast-paced action, this above-average space opera will please Weis's many fans.
From Library Journal:
The cyborg warrior Xris and his team of professional mercenaries seek out an elusive target whose past betrayals warrant speedy execution; their plans change abruptly, however, when they uncover a plot to destroy the galaxy's young king, the last living bearer of the Blood Royal. Set in the same universe as Weis's "Star of the Guardians" series, this effort by the popular sf/fantasy author and first-timer Perrin is a fast-paced galactic adventure designed to introduce the motley crew of antiheroes known as the Mag Force 7. Spiced with humor and a dash of romance, this space opera should appeal to most fans of sf adventure.
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A fun book to read. Although the characters develop decently throughout the book, the plot is somewhat transparant. For those of us who habitually read the techno-orientated science fiction, this series is a great antidote for 'super-science burnout.' A fast moving plot (unhindered by psuedo-science lectures) and interesting characters makes this book perfect for breaking up those long series of 'technical' science fiction without resorting to humorus or satirical sci-fi.
Great book storyline you can really get hooked on.