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  • Machine World

  • Undying Mercenaries, Book 4
  • Written by: B. V. Larson
  • Narrated by: Mark Boyett
  • Length: 13 hrs and 18 mins
  • 4.9 out of 5 stars (73 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The Galactics arrived with their battle fleet in 2052. Rather than being exterminated under a barrage of hell burners, Earth joined a vast empire that spanned the Milky Way. Our only worthwhile trade goods are our infamous mercenary legions, elite troops we sell to the highest alien bidder.

In the fourth book of the series, James McGill is up for promotion. Not everyone is happy about that, and McGill must prove he's worth his stripes. Deployed to a strange, alien planet outside the boundaries of the Galactic Empire, he's caught up in warfare and political intrigue. Earth expands, the Cephalopod Kingdom launches ships to stop us, and a grand conspiracy emerges among the upper ranks of the Hegemony military.

In Machine World McGill faces an entirely new kind of alien life, Galactic prosecution, and thousands of relentless squid troopers. He lives and dies in the falling ashes of the empire, a man of unique honor at the dawn of humanity's resurgence.

Machine World is a military science fiction novel by best-selling author B. V. Larson. (To find the first book in the series, search for Steel World by B. V. Larson.)

©2015 B. V. Larson (P)2015 Audible Inc.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Another Excellent Story

This series - Undying Mercenaries - is always well written and narrated. Lots of action and new technology. On to the next one in the series... #Audible1

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Don Gilbert
  • 2015-05-16

McGill's Way

At the end of the previous book in this series “Tech world,” we learned that the Cephalopods, or “Squids,” are on the move and the once seemingly all powerful Galactics are nervous. James McGill has been nominated for a promotion, and Imperator Turov has to go on with life looking twenty years younger.
Now, in “Machine World,” the latest book in the continuing saga of the “Undying Mercenaries,” McGill starts off the way he always does by taking matters into his own hand at the risk of the entire human species and the chagrin of his commanding officers; but if you’ve been keeping up on the series know that his moves often save the day.
If you liked the previous three books than you should like this one; if you haven’t read any of the series don’t start here, you should read them in order.
A word about the narrator; since these books are written in first person Mark Boyett is James McGill taking on his persona and bringing the story to life. I don’t know If I would give the story five stars without his influence, he really does a great job.

36 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Christopher
  • 2015-06-22

A fun story if you can overlook some minor issues

By now, in book 4 of the series, you well know the routine of James McGill- they way he handles authority, his code of honor and ethics, and his love life. If your still reading the series, then this is all appealing to you.

In my opinion, this book is a fine addition to the series. James, despite the suspension of belief you have to invest in his schemes always working out (to varying degrees) in his favor, is a character I just can't help but like on some level. He is honest, upfront, occasionally brutal and, admittedly, a bit thick at times; but he's got his heart in the right place. He takes things into his own hands and gets things done, and it's just fun to read about his exploits.

This is no great literary work, but it is enjoyable, much like any good episode of "Star Trek". It gets silly or ridiculous at times, but if you can go along with the ride, it does wind up placing a smile on your face as you listen- and you keep listening to hear about how he's going to get everyone out of the next mess.

The severe review I gave of the previous book (Tech World) was mostly due to the fact that I felt the author let James "get out of character" during the story and the result was a lot of (relatively innocent) alien deaths. While he wasn't exactly personally responsible, he was involved enough where it didn't feel true to the character I had been reading about up to that point.

But in this book, things seem to get back on track. Oh, James still plays galactic dice and shoots from the hip A LOT, but his ethics and code of honor seems reinforced in this book. He still does a few shady things, but most of it I can, as a reader, at least understand his reasoning and go along with it for the sake of the story. I may not agree with everything, but like I've said already, it's an enjoyable read.

Of course, Mark Boyett does a fantastic reading performance. It's so easy to forget that you are listening to a single person- each character come alive with their own with with unique voice, cadence, accent and personality expressed by Boyett. When i have to remind myself this is all coming from one person, it really is quite astounding.

20 people found this helpful

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  • Carl-Magnus
  • 2015-07-09

More of the same...

I had hoped for some development, but its always "same old McGill" in this one. I feel half the lines from other characters about McGill have been heard in previous books. He goes nowhere, and he learns nothing. Nome of the other do either. Its a good time killer, but made me not want to buy the next one..

18 people found this helpful

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  • Lumberjim
  • 2015-05-25

Mailing it in

The first couple of books in this series were interesting, and moved along well. By the third book, I stopped liking the main character as much. He seemed smug and impossibly lucky. By the 4th book, the author clearly just doesn't care anymore. His story line contradicts itself. The plot dies off half way through the book, and he starts into another plot that makes zero sense. I hate it when a good concept dies like this. When the author is repeating himself and just leaving things out instead of dealing with them (specifically, in one scene, two Officers die, and their bodies are not mentioned in the cover up effort the protagonist has to preform to save mankind) ... This is probably the worst book I've read in 10 years. Don't get the first book, even though it's OK...because eventually you'll be reading this piece of garbage. blech. I do like the narrator, though.

15 people found this helpful

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  • A. R. Holloway
  • 2018-08-06

Great series, but eventually suffers from same...

