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    MARCH TO THE SEA by David Weber and John Ringo

    Baen, August 2001

    Roger, Prince of the Empire of Man, has grown up (see our review of MARCH UPCOUNTRY ), but he and his depleted bodyguard have a lot to accomplish before they complete their journey across the planet where they are marooned. Unfortunately for Roger and friends, a huge group of barbarians has invaded the city-states that Roger needs to help him build an ocean-going sailing ship. As the humanís vitamin supplements run down, Roger needs to decide what to do with half a million angry barbarians, keep his men (and women) alive, and also build a fleet with virtually no materials available.

    Far more so than MARCH UPCOUNTRY, MARCH TO THE SEA is a pure military science fiction adventure. The marines (Rogerís bodyguard) joke about Ďanother city, another battle.í Joke or not, that is the plot of this novel. Following the familiar pattern laid down by authors such as Jerry Pournelle (see KING DAVIDíS STARSHIP) or Alan Burt Akers (the Dray Prescott series), the humans create pikeman armies to crush to barbarian hordes. When this is not enough, they introduce breech-loading rifles, revolvers, rocket launchers, and field artillery to the equation. The barbarians never have a chance.

    Prince Rogerís character arc was fully realized in MARCH UPCOUNTRY where he went from a clothes-horse with little concern for anyoneís feelings but his own to a responsible officer and man. In MARCH TO THE SEA, Roger doesnít have as much room to grow and, despite authors David Weber (see more BooksForABuck.com reviews of novels by this author) and John Ringoís (see more BooksForABuck.com reviews of novels by this author) attempts to introduce emotional intensity through Rogerís relationship with Sergeant Despreaux and Kostas, there really isnít a lot of arc in this novel.

    In MARCH TO THE SEA, you get lots of battles and the introduction of early modern military technology (early 19th century artillery and late 19th century rifles) into an otherwise late medieval technology base. Itís interesting, but it lacks the emotional depth of MARCH UPCOUNTRY.

    Two Stars

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