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Old Guard: A Bolos Anthology: Book 5 Mass Market Paperback – February 26, 2002
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"A good addition to the Bolo mythos. . . . fun, entertaining...". -- Heliocentric Network
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The Bolo's and their commanders see alot of action in and around the Delas system by a horde of attacking Kezdai - creatures that resemble bird-like reptiles. Hellbores away! Infantry, tanks, and and full scale battles rage over the planet systems. And the book shows that Bolos should be left alone to do their jobs - to protect humanity.
The book earned a 4 stars instead of 5 stars because the first story - seems like it was cut off. 3 characters were introduced, and two at great length, but each had no impact on the story's ending. It seemed the story was cut off. In the second story, a Concordiate Officer ignores his Bolo, and the result is death and and some destruction to a Concordiate task force. The commander, supposedly academy trained, is told to "just forget about it" and to get back into the war because "he did a good job" because he came up with a good idea prior to his terrible orders. Only one sentence was givin to a possible court martial. I wanted the character to be punished, not patted on the back. I believe the first two stories dragged a little when they went into the Kezdai personal worlds, except for one plot line.
The third story, the shortest - was marvelous. And the final moments of the the battle should have been made into artwork for the book cover with the vivid descriptions of the battle.
This has obvious advantages and disadvantages- first and foremost, the line between authors has blurred. Part of the fun of the series was recognizing the times and places each author chose to put themselves in, usually by creating an entirely new conflict in which they make the rules of the plot. However, with the setting concretely agreed upon, that freedom was lost. Also, by creating a singular time in which to play, the authors didn't have a chance to tinker too much with the machinery or sentience of the Bolos themselves- which, aside from the Bolo soul, are the essence of the stories.
That said, the book was, to me, enthralling. I'm a Bolo finatic, what can I say? And the connectivity of the plot did make the anthology feel much more like a novel than previous editions- but all in all, my favorite Bolo book remains undisturbed as Book 3.