Flashfire (Starfist Series #11)

Flashfire (Starfist Series #11)

by David Sherman, Dan Cragg

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Packed with hard-core action written by battle-savvy combat veterans, the explosive Starfist series has become hugely popular across America. Now the saga of the courageous Marines continues in Flashfire, as the 34th Fleet Initial Strike Team (FIST) ventures to the edge of Human Space to fight a number of enemies . . . some on their own side.

Tensions erupt between the Confederation and several frontier worlds when civilians are shot dead at an army base on the planet Ravenette. Enraged, the Ravenette government and nine neighboring planets form a coalition, and their first act of secession is to overrun Ravenette’s Confederation garrison. With the armed forces of ten worlds seizing the brutal upper hand, the embattled troops need help—now—and they need it bad.

Enter the Marines of the 34th FIST. As the nearest ready-to-deploy unit, the team is sent to Ravenette with orders to hold the line until reinforcements arrive. The upcoming operation promises to be no picnic, for while sophisticates may ridicule the backward ways of the uncouth frontier folk, no one scoffs at their fighting ability.

Charlie Bass doesn’t mince words for his men in Company L’s third platoon. Two army divisions—perhaps thirty thousand soldiers—are being overwhelmed, and somebody expects a thousand Marines to save the day. As pompous Confederation generals wreak even more havoc than the enemy, there are those who call the mission suicide . . . but not the Marines.

Of course it sounds hopeless, but for Marines like Charlie Bass and the rest of the 34th FIST, accomplishing the impossible comes with the territory.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780345460554
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 03/27/2007
Series: Starfist Series , #11
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 1,256,097
Product dimensions: 4.10(w) x 6.90(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

David Sherman is a former U.S. Marine and the author of eight novels about Marines in Vietnam, where he served as an infantryman and as a member of a Combined Action Platoon. He is also the author of the military fantasy series Demontech. Visit the author’s website at www.novelier.com.

Dan Cragg enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1958 and retired with the rank of sergeant major twenty-two years later. He is the author of Inside the VC and the NVA (with Michael Lee Lanning), Top Sergeant (with William G. Bainbridge), and a Vietnam War novel, The Soldier’s Prize. He has recently retired as an analyst for the Department of Defense.

Read an Excerpt


It wasn’t late in the evening, but at high latitude on Thorsfinni’s World the sun was long down by the time the liberty bus clattered to a stop next to a vacant lot near the center of Bronnysund, the town outside the main gate of Marine Corps Base Camp Major Pete Ellis. The driver levered the door open and thirty Marines clattered off, whooping and hollering in unrestrained glee at their weekend’s freedom from the restrictions on behavior imposed by the Confederation Marine Corps during duty hours.

Well, most of the restrictions. They were required to maintain a certain level of decorum—at least, they were not to commit crimes, or get themselves injured badly enough to miss duty, or go anyplace from which they wouldn’t be able to return for morning roll call on the third morning hence. And it was only most of them who whooped and hollered; there was a loose knot of eight who were somewhat more restrained. The eight in question were the junior leaders of third platoon, Company L, 34th Fleet Initial Strike Team.

“So where are we going?” Corporal Bohb Taylor, second gun team and most junior of the corporals, asked when the other twenty-two Marines had scattered.

Corporal Tim Kerr, first fire team leader, second squad, and the most senior of the eight, simply snorted and turned to lead the way.

Corporal Bill Barber, first gun team leader and not much junior to Kerr, slapped the back of Taylor’s head hard enough to knock his soft cover awry, said, “Taylor, sometimes you’re so dumb I don’t know how you ever got your second stripe.” He turned to follow Kerr.

“Yeah, Taylor. What do you know about the Top that the rest of us don’t?” asked Corporal Rachman “Rock” Claypoole, third fire team leader, second squad, and not much senior to Taylor. He followed Barber.

“What do you mean, what do I know about the Top?” Taylor squawked.

“Blackmail!” Corporal Joe Dean, first squad’s third fire team leader and also not much senior to Taylor, hooted. “There’s no other way you could make corporal!” He laughed raucously.

“Which begs the question of how you made corporal,” Corporal Raoul Pasquin, first squad’s second fire team leader said with a loud laugh.

“Hey!” Dean yelped indignantly.

Corporal Dornhofer, first fire team leader, first squad, not much junior to Kerr, chuckled and shook his head. He and the other corporals fell in with Claypoole.

Taylor had to run a few paces to catch up.

A few blocks and a couple of turns later, Kerr shoved open the door of Big Barb’s, the combination bar, restaurant, ships’ chandlery, hotel, and bordello that was the unofficial headquarters of third platoon, Company L, 34th Fleet Initial Strike Team during liberty hours.


