Andromeda's War by William C Dietz

(8.0/10) Dietz has gone to great lengths to flesh out his characters.

In Andromeda's Fall, Lady Catherine "Cat" Carletto's family had been killed, finding she had also been targeted for death by Empress Ophelia. Escaping capture and enlisting in the Legion of the Damned, she changes her name to Andromeda McKee to avoid further attempts at detection. In Andromeda's Choice, Andromeda had spent a year in the Legion of the Damned and got summoned to Earth to receive the Order of Merit from the one person she hated more than any other enemy - the Empress herself. She knows of a resistance group who might be able to take her down, but she has to choose between her vengeful urges and her conscience if she does decide to kill her.

Andromeda might have had chance to get over what had happened to her family over a year ago, but she missed her chance to kill the cruel and evil ruler, Ophelia. And now that her uncle has been killed in a government raid on Earth, she realises she is the only surviving heir and as such, is the only one who can kill the empress and overthrow
all the damage she has done. In Andromeda's War, we discover she has come far over the past year, moving up the ranks from recruit, private, corporal, sergeant and now lieutenant. She feels she has only been surviving though her associates have already fallen in battle. Andromeda has a keen eye for trouble, and helps the men when she can, but as there are so many Naa warriors around them, their chances of survival can be considered slim at best. To make her situation even worse, Andromeda has found that a Carly Vickers has been posted on the same planet she is on and has been working with the Bureau of Missing Persons, an obvious cover for finding those people who oppose Empress Ophelia in order to eliminate them. Andromeda's need to remain hidden away is also thwarted by her men who consider her a big deal on Earth due to her medals and honours.

In this the third novel in the series of prequel books to the Legion of the Damned novels there are several parts that stand out to most readers. The strength of the Naa is mentioned in a sequence when Eatbig, a Naa soldier sparred with Larkin, though what Larkin does later proves to be effective in case her opponent looked like he would win. They are perceived to be stronger than the humans, yet can be dealt with effectively in the right situation. In Andromeda's War we come to find out more on certain characters as they are key to the story; Carly Vickers, Eatbig and Carlo Veneto. Carlo has a chequered history, rising from nothing to become the then princess’s gigolo, working his way up to confidant. Known for his sensuality, she has no further interest in him than for the occasional bout of sex, leaving Carlo to do what he desires. Sex in Dietz's world is violent, kinky and debauched, but that only goes to sculpt his characters into the sort of people he thinks readers will want to discover. However, in the future, sex is also virtual and Carlo is known for having his sexual experiences through a lead slotted into his head, which takes him into another reality. There he can get up to every vice, but Carlo finds someone else waiting for him he does not expect.

Though Empress Ophelia feels she has definite rule over everyone, there are others who conspire against her to threaten that rule; one of them is "Colonel Red," who kills one of Ophelia's closest allies. This is only the start of what comes to pass as Empress Ophelia isn't as secure in her power as she thought when she is "handed over to the Hudathans in exchange for a thousand years peace treaty.” For Andromeda there is a chance to go AWOL to escape detection along with Avery, realising she missed her chance to kill Ophelia for her past cruelty. Dressing like Paguumi, they decide it would be best to seek passage on a tramp freighter for Saras Prime. After a while it is good to see Andromeda to have found a soulmate and possible lover in Avery after all the feelings of hatred she has held for Ophelia.

Andromeda’s War is a turning point for the resistance and with Andromeda’s going AWOL she might be able to change her life for the better. Dietz has gone to great lengths to flesh out his characters so they mean more to us than just everyday people we might meet on the street. They seem real through their intentions, kinks and foibles and that makes us want to read it even more.

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