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Battletech 08: The Price of Glory: The Saga of the Gray Death Legion Mass Market Paperback – January 1, 1993
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Top Customer Reviews
When they finally return to Helm, the planet that has been granted to the Legion as a home for the mercenaries, they are surprised to find the planet in chaos and their new headquarters has already been assaulted by Marik forces. Given they had no information from Sirius V after their last mission, they know nothing about the horrors committed in their name and thus do not know why their personnel and families were attacked in such a savage manner. Thus we have the Legion back on the defensive as they try to figure out what had happened while finding a way to stay alive with limited resources.
A lot of the mercenary-centric stories tend to enjoy focusing on the group being betrayed or being caught in-between political machinations of larger entities including the the Great Houses themselves. And this is a classic presentation of this scenario as is repeated across many Battletech novels later on. And it certainly has a good number of plot twists to keep you wondering who is actually supporting what and why.
And while you have a good idea that Lord Garth is up to no good and has it in for the Legion from the very beginning, it's not immediately clear why. And I enjoyed how the book tries to keep this plot point more towards the rear of things since Carlyle has to focus on survival before anything else. The final reveal isn't too surprising for anyone who has read Battletech novels but it still pays off well. But at the same time I kind of wish that Carlyle's reactions were a bit more mature somehow despite his relative age.
There's a lot of great combat here, even if it's mostly guerrilla combat. Let's face it, a lot of Battletech stories tend to fall into this pattern of behavior, which more or less matches the sort of stories were Battletech really shines. Those machines need a lot of ammo and take on a lot of damage time and time again and it's inevitable for a story to capitalize on this fact. The very limitations of BattleMechs determine what kinds of stories can be written.
Keith's writing is clever but not always sophisticate and there are some dialog sequences or plot decisions that make you scratch your head a bit at times. You can sort of excuse this since Carlyle is a young mercenary leader after all, but it's not quite a reason for everything that happens. And the core plot here is a little confusing, but then this book is from the early days of the novels, so we can forgive it a bit for now.
Battletech: The Price of Glory is a nice third act of sorts for the Gray Death Legion given Keith's enjoyment for putting Carlyle in tight situations. But to be fair, he does come out on top pretty well, which makes for good storytelling.
The problem I have with this book is a continuity problem that leaves a hole in the plot you could fly a jumpship through. Ricol had a company of Battlemechs with him, clearly discussed when he and Grayson decide to cooperate and try to retrieve the Star League weapons cache. But in the final showdown when the Gray Death has its back to the wall, outgunned and facing a numerically superior foe, those 12 Mechs would have made all the difference in the world. But to make the final battle more "skin of the teeth" Keith reworks the plot and suddenly Ricol has no battlemechs with no explanation where they went. This error is really annoying but what can you do. Long live the Gray Death!
I found this book to be interesting, and this new chapter into the Gray Death was very informative. Unfortunately, this book was unable to win a perfect score because of a few dragging parts. This book may be a bad investment for those who have never read a Battletech novel, as there is little to no introduction about the world of 31st century combat, or the history of the wars that grip the Inner Sphere. But if you're a Battletech fan, you won't be disappointed. The interesting story, subplots, and brilliant depiction of the Gray Death will make you put this novel on a bookshelf for treasured finds. A must-read!