Twin shrieks barely preceded two young women, one blond and fair, the other brunette and swarthy, both beautiful by any standard, who flew across the large common room and flung themselves on the big corporal with enough force to stagger him back a couple of steps.

“Hey! Watch where you’re going, Kerr!” Corporal Pasquin shouted into the back of Kerr’s head. He raised his hands and pushed Kerr off his chest.

Corporal Dean helped keep Kerr upright and moving forward. The press of advancing bodies behind them forced Kerr and the others farther into the room.

Kerr barely noticed the hands and bodies holding him up and forcing him forward, he was too distracted by the four arms clinging to his neck, the four breasts pressed into his chest, the two mouths raining kisses on his face. He wrapped an arm around each waist and lifted, to ease the weight on his neck and shoulders.

“Way to go, Kerr!” Corporal Dean said, slapping Kerr on the back as he squeezed past and began looking for a table that would hold them all—and their girls.

“Some people,” Corporal Chan laughed, following Dean.

“Raoul!” shouted another girl, Erika, who sidled through the crowd to take Pasquin’s hand.

Another voice boomed out, “Vat’s all dis commoti’n oud ‘ere?” and Big Barb herself waddled out of the office to the rear of the large room and began plowing through the crowd like an icebreaker through pack ice. Freyda Banak wasn’t called “Big Barb” for nothing—she not only weighed more than 150 kilos, she carried her weight lightly when she wanted to move fast. She planted herself in front of Kerr and loudly demanded, “Who you tink you are, Timmy, hogging two a my best girls all t’ yersef?”

Their cheeks still pressed against his, Frieda and Gotta stopped kissing Kerr to look back at their employer. Kerr loosened his hold around their waists and they dropped down a couple of centimeters, but not all the way to the floor.

“B-but . . .” he began.

“Vot you mean, ‘B-but . . .’? Dere’s no ‘b-buts’ ’ere, Timmy. You led go a dem girls!”

“Big Barb,” Frieda said calmly, “you gave him to us.”

“And we intend to keep him,” Gotta finished just as calmly.

Big Barb glared from one to the other, then planted her hands on her hips and roared out a long, raucous laugh. “You right, girls,” she said, tears streaming down her face when her laughter eased enough for her to speak.

“Wha’s a madda you, Timmy, lettin’ dem two girls dangle like dat? Hol’ ’em up like a gennleman! Where you been? All we seen o’ Marines fer the pas’ few mont’s is dem base pogues. Dirty-fort FIS’ yust up ’n take off somewhere wid’out sayin’ noddin’ t’ us and we don’ know when we see you again, or if we ever see you again.” She quickly looked around and before Kerr could answer, asked, “Vhere’s Chollie Bass? I vant my Chollie!”

“He’s probably with Katie,” Gotta giggled.

“I don’ care no Katie!” Big Barb boomed. “Chollie don’ need no skinny voman like Katie, he needs a full-size voman!” She thunked a meaty thumb into the center of her own chest.

“I don’t think Charlie thinks Katie is skinny!” Frieda laughed.

“I don’ care vhat Chollie t’inks neider! Zomebody go tell him I’m ‘ere pinink avay to nodink, vaiting for him!” She turned her attention back to Kerr. “How many a you are dere ‘ere donight? I make sure you godda good table. Vell? Answer me!”

Kerr hesitated, unsure which of her many questions to answer first. Claypoole stepped into the breech.

“There are eight of us, Big Barb. The corporals.”

“Eight corporals?” She quickly scanned the room. “Vat’s de madda vit Corporal Doyle, vhy ain’t he ‘ere? He gid kilt vhereever it vas you vent?”

“No, no, Big Barb. Doyle’s fine. This is just the team leaders,” Claypoole quickly assured her.

“Chust da team leaders? ’Ow come Doyle ain’t no team leader? He’s a corporal. Corporals suppose t’ be fire team leaders, gun team leaders, so how come he ain’t?”

Claypoole opened his mouth, but couldn’t think of how to explain why a corporal was filling a lance corporal’s billet. He looked at Kerr. Yeah, Doyle was in Kerr’s fire team, let him try to explain it.

“Neber mine,” Big Barb said, looking around again. “You Marines make yer own rules, whedder dey makes sense or not. Come, I get you gut table. Give you back room. You,” she looked at Kerr, “come vit me. You,” she looked at Claypoole, “go gid de oders, bring dem along.” She did her ice breaker impersonation again, drawing Kerr and his happy burden in her wake.

