A Science Fiction Book Review
The Last Legion, by Chris Bunch, opens with a scene for each of the two main characters. Njangu Yoshitaro is a criminal being forced to join the Confederation Army to stay out of jail. Garvin Jaansma is a capable young man joining up to avoid something in his past.
Together with Petr Kipchak, a returning army veteran, they are being transported to a planet on the edge of settled space to a planet in the Cumbre system. As they travel and settle into their new lives, they notice and discuss signs that the Confederation is on a decline, reminding us of the stories of Rome at the end. There is also an alien race, called the Musth. They are on the Confederation borders, and they have representatives in the Cumbre System also.
The spaceship the three are on is hijacked while on the way to their new home, but they manage to escape in a lifepod. They reach the Cumbre system, but their superiors won’t believe, or don’t want to believe, the trio’s story of what happened.
As the three start to settle in, they find the planet is in the beginning stages of civil war as the planets has a definite caste system of haves and have nots. There is also a threatening government in a nearby system, called Larix and Kura, which on the surface offers the Cumbre System support, but is really waiting to take over if they know the Confederation is unable to stop them. It looks like they are the ones who were behind the hijacking.
How the Njangu and Garvin fight their way through the troubles they find themselves in and the way they start to find new lives for themselves, but using the skills learned in their old lives, makes for a good read.
Chris Bunch has taken a common theme in science fiction, the decline of a big multiplanet government, and attempted to put a new spin on things. In The Last Legion, he tells a good story, with a big fight scene at the end between the government of the planet, backed by the Legion, against the slave caste, trying to take over.
Thinking about it after, a lot of the book goes down predictable paths, but Bunch handles them with such skill that it still makes the book enjoyable. He sets the path for more books after this. There are three more books after this one, Firemask, Stormforce, and Homefall. I am sure that there the books will show the start of a new force in this part of the universe, and after reading this book, I look forward to finding the next one and reading it.
I have read Chris Bunch’s books before, most notably the Star Risk series. When I read The Scoundrel Worlds, I said it read like a western set in space. This book, The Last Legion, is more detailed than that, the book holds together more. But there is not a lot of science in this science fiction book. You won’t find a lot of details about how things work like some science fiction books give you.
So, I do recommend The Last Legion, by Chris Bunch, to you if you are looking for a good fun book to read.
Title – The Last Legion
Author – Chris Bunch
# of pages – 344
Publisher – Roc
Date of First Publication – April 1999