Orbit, Oct 29 2008, $24.99
The war ended seven years ago. Many soldiers left the military to return to civilian life. This includes four friends who never see one another anymore as that reminds them of comrades who died when the Confederation needed them; now stoic over being alive but struggling with adjustment as many other vets are doing too.
Their former commanding officer General Kunessin visits the quartet to remind them of the pledge they made while still uniform. They honor their vow to settle on a peaceful utopian island that Kunessin has found for them. He will fund their colonization. The men find wives financially desperate enough to willingly marry them in a group exchange of vows and accompany them to Kunessin’s paradise. Everything is fine until gold is discovered.
THE COMPANY is a dark gripping military fantasy that is a parable on the life of vets when the war is over. The story line is fast-paced from the onset as the audience gets a taste of how society turns its back on those who risked their lives when they are no longer needed for combat. The island is their escape from a reality they cannot readapt to, but even there society intrudes once gold is found as once again they are expendable. K.J. Parker will have readers pondering whether we are truly doing all we can for vets and their families.