Less than an hour later, the eight Marines and nine young women in the back room were seated around a large, round table digging into a medley of reindeer served “family style.” The table was filled with platters of reindeer—steaks, cutlets, a roast, chops, sausage, even a steaming bowl of stew. Other bowls held several varieties of potatoes, legumes, grains, squashes, and less easily identifiable foodstuffs, most of which were cooked with sauces or gravies. Spices and condiments were spread about, the full range near to hand for everybody.

For a while, all that was heard inside the room was the chewing, sighs, and belches of contented diners; they ignored the hubbub that came muted through the door. At length, most of the platters and bowls were cleared down to bits and crumbs—Marines fresh back from a combat deployment have prodigious appetites.

Dean belched loudly enough to make Carlala, a skinny, busty girl seated next to him hip to haunch, jump. “Ahhh,” he sighed, “that was great.”

“A lot better than the reindeer steaks we used to get here,” Dornhofer agreed.

“Very much so,” Kerr added. “What happened?”

“We have a new cook,” Klauda said as she moved from her chair to Dornhofer’s lap.

“She’s a fancy girl,” Erika said, casting a nasty look at Carlala.

“Oh?” Chan said meaningfully. “Then what’s she doing in the kitchen?”

“You’ll see,” Erika said haughtily. “And that’s not the kind of ‘fancy’ I meant.” She darted a look at Dean and made a show of shifting onto Pasquin’s lap.

The hubbub in the main room suddenly grew in volume.

“Oh, wow, look at that!” Lance Corporal “Wolfman” MacIlargie murmured, then let out a wolf whistle.

Lance Corporal Dave “Hammer” Schultz didn’t bother looking to see what had drawn MacIlargie’s admiration; he’d seen her as soon as she stepped through the kitchen door. She was a full-bodied woman in a starched white shirt-jacket, closed all the way to the throat, over black pants. The heels of her black shoes were high enough to lift her a bit above average height. A white cap restrained her mass of lustrous chestnut hair. She held her head high, and her aristocratic face turned neither left nor right as she wended her way between the tables filled with eating and drinking—but mostly drinking—Marines. Two kitchen helpers followed her, guiding a covered cart. The woman was old enough to be the underaged mother of the youngest Marines in the room, or the younger aunt—or at least older sister of nearly any of them. But that didn’t matter to the Marines.

The woman yelped and spun about with her hand raised to slap whoever had just pinched her bottom. Only to be confronted by four grinning faces, any of which could belong to the offending hand. She dropped her hand, gripped the bottom of her shirt-jacket with both hands, and jerked it down. She flung her head high, spun about, and, as regally as possible, stalked off. Guffaws, whistles, and raucous laughter trailed her.

She was pinched twice more and propositioned four times by the time she reached the door to the room where third platoon’s corporals were luxuriating in postprandial bliss, and hustled inside to what she fully expected would be relief from the unseemly harrassment she’d undergone in the common room. She barely remembered to leave the door open long enough for the two kitchen helpers to wheel their cart into the room.

“Hey, baby,” Pasquin shouted as soon as he saw her, “come on over here! My lap’s big enough for two!” He held out a welcoming arm. Erika knuckled him in the ribs, but that only made him laugh.

The woman’s palm tingled, and she began to raise a hand—now she knew who to slap—but noticed several faces leering at her, and lowered it without striking.

She again adjusted the fall of her shirt-jacket, held her head re- gally high, and announced, “I am Einna Orafem, the new chef at Big Barb’s—”

“Chef? Did she really say ‘chef?’ ” Dean crowed.

Einna Orafem managed to ignore Dean’s boorishness and went on as though he hadn’t spoken. “I have been given to believe that you—gentlemen—are special patrons of this dining salon.”

“Patrons? Dining salon?” Barber hooted.

Once more, Einna Orafem ignored the rudeness of the remark and went on. “I have come to see if the modest repast I prepared for you met with your satisfaction.” She looked at the empty platters and serving bowls. “Judging from the state of the table, I take it it has.”

There was a brief pause as the Marines translated for each other: “She wants to know if the chow was any good.”

“Hey, babe, that was the best feed I’ve ever had in this slop chute!” Taylor called out.

“Honey, you can stuff my sausage any day,” Chan yelled.

“No, it’s your sausage that’s supposed to stuff her . . .” The rest of whatever Claypoole was saying was cut off by the finger Jente quickly pressed across his lips. Unlike the other young women around the table, Jente wasn’t one of “Big Barb’s girls.” She was from Brystholde, a nearby fishing village from which many young women had come to a blowout party Brigadier Sturgeon threw for his FIST when they returned from a major deployment against Skinks on the Kingdom of Yahweh and His Saints and Their Apostles. First Sergeant Myer had strongly admonished the Marines of Company L that the village women were “nice girls,” and were to be treated the way they’d want their sisters treated. Of course, Top’s warning could not stop Jente from latching onto Claypoole and behaving just like one of Big Barb’s girls—but only with him. Claypoole didn’t realize it yet, but Jente saw him as prime husband material.

