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School of Fire (Starfist, Book 2) Mass Market Paperback – June 28, 1998

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Frequently Bought Together

School of Fire (Starfist, Book 2) + Steel Gauntlet (Starfist, Book 3) + First to Fight (Starfist, Book 1)
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Product Details

  • Series: Starfist (Book 2)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Del Rey (June 28, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345406230
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345406231
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #960,394 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

Combat, betrayal, and murder at the edge of human space . . .

Deployed to assist the oligarchs of Wanderjahr in putting down a rebellion that threatens the planet's political and economic stability, the Marines must fight two wars at the same time . . . one against the resourceful, well-led guerrillas and another with the entrenched police bureaucracy.

But who is the real enemy and who can be trusted? On Wanderjahr, nothing is as it seems--not even the animal life--and everyone has his own agenda. Inexorably, the Marines of the 34th FIST are drawn deeper and deeper into the politics of a world where murder, terror, and betrayal are the accepted methods of government . . . and everyone is ripe for an old-fashioned butt-kickin'.

From the Back Cover


"CAUTION! Any book written by Dan Cragg and David Sherman is bound to be addictive, and this is the first in what promises to be a great adventure series. First to Fight is rousing, rugged, and just plain fun. The authors have a deep firsthand knowledge of warfare, an enthralling vision of the future, and the skill of veteran writers. Fans of military fiction, science fiction, and suspense will all get their money's worth, and the novel is so well done it will appeal to general readers as well. It's fast, realistic, moral, and a general hoot. First to Fight is also vivid, convincing--and hard to put down. Sherman and Cragg are a great team! I can't wait for the next one!"
New York Times bestselling author of Red Army

More About the Author

David Sherman began his writing career writing about US Marines in Vietnam--he was one--and has nine VN war novels to his credit. He has since written fantasy, horror, military science fiction, and a Star Wars novel. Many of his novels were co-written with Dan Cragg. He is an alumnus of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and worked as a sculptor for many years before turning to writing. Along the way he has held a variety of jobs, mostly supervisory and managerial. He has been writing full-time since 1986. He lives in South Florida.

Customer Reviews

Well told stories with a continuing believable cast of characters!
Donald Turos
Unfortunately, a lot of the characters feel the same and only a few have unique voices and personalities.
The first book in this series was good - this one makes me hungry for the next one.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Thomas M. Rux on March 2, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
"School of Fire" (ISBN 0-345-40623-0) by David Sherman and Dan Cragg is the second book in the series chronicling the history of the 34th Fleet Initial Strike Team (FIST) L Company Third Platoon of the Confederation Marine Corps. The authors, in my view, have again brought the reader into the realm of the infantryman. Returning to Thorsfinni World the 34th FIST has begun replacing the men and equipment lost on Elneal. Staff Sergeant Charlie Bass' exploits during the mission has added to his legendary status in the Marine Corps, Ensign Vanden Hoyt, Third Platoon's new officer, Private First Classes Joe Dean and Rackman Claypoole have proven themselves in combat and learned how to overcome the fears of the battlefield. A new mission deploys the 34th FIST, before the unit has replaced all the Marines lost on Elneal, to the Confederation world of Wanderjahr. Wanderjahr's nine-member government has attempted to stop a rebellion that threatens the political and economic stability of the world by forming a paramilitary police force, called the Feldpolizei, to deal with the rebels. The Feldpolizei fail to stop the rebels because the force is not properly trained in modern military tactics. The 34th FIST's assignment is to train the Feldpolizei to counter the rebel threat. Private First Classes Joe Dean and Rackman Claypoole of L Company Third platoon are assigned to Headquarters' F-2 Intelligence section as analysts, while Staff Sergeant Bass and the rest of platoon train the Field Police of Wanderjahr. However the Marines soon find that there is hidden power struggle going on behind the scenes that makes their job harder. Another good story by the team of David Sherman and Dan Cragg.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By M. Clark on December 27, 1998
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is some of the best military science-fiction I have ever read, from guys who know their stuff, because they have been there. If you compare their stuff with Heinlein (one of my favorite authors), you will notice a better quality of realism as far as military matters are concerned, especially from the point of view of the ground-pounder. This is because Heinlein never served in combat (through no fault of his own).

Some speakers of German might not like the use of German words in this book. I had a problem with it, as I do speak and read German. I couldn't help laughing at some of the names, and they can detract from the enjoyment to a certain extent, for a German speaker. The country of Arschland, for example, translates somewhat vulgarly since "Arsch" is, not to put too fine a point on it, the part of the anatomy that one sits on. I ended up busting up in laughter at Ambassador Misthaufen (manure pile). Other names, such as for vegetation, "grospalm" (big palm) and "hochbaum" (tall tree) are not genuine words in German, but on a planet with really big palm trees and very tall trees maybe the words might get invented: German is, after all, an agglutinative language. Here is a legitimate German word:

"Donaudampfschifffahrtsgesellschaftskapitaen". Means "Danube Steamship Company Captain."

Dave Sherman told me that they were deliberately playing with German words when they made up some of the character and place names, it was no mistake. I would have preferred it if they had confined their cleverness to the plot and action, but I didn't REALLY mind all that much.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By John A Lee III on July 24, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
In the original installment of the Starfist series, the marines were sent to a backwater, neo-barbarian planet to lay down the law. In this one, they still get sent to a backwater but it is supposedly a relatively civilized place. The problem is that the upper crust, who called the marines to begin with, are as bad a lot as any of the insurgents the jarheads have been called on to fight. Fighting, however, is not their primary job description. Instead, they are to train the local forces how to do it for themselves. In short, they are advisors and we all remember how dangerous that can be.

The marines have their work cut out for them. The "elite" troops they are to train are good at the parade ground stuff but their war fighting doctrine leaves a bit to be desired. Can you imagine firing by platoon volley while standing in straight ranks while the bad guys fire at you from concealment? It's one of those situations where the powers that be are more interested in a good appearance than in effective troops. After all, the peasants who fill the ranks are pretty cheap to replace.

David Sherman and Dan Cragg do a good job of capturing the military mindset and it makes for enjoyable reading. They are never going to get literary prizes but I, for one, am glad that they would rather tell a compelling story.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By D. J. Pryor on February 13, 2007
Format: Mass Market Paperback
A great yarn that moves out at a steady double time from start to finish. We get enough back story to set the stage, and then send in the Marines! The authors fill in the gaps as needed as the story progresses w/o making look like an "oh yeah" add in. It flows well.

The day to day humdrum scenes are brief enough so as not to bore, but still vivid and informative enough to clearly paint the necessary picture. The political workings in the background (to the main characters) are likewise short, concise and to the point. As for the combat, not surprisingly they also do a very good job capturing the "20 years of boredom punctuated by 5 minutes of abject terror."

I have seen some reviews state the characters are shallow, lack depth etc. While this may be true of the auxiliary characters (personally I could care less about the life story of the baddie + supporting staff) their main protagonists all but jump off the pages at me. This was especially true in the scenes where they are placing some of the junior Marines into leadership positions in the local forces to train them. As they describe the thoughts and actions of the trainers during their first leadership experience they hit the "oh crap" of someone young and unsure of himself right through the exhilaration an experienced soldier gets when given the chance to train others.

They explain the oddball (some say unbelievable) tactics of the local forces with the "politically appointed leadership," and while it may be a stretch it works when you remember that in every major action our own military has been in we have had to relearn what we should have remembered from the last war and then some. So 200 years of no military + political appointed leadership = volley fire. Ok.

If you can turn off your nit-pick gear and just relax and be entertained then grab this book.
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