Exiles of the Dire Planet by Joel Jenkins
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Stuck on Mars and 47,000 years in the past is not that big a deal for former US astronaut Garvey Dire who has carved out a niche for himself within the native Muvari tribe both as a warrior (rare for a male) and a husband. Mars however is a still a wild place with competing tribes some of which are viable and well maintained societies and others feral and predatory including the cannibalistic Galbran race and mercenary Exiles. A hard fight with a band of Galbran once again racks up an impressive body count and leads to Garvey encountering his old "friend" Arnold Stechter who was also pulled back in time after the Mars missions Chinese mishaps. Unfortunately Stechter is the leader of assorted "exiles" groups of warrior mercenaries and his next goal is to take everything Garvey which leads to Garvey and Ntashia venturing into the wilds in search of Caladrex to claim it's advanced weaponry.
Exiles of the Dire Planet is simply bigger in every way than the first novel of the series (Dire Planet) and although we leave the present day action behind we do bring Arnold into the current time frame which adds a whole bunch of quite significant distractions. We learn a lot more about the Martian races and civilisations most of which are pretty blood thirsty although some by necessity and without the need for an origin element there is much more room for epic and quite bloody thirsty battles.
If you liked Dire Planet you'll love Exiles and if pulp scifi or simply a good action scifi adventure is your thing then you won't go wrong with this book or series.
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