01/12/2008. Contributed by Paul Hanley
pub: Orbit. 302 page paperback. Price: £ 6.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-84149-754-9.
check out website: www.orbitbooks.net and www.robertbuettner.com
'Orphanage' is an excellent read and the only thing that put me off before I started reading was the title.
The chief protagonist Jason Wander is an eighteen year-old in trouble with the law and is given the choice of jail or joining the army. It is 2037 and he has gone off the rails following the death of his mother when a meteorite vaporises Indianapolis. He not only becomes a soldier but is persuaded by a recruiting sergeant to join the 'Queen of Battles' - the infantry. By now meteorites have struck other cities around the world and it is clear that the Earth is under attack from aliens.
Jason is at the centre of things. Whilst on his basic training, which anyone who has been a soldier whatever army they were with will recognise, he is detailed to help a scientist when nearby Pittsburgh is raised to the ground by another meteorite. He finds in the wreckage a fragment of nozzle that shows that the meteorites are guided.
He then goes to the Moon where he is the first man to encounter the aliens and then on the military expedition to wipe out the attacking aliens who are based on Ganymede. The meteorite strikes are kicking up dust into the atmosphere and creating a nuclear winter effect across the globe and, if they are not stopped, then it is the doom of the human race.
This is a well-written story and the later part is the landing of the UN divisional sized force on Ganymede where the aliens are based and the fighting thereafter. The aliens are a remorseless enemy and Jason and his comrades are soon locked in bloody combat. The military scenes are well done throughout the book.
This is the first of a series and I can give no better recommendation that to say that I intend to read the rest which are 'Orphan's Destiny', 'Orphan's Journey, 'Orphan's Alliance' and 'Orphan's Triumph'. The explanation of the book titles is that only people who have been orphaned in the aliens' attacks are allowed to go on the military expedition.
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