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4.4 out of 5 stars
Starfist: Double Jeopardy
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on January 5, 2010
Format: Hardcover
This latest entry into the Starfist canon is by far the best so far. Having read all of them (some of them more than once), I feel the entire series is well worth the reader's investment, but Double Jeopardy puts our favorite Confederation Marine platoon, Third Platoon of Company L, 34th Fleet Initial Strike Team, into a very tough spot, along with some very engaging and exciting action. I usually try to spread my reading of a new book out over a week or so, but I became so engrossed in the story that I finished the book the day after I got it. Excellent work, and I can't wait for the next installment. But a story this good takes some serious craftmanship, and the wait is always worth it.

A major part of the story deals with the best intelligent extraterrestrial species to appear in the series thus far: the Fuzzies. Unexpectedly sophisticated and primitive at the same time, Sherman and Cragg leave one wanting to know more about these people, and hopefully future volumes will give us more!

For the sake of some matters of story continuity, new readers of the Starfist series should normally start with book one and move forward, but this book should be quite accessible for someone who hasn't yet been there.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on February 19, 2010
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
The book was well written like all of their other books of the Starfist series however much like "A World of Hurt" I found this to be a filler book. It has lots of technical and procedural background that previous books had but it is much less action and character driven like their earlier books and has too many unimportant side stories.

*Bit of a spoiler* On a rumor of Skinks, our heroes are sent to go to a distant world to find and fight them. But instead it is the native aliens fighting against human slavers. This is like those acid trees from "A World of Hurt". Sherman and Cragg seemed to had started a Skinks War Arc which was interesting in some of their previous books but then that seems to only show up sporadically now. We don't learn a lot about the Fuzzies and none of them really develop any significant character unlike the aliens and villains in "Technokill"(which I thought was one of their best ones even if it didn't have the Skinks in it either because they made all the marines, aliens and villains have a deeper character and individuality).

The short new development with Hammer is interesting but only for people who have been reading the series and had gotten to know him. No marine really sticks out in this one, not even Bass or Dean. It kinda saddens me.

It was an ok book but I'm glad I didn't buy it as soon as it came out at full price.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on January 31, 2011
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Double Jeopardy (2009) is the fourteenth military SF novel in the StarFIST series, following Wings of Hell. The initial works in this series is First to Fight.

In the previous volume, Confederation forces discovered that the Skinks on Haulover had aircraft armed with railguns. Sergeant Alphonse scrapped berms with his dozer to protect the airfield. Lieutenant Trotte shot down nine Skink aircraft before they got his Raptor.

The Navy ships spotted two dozen hidden tunnels mouths and Marine Recon units scouted the tunnels. Lieutenant Bass rode a Dragon to the end of one tunnel. Then the Aguinaldo Taskforce moved in force against the Skink base.

In this novel, Roger Borland is a Commodore in the Confederation Navy. He commands the CNSS Grandar Bay, a Mandalay Class Amphibious Landing Ship, Force. The 34th FIST has traveled on the Grandar Bay before.

Theodosius Sturgeon is a Brigadier in the Confederation Marine Corps. Ted is commander of the 34th Fleet Initial Strike Team.

Lewis Conorado is a Captain in the CMC. He commands L company within the 34th FIST infantry battalion.

Mercury is a native of Ishtar. That is not his name, but the masters can't pronounce his real name. Mercury is a male and a warrior among his own people.

In this story, Mercury and five others in his clan squeeze out of the cage where they are kept at night. They sneak out of the camp and crawl until they are out of sight of the gate. Then they run to a weapons cache near the camp.

The six natives fetch back as many rifles and knives as they can carry and hide them near the camp. Then they slip back into the camp and re-enter the cage. The next day, they are tired as they break cloudy stones from the rock within the mine.

That night, they take eight more warriors with them to get the weapons. Their rifles may not fire as fast as those if the Naked Ones, but they can see better in the night. When the time comes, they start shooting the Naked Ones.

They kill all the Naked Ones and collect their weapons. They leave the Naked Ones lying where they fell. They set up booby traps of lethal gas in the mine and compound. Then they escape into the brush with the other freed captives.

Confederation Military Intelligence hears rumors of creatures living in the ground and using lethal gas and immediately think of Skinks. The other parts of the rumors -- captives, fur and hot planet -- are lost in transmission. So the 34th FIST is sent orders to check for Skinks on Ishtar.

The 34th FIST has just returned from Haulover. The Marines have only had a few days of liberty. Then they are ordered to assemble for an announcement. They are told that their unit is deploying within a week.

Everyone is disgruntled, from Sturgeon on down to the newest private. They are also wondering whether their opponents are Skinks or something else. The reported creatures don't really match the characteristics of Skinks.

The information available on Ishtar is very slight. Supposedly, the largest fauna is much smaller than the rumored creatures. So the ship stops at Opal -- another planet within the same system -- to learn more about Ishtar.

The government officials on Opal claim to know nothing about such creatures. They provide all existing data on the planet. But Borland and Sturgeon mistrust several of the ministers.

When the Grandar Bay reaches Ishtar, they have trouble reaching the man in charge. Finally, they land and talk to the leader of the mercenary troops on the planet. They are told that the natives are animals, but are somewhat smarter than chimpanzees.

The Confederation officers soon begin to suspect that the natives are much more intelligent than they are being told. Borland orders the mercenaries to discontinue all operations and to let the natives go. But their leader disregards these orders.

This tale soon has the Marines caught between hostile mercenaries and angry natives. They scout the native burrows and find an underground civilization. Then some of the mercenaries refuse to fight against the Marines.

At least the natives are not Skinks. The next installment in this series has not yet been announced.

