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The Last Centurion Hardcover – August 5, 2008

270 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

A veteran of the 82nd Airborne, he brings first-hand knowledge of military operations to his fiction. His novels for Baen include those in the New York Times best-selling Posleen War series (A Hymn Before Battle, Gust Front, When the Devil Dances, and Hell’s Faire), the Council War series (There Will be Dragons, Emerald Sea, Against the Tide, and East of the Sun, West of the Moon), the nationally best-selling techno-thriller novels about Mike Harmon (Ghost, Kildar, Choosers of the Slain, Unto the Breach, and A Deeper Blue), the Looking-Glass series (Into the Looking Glass, Vorpal Blade, and Manxome Foe, the last two in collaboration with Travis S. Taylor),  four collaborations with fellow New York Times bestselling author David Weber (March Upcountry, March to the Sea, March to the Stars and We Few) and five collaborative spinoffs from the Posleen series: The Hero, written with Michael Z. Williamson, Watch on the Rhine and Yellow Eyes, both written with Tom Kratman, and the New York Times best seller Cally’s War and its recent sequel Sister Time, both with Julie Cochrane.



From AudioFile

Bandit Six and his band of soldiers are trapped in Iran in 2019 when the world is plagued by a series of disasters. First, a pandemic flu kills up to 60% of the population and then a mini ice age brings snows to Saudi Arabia. Left behind to secure a military base, Bandit Six and his men fight their way back from Iran to Turkey and then to the U.S. Dan John Miller's delivery is perfect for this no-punches-pulled first-person narrative by Bandit Six, the Last Centurion. Laced with crude language and dark images of the future, Miller's reading is straightforward and army tough. With few characterizations and little emotion, the listener is swept into the action. Miller becomes Bandit Six, patriotic, no-nonsense, and extra rough around the edges. M.B.K. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award © AudioFile 2009, Portland, Maine --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Baen; First Edition edition (August 5, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416555536
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416555537
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.5 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (270 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #293,710 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I'm a professional author of... Well, I used to say "science fiction." Then came There Will Be Dragons, which is sf with a distinct fantasy twist. Then came Ghost which is techno-thriller crossed with porn. Then came Princess of Wands, a Christian soccer mom battling demons through the power of God. Who knows what's next? Children's books? (I've actually got that one mapped out. You see, there's this girl who is raised by dolphins... You think I'm joking, don't you?)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

126 of 144 people found the following review helpful By Vickie T. VINE VOICE on March 17, 2010
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book really requires two separate reviews, one for the style and one for the substance. Substance first: this is a great near-future apocalyptic tale, with entirely believable disasters: a deadly flu pandemic and the start of a new cooling phase in global climate. I liked the characters and, since I mostly share the main character's political and moral views and background, I thoroughly enjoyed the story.

As far as style goes, the choice to write this book blog style was...interesting. I'm not sure I want to embrace it as a literary style, but I think it worked well here. Reading the book felt almost like sitting in a bar, listening to a guy telling stories about his military career - which means we didn't get the whole story, just the bits and pieces he thought were worth sharing (or that he was willing to admit to).

Should you read this book? If you are a liberal, if you embrace big government, if you don't have a deep affection and respect for the military, if you voted for Obama and aren't sorry about it, then no, you shouldn't read this book. You probably won't like it. Don't torture yourself. If, on the other hand, your gun is in the truck, you think the only good government is limited government, and you value individual rights and accept the responsibilities that go with them, then yes, you ought to give this book a try. You'll probably like it.
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128 of 155 people found the following review helpful By Arthur W Jordin on July 28, 2008
Format: Hardcover
The Last Centurion (2008) is a standalone SF novel of the near future. It is set about a decade from the present when two natural disasters hit simultaneously: a virulent disease and solar cooling. It is presented as the draft of an autobiography by the main character, but also has a few comments by his wife (whom we never meet, although some hints are given).

