Undercurrentsby Robert Buettner
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Second in the hard-hitting military science fiction Orphan's Legacy series. Ace intelligence operative Lt. Jazen Parker parachutes into a giant habitat known as Paleozoic on a mission to bring down the local politicos. He quickly realizes he's been handed a near-impossible task. Paleozoic is a politically quarantined nightmare world with a culture confined to iron rivet technology and a ruling regime a bit to the right of Heinrich Himmler. Jazen's inclined to abandon this particular hellhole to its ways—that is, until he uncovers a plot afoot that will throw a five hundred-planet alliance into the death-throes of anarchy.
So the local Nazis must go. Unfortunately, all Jazen's got to work with is a handful of rust-bucket tanks, a retread rebellion, and two strong, beautiful women who love him, but think he's tilting at windmills and is about to get himself killed. What they don't know is, once committed, Jazen Parker is the best there is when it comes to getting the dirty job done on the ground. It's the local bullies who are about to be taught a lesson in losing.
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Robert Buettner's UNDERCURRENTS is a fast-moving sci-fi spy (say that fast three times) adventure set in the way distant future. Lt Jazen Parker is called back to his past life as a behind-the-lines operative for the Earth military. He is sent to a planet where technology is only slightly better than the 1920's on earth, in order to find his old partner slash love interest Colonel Kit Born. And it's a good thing for Colonel Born, because she has been captured by the ruling population on the planet and they have every intent of torturing her until she does. Parker is inserted along with a new partner (Earth operatives always work in pairs) but the newbie gets killed on the way in, and Parker is badly injured on the landing. He soldiers on, makes some unlikely allies, meets a princess, and almost gets killed (seemingly on every third page). The story marches towards an exciting but unexpected climax. Some of the chapters are maddeningly short (two paragraphs) but overall the story moves quickly, has plenty of action, and is fairly easy to follow. The style switches between third person and first person, which is confusing at first until you figure out the pattern. There's a bit of gore and profanity, but nothing more than PG-13, so don't worry if your teenager wants to read it. Fans of Heinlein or Asimov may find this lacking or a bit shallow, but if you like military science fiction this won't be a waste of your time.