This series is amazing up until book 4. That's when it starts suffering from the exact same problem his "Space Force" series. The main character fully realizes that cretin people around him are dangerous and down right evil, yet allows them to live on several occasions despite the fact that they have crossed a line that leads to down right treachery of all of humanity. His foolish decisions with regards to these individuals who have repeatedly in this series proven that they are untrustworthy, gets in the way of any real resolution to any of the plot points. Also, the main characters refusal to actually settle down with a woman after four books and literally around 10ish years of having multiple options, none of these women leave him on a permanent basis, and none of them push him to settle down,and he acts like a moron.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Trudy Owens
  • 2015-06-04

No problem, I've got a plan.

"My mother always told me the best policy was honesty, but I never believed her."

This book really has McGill's personality down pat. He is a scoundrel, a cad, a conniver, a rogue, but he is honest unless it will hurt someone. He is morally grounded even when it hurts himself, and benefits truly bad guys. That's what makes him so likable. He opens his mouth when he shouldn't and gets himself in big trouble, but not only himself, he usually takes the entire human race to the edge of annihilation, If not that, then just his squad or his ship. But he does always come up with a plan. Probably not very probable, but entertaining. If you live and keep winning, or sort of winning, battles, it will seem you are unbelievably lucky, but this is fiction, and some warriors do go home in real life.

The whole premise of this series is the ability to regrow humans after they have died. The computer keeps a DNA recipe, and a backup of everyone's brains--their personalities, abilities, memories. You die in battle and the bios toss some raw material into a revival pod and regrow you a new uninjured body, and program your brain into it, all in just about 4 hours. So you can go fight and die again. There is some reflection on this type of life and how it affects your actions and outlook.

Earth is a vassal state to the Empire, so its soldiers do the Empire's fighting. There is some indication that all is not well in the huge Empire, and some of the colonized or enslaved worlds are trying to take advantage of that. There is a lot of politics in this book, and some underhanded dealing, but that is probably what would really go on.

There is great technology in this series. The battles are engaging. The characters are well-rounded, and individual. Each book takes place on a different planet in a different system with a different type of enemy. Each planet is unique, posing unique challenges requiring new solutions. James McGill is the main character, so he can't get "permed" (permanently dead, not regrown) or the series ends, so of course he is impossibly lucky. But then people still flock to see James Bond and don't complain that he couldn't be that lucky.

Mark Boyett is amazing. He does McGill's country boy cocky attitude perfectly, but then can also do a Japanese accent, a Russian accent, aliens' accents, and the superior officers' voices (I especially like Graves), and women. They are all different, believable and well-maintained. He does the inflections correctly, drawing out the humor perfectly.

Very few females have reviewed this book. It should be generally considered a "guy book", but I happen to love action movies and don't mind being one of the few women in the movie theater when I go with my sons. I loved the other books and this one as well. I can't wait to see the Empire overthrown, and Earth start advancing in the universe.

6 people found this helpful

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  • R. Reyes
  • 2015-05-16

Hard to believe but entertaining

The more BV Larson books I listen to the more the characters of Kyle Riggs and McGill seem to be the same person. The big difference between the two is that while Riggs is the leader who uses his mind to manipulate and triumph over his enemies, McGill is stuck as a low man on the totem pole who continually has to fool, and handle his superiors and friends . Unfortunately, this formula becomes harder to believe with each new book. How many times would a superior officer allow a man to lie, be caught out in part of the lie, and remain an active member of the unit?

The action in the story is good but not as engrossing as it was in his previous books. The story is entertaining but hard to believe. At one point in the story an antagonist is thwarted and pops out of the system in a ship and returns the next day with resources and supplies that apparently were just hanging around if his first plan failed.

Mark Boyett does a good job of narration. His character voices allow the listener to easily determine who is who. He emotes scenes well enough to keep your interest in a story that is not totally coming together.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Lucien Morales
  • 2020-06-01

4th book ruined it for me

So I can forgive a little of faults in the first two books, The 3rd book felt like it finally hit a perfect stride and direction where future books will go. This 4th book took the 3rd one and threw it out the window.
The direction in the 4th book makes no sense. Introduces new ideas and story, builds on them, forgets about them and switches topic and direction. Later stops switches again and says lets go back to this other thing somehow, stops switches again to the starting idea, kills it, brings back a different topic to try and introduce near the conclusion of the story and just fizzles out to the end of the book.
There was no clear direction where this story was going it, it just didnt make sense. I'm sorry but I think Im done.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Bikedixie
  • 2015-05-20

Disappointed with vulgarity

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

No. As much as I like Larson's story lines, he seems to be adding more vulgar language. I understand soldiers would probably curse, but cursing isn't essential to the story. It ruined the whole experience for me. I stopped listening for awhile after the first "F" bomb and then he dropped it again when I thought it may have been a one time occurrence. I can't recommend anything I wouldn't let my own children listen to. Out of all the words in the English language that can be used to paint a picture why would you use such ugly vulgar ones? Unfortunately, I can't buy anymore of Larson's works. I can't lower my standards and then expect my children not to.

Any additional comments?

I'll be switching over to Jack Campbell for my sci-fi fix.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Donnie
  • 2015-06-21

Next book please.

I have thoroughly enjoyed every book in this series. Mark Boyett's narration was awesome, as usual. Keep them coming, Mr. Larson.

2 people found this helpful