“Come and join us when Big Barb lets you off kitchen duty!” Pasquin called to Einna Orafem’s brilliant red face.

“Here is a dessert I prepared specially for you,” the cook managed, waving a wavering hand at the cart.

The helpers opened the cart and joined her in a hasty retreat to the kitchen. But first they had to run the gauntlet of the common room.

“Wazza madda, dolly,” someone shouted, “didn’t they want what you were offering?”

“Yours ain’t good enough for them corporals?” another Marine shouted.

Uproarious laughter broke out at the comments.

“She’s the cook,” Schultz growled.

Everybody close enough to hear his growl shut up.

Jente was the only one fastidious enough while gobbling the dessert to really notice what it was.

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Flashfire (Starfist Series #11) 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 20 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Seriously you want to make blodclan like every other stupid clan. Why do w have to be like the books and realistic. Its not fun that way and why cant we be different. Becaus of one cat bloodclan ha to change
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
He shifted from paw to paw silently.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Pads out with him.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
She quickly and silently ran bck to cmap.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"Is tere anything I can do?"
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Look, no stupid s<_>hit went down. See? No one trusts me. Oh, well. Guess i deserve that. (I agreed. Dimfang is sometimes on. Depends...not going to be at BloodClan as Striking too much so youre gonna have to ask around if you want me)
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Guest More than 1 year ago
It was great loved it until the ending, wish I had the sequel! The battle sequences were very good and I liked the development of the main characters from the very first of the series until now.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this latest adventure of the 34th Marine Fist but I am extremely disappointed at the ending, or should I say lack thereof. Most novels in a series come to a satisfying conclusion of the current situation but leave the reader wishing for more. In your rules section you emphasize not to give away the ending to anyone who may read the review. Well, this novel doesn't have an ending! It stops in mid thought at a most crucial time! I do recommend reading this book but not until you have a copy of the sequel in hand as well.
harstan More than 1 year ago
During a violent independence protest at the main gate of Fort Seymour army depot on the remote planet of Ravenette, civilians toss bricks at the soldiers hitting a Lieutenant the untrained in civil disobedience contract workforce fires at the crowd killing several people. The local populace and that of nine nearby worlds blame the military for overuse of force. Thus what started as a nasty trade dispute has turned bloody. --- Those demanding independence from the Confederation rally everyone to their cause. Soon the combined strength of ten orbs assault Fort Seymour. The Confederation sends it battle hardened 34th Marine Fleet Initial Strike Team (FIST) to put down the insurgency on Ravenette, which the leadership assumes would end the revolt on all the planets. The marines lack critical Top Secret information that a well trained secessionist force is prepared for combat. Learning on the job the error of their ways, the FIST force adapts to fight a strong adversary while the real enemy, known to be waiting for the right moment by the pompous brass, the alien Skank prepares for its assault on the ¿winners¿. --- Though the series is approximately a decade old and has had ten previous novels, this is a fresh exhilarating military science fiction that centers on conventional warfare. The story line is action-packed from the moment the brick hits the unsure Lieutenant Ios and never slows down as the troops on the ground realize how costly the secrets of their superiors are in lives. David Sherman and Dan Cragg provide a highly entertaining tale that carries a deep warning label about hiding needed information from the front lines fighting any war, past, present, or combat in a future outer space environs. --- Harriet Klausner
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book really isn't that good. I have read three other books by these two authors and have come to a conclusion. These are terrible books. Here we are again, with a extremely shallow plot. There was a riot protesting about a military presense on their world, when someone shot at the military base, who opened fire on the riot. Thus spawning a war. Can't there be a deeper plot? And the characters are terrible. There is no personality development, their personalities are like clones of each other. The names are absolutely terrible. They're spelled weird in some kind of bad attempt at futuristic names. I don't even think they ever describe what the people look like. When the main armed forces are stationed at there base-world, so to speak, there is a obvious failed attempt at having romance put into the book. All the marines get together with waitresses, and oh, one marine even gets two whole waitresses to himself! Cool, huh? Since I'm running out of time, I'll make one last point. The book abruptly ends. The Marine Top Brass just argue and then BAM! end of the book. The 2nd Force Recon book is supposed to take over from where this book dropped off. I'd recommend this to someone who is looking for a failed promise in a book with shallow plot and characters, and plenty of random violence.