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By Blood Alone
William C. Dietz
Titan Books, 365 pages

By Blood Alone
William C. Dietz
William C. Dietz has published many science fiction novels. Dietz spent time in the Navy, graduated from the University of Washington, and has been variously employed as a surgical technician, newswriter, college instructor, television director, and public relations manager. He lives in the Seattle area with his family.

ISFDB Bibliography
SF Site Review: Andromeda's War
SF Site Review: Legion of the Damned
SF Site Review: Andromeda's Choice
SF Site Review: Andromeda's Fall
SF Site Review: By Force of Arms
SF Site Review: Imperial Bounty

A review by Sandra Scholes

As Captain Pardo is facing a court martial, he has only one chance to come through without embarrassment; Colonel Bill Booly. The problem is that his commanding officer, General Loy is adamant he change his testimony as the governor supports Pardo's mother who has presidential ambitions. Loy wants Bill to let him off even though he deserves to be punished, feeling that if he is sent down, then it would affect the whole legion.

Bill knows there is some corruption going on up the ranks and wants nothing to do with it, but not changing his testimony could provide him with wider reaching implications. As far as we can see, Bill is an honest and trustworthy Colonel who has the respect of his men, yet for some there is also the issue of his being a half-breed on a world where humans are fast populating it. He finds he has to take action when he knows he is right, and when he decides not to change his testimony, he is punished by being sent to Earth. Prejudice runs rife there, as it is considered a place no one on the galaxy wants to set foot. They have good reason to think this, too. With corruption being at the heart of the case with Captain Pardo, there is a sense of disappointment with the entire legion and a black cloud hangs over them as Bill tries to change his dire situation. Bill is aware of what to expect on Earth being sent to a place called Djibouti, the self-proclaimed "armpit of the universe," the other passengers on his flight weren't like him so he stands out from them. Taking in his surroundings he tries to adapt, but notices something else about the place.

In many of William C. Dietz's novels readers will more than likely find some kind of sexual references. Here on Earth, Bill finds the usual restaurants, bars and brothels filled with the sort of men who might try and salute you with his hat on in the worst way. In By Blood Alone he has heavily painted prostitutes as well as an equal amount of "Joy Boys." Being a woman, I kind of liked the idea of that as it conjures up a decent image of how they might have looked. Unlike where Bill had been, his men in Djibouti accept him as their equal and have no problem interacting with him. They are his battalion and for once since his problems he has faced head on, he feels he belongs to The 13th Battalion in one of the oldest and most famous on Earth. Men, women and aliens make up the battalion over the years who have won many bloody battles. The 13th has a reputation for greatness, but one too many mistakes had got it the later reputation for being called a shit can no one got deployed to unless they had done something wrong. As far as Bill sees it, he and the other men who were sent with him can dwell on the past, or think of the future and embark on an adventure. Lucky for him, his men are with him all the way.

This is the exciting story of a future humans might not return from where humanity gives way to political gain in the Human Empire and military cutbacks see many service men dead on the streets. Bill Booly is the central character who is at odds with his superiors, yet even though he has been wronged by these superiors, he is willing to make good on Earth. As many might have guessed from the cover image, this is a dark novel aimed at those who enjoy well written military science fiction novels where the future is uncertain and in the hands of those we'd rather not. It tells us that it is the men in the front lines who have to make the difference, not the ones busy dictating behind the scenes.

Copyright © 2015 Sandra Scholes

Recently, Sandra has been enjoying the strange sunshine in her hometown and looks forward to what the New Year brings. Other than this, she is writing for Love Romance Passion, Diverse Japan, Albedo One and Hellnotes.

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