In this novel, Bandit is the scion of farmers. He grows up on a farm in southern Minnesota, is the captain of the high school football team and goes to agriculture college on a football scholarship. Since pocket money was scarce, he joins Army ROTC and receives a small stipend.

Bandit graduates with a degree in Agronomy and is commissioned as a Second Lieutenant. The Army sends him to Infantry Officer Basic course and then to the Third Infantry Division in Savannah, Georgia. Soon his unit is deployed to Iran. He enjoys the tour, although two of his troopers are killed in action.

Returning to Savannah, Bandit is promoted to First Lieutenant and attends the Advance Course and Jump School. Then he is sent to the Ranger course. When he returns to his unit, they are preparing for another deployment. Since he is too senior for a line platoon and too junior to be an Executive Officer, Bandit is assigned as the Assistant Operations Officer of his battalion.

The S-3 himself is a wuss, so Bandit does all the work. He learns a lot about training and operations while holding down the job, but this tour is not as much fun as the previous one. Returning to Savannah, he is still the Assistant S-3, but his new boss knows what he is doing and passes on his knowledge to his subordinates.

The next time he is sent to the sandbox, Bandit is given command of the battalion Scout Platoon.
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74 of 91 people found the following review helpful By Brian Hawkinson VINE VOICE on July 31, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I knew absolutely nothing when I picked this one up. In fact I hadn't ever read anything by Ringo, nor had I any desire to. It was because of this that I was completely blown away by The Last Centurion. Right from the beginning the narration is an in your face, upfront and honest account of one soldier's opinions, experiences and ultimate effect on various countries during an apocalyptic near future in 2019-2020.

Initially I was reading greedily, not even knowing where the book was going. This was because the book is broke into three sections. The first is a background story to establish the foundation to Bandit Six's experiences in the army in 2019. Very honest and upfront, section 1 is a scathing commentary on the world and, more importantly to American readers, the United States from today, mid 2000s, to the time of the Bird Flu breakout. Using today's issues as the source, Bandit 6 comments and explicates on such issues as Global Warming, Gulf War, Middle East Relations, Hurricane Katrina and so on. There is so much history and information packed in that I couldn't help googling a lot and reading up on these subjects as well. As great as the brutally honest commentary was, after a while I started to wonder if this was the whole book, which if it was then I no longer wanted to keep reading another 300 pages of just that. And Ringo's transition into section 2 came exactly then, well placed, and led to such a great account of Bandit 6's exploits in the Middle East.

Section 2 was the meat of The Last Centurion and it was a wild ride. One scene in Iran, when Bandit came out to attain some "help", was a classic scene of a no fear soldier in the midst of bullets whizzing all around him. I will remember that scene for a long time to come.
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40 of 48 people found the following review helpful By Travelguy on October 4, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Wow. I was in a hurry, looking for a book to read on an upcoming long haul flight and purchased this book for one reason only - the quote on the flyleaf: "I am your Centurian. This America shall not fall!"

I did not know the author or any of his prior books and expected something like Escape From New York or a literary version of the Gears of War commercial.

After finishing the book in one (admittedly long) day, I'm not quite sure what I just read, but it wasn't Escape From New York.

It could have been a Masters Course in Sociology, a Concise Politics of the World, or a graduate course from West Point on military strategy and tactics. Whatever it was, it was amazing and difficult to put down.

Authors who are successful in using an unusual voice (1st person) to present their usually limit that format to the first chapter or two and then revert to a more standard format for the remainder of the book. I wasn't expecting something along the lines of a blog or diary to persist throughout the whole book. That does make for prime script dialog though!

As with any book, there is far more material than could ever be presented in a movie, but I can already envision several approaches to a movie series along the lines of Mad Max and would love to work up a treatment for this.

My only criticism and it is hardly worth mentioning is that the while the flyleaf might lead you to believe that the story is mostly set in America, virtually none of it is. I kept thinking that the material presented in the first half of the book would be used as backstory for something set in the US, but it never really got there. Perhaps that will be where a sequel takes us.
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