Recommended to Sherman & Cragg fans and for anyone else who enjoys tales of alien contact, armed combat, and human folly. Read and enjoy!

-Arthur W. Jordin
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
#1 HALL OF FAMEon December 31, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Amongst the units of the Confederate Marine Corps, the 34th FIST is the most highly regarded and most decorated. The unit is the first to be called upon when the going requires the bravest and the best.

However, those accolades prove a double edge sword to the soldiers as morale is at its lowest due to extended deployments in dangerous scenarios and the knowledge that more deadly battles in combat zones will follow. The 34th FIST never seems to get any R&R as the unit is sent to Ishtar in anticipation of a Skink attack on the planet. However, they are not greeted as heroic saviors by the indigenous population, but instead the native Fuzzies attack the squad especially as the marines uncover an illegal mining operation.

This is a super military science fiction that has great battles, but it is the insightful look at the morale of the troops after constant extended deployments that hits home with relevancy and poignancy. Ironically, no one is fully developed yet the 34 FIST marines' respites between combat brings the deepness to the plot. David Sherman and Dan Cragg provide a strong tale as the soldiers are mentally tired with several seemingly on the cusp of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Harriet Klausner
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Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
Five ENGROSSING Stars. Once again military veterans David Sherman and Dan Cragg crank up a winner in "Starfist: Double Jeopardy", the 14th edition of the "Starfist" military science fiction series about an elite Marine unit, the Fleet Initial Strike Team (FIST), which is called on first to battle enemy aliens ("or otherwise") among the stars in the 25th Century. Giving a realistic view of military life and unit morale, mainly from the company to fire team levels, they re-introduce us to the leadership and surviving troops (President Cynthia Chang-Sturdevant, Brigadier Sturgeon, Captain Coronado, Lt Bass, Sgt Kerr, Lance Corporals "Hammer" Schultz, Claypoole, & Doyle, etc.) who are very familiar to series readers. Facing a short turnaround time since the marines' last deployment, the authors take us through barracks life, training, and personal issues, in preparation for the next deployment. Indeed, there are 8 setup chapters covering various planets and story lines, before the marines even load onto Commodore Borland's "Grandar Bay" naval starship sailing for the mysterious wastelands of a planet called Ishtar. With Starfist novels, the journey of the troops from base to battle, and their training in between, is as important as the end result.

As usual, these writers conjure up unique alien lifeforms (introduced in the prelude), conflicting circumstances, and special problems posed to the Lima Company 34th FIST 'grunts'. And the acid-wielding 'Skink' aliens are always on the minds of the military, as the writers give us a hint of future strategic operations in coming novels. Realistic hard-nosed battles, interesting story lines dealing with mercenaries, interpersonal relations, and surprise realizations culminate in multiple payoffs near the end of this superb novel of "double jeopardy" affecting marines in outer space. The final scene may leave you teary-eyed. BTW, there is also a 3-novel Starfist Force Recon series by the authors. "Semper Fidelis" (Always Faithful), indeed. Five IMAGINATIVE Stars.
(This review is based on a Kindle-to-iPhone download. The writers are strongly encouraged to enable "text-to-speech" mode in future Kindle version downloads to enable transitional usage for Kindle users: read at home, listen in the car or while shopping, and go back to reading at home.)
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on January 29, 2010
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
This was my first "Starfist" book, and I got it on my Kindle. I've long been a fan of Sci-fi, and I while I grew up on all the "masters" such as Asimov, Clark, etc., I've found a new generation of writers featuring David Weber, John Ringo, Jim Butcher, etc. This new series of Starfist I've discovered reminds me of the books and stories I read as a boy and teen. Good military basics, stories clean and simple, clearly defined good guys/bad guys, but there is not a great deal of complexity to the book. I enjoyed it and plan to read others, but two issues bothered me with this book. First, the personal crisis of one of the characters (Lt. Bass) who was involved with two different women before the deployment was well laid out. Yet when they returned, a number of other joyous reunions were described, but no mention of Bass's return. Secondly, the new found aliance with the aliens was left to completely hang, with no resolution; just a hint that it "would" get resolved. I could think of several wraps to this theme, such as turning over the mining development to the Fuzzies and paying them for the minerals, but none were offered. It seemed that once the authors had told the shoot-em-up action, they simply rushed to finish the book and left a great deal hanging.
The writing style is decent but I was expecting more after seeing five stars, but then, there were only three reviews at that point. More for the teen than an adult, in my opinion, but that's not all bad.
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on March 16, 2014
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
this series makes you feel like your part of the platoon keeping you on the edge of your seat wanting to see what happens next.
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on September 1, 2013
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
This was a very nice book, but it left a huge amount of things left to be answered from very small to large. The ending for this book was rather sad in several ways. I won't bore you with a plot summary as I know other reviewers are fond of doing that. I know this book was published in 2009, so there's no way to know if there will be more at this point, but I hope there will be someday. I'll wait with baited breath for them. If you liked the previous books in the series, give this one a shot. I don't think you'll be disappointed. Have at it! If there is ever a continuation of the series, it will have a great amount of material to cover to end things in a proper way. Let's all who enjoyed this series keep our fingers crossed!
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on December 20, 2012
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
Great book if you read any of this series you have to read this one.... just know you have to read this
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on December 28, 2012
Format: Mass Market PaperbackVerified Purchase
I like every book that I read by both Authors and have almost all of them. I'm still looking for any books after Double Jeopardy. I'm also Looking for any more books (after 3) in the DemonTech series by David Sherman. No one writes about future wars like him and Dan Cragg. I'm an aspiring author and wish I could do even half as good.
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