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Publisher's Summary

In the 20th century Earth sent probes, transmissions, and welcoming messages to the stars. Unfortunately, someone noticed. The Galactics arrived with their battle fleet in 2052. Rather than being exterminated under a barrage of hell-burners, Earth joined their vast Empire. Swearing allegiance to our distant alien overlords wasn't the only requirement for survival. We also had to have something of value to trade, something that neighboring planets would pay their hard-earned credits to buy. As most of the local worlds were too civilized to have a proper army, the only valuable service Earth could provide came in the form of soldiers…someone had to do their dirty work for them, their fighting and dying.

I, James McGill, was born in 2099 on the fringe of the galaxy. When Hegemony Financial denied my loan applications, I was kicked out of the university and I turned to the stars. My first campaign involved the invasion of a mineral-rich planet called Cancri-9, better known as Steel World. The attack didn't go well, and now Earth has entered a grim struggle for survival. Humanity's mercenary legions go to war in Steel World, best-selling author B. V. Larson's latest science fiction novel.

©2013 B. V. Larson (P)2013 Audible, Inc.

What listeners say about Steel World

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A fun read

A good story and build up to a great series, I cant wait to get all the other chapters.

7 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Dumbed down to my frustrations

I couldn't believe how much over explaining
this author provided which spoiled the flow of action. The lead character was not believable since he was brilliant in one moment and completely obtuse in the next.
Also, this book must have been written pre-me too movement considering all the mysigony.
The story, potentially, was a good idea but assumed the listeners were idiots. The writing was somewhat cliche and could have taken place on Earth, rather than a futuristic story.

5 people found this helpful

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Thoroughly enjoyed, pumped that there's more!

Didn't know this was the 1st book of what looks to be a long series. Right from the get go I was drawn in. Perfect mix of action, humour and story. Characters started to grow on me as the story progressed!

2 people found this helpful

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New series (to me!)

I really like long series, and got the first in this series at a discount. The writer is very imaginative and the narrator was very consistent. I liked so many of his voices, I couldn't pick a favorite! I am pretty sure this series will be my next binge :)

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • C. Brown
  • 2019-04-16

A 14 year old boy’s idea of a “Real Man”

First, a disclaimer: I finished all 10 books. Probably because Mark Boyett is a fantastic narrator. Make that, Storyteller. I do not think I would have stuck it out as text.
Pros:
Well-written, flows well, story builds on itself, and, like Horatio Hornblower, the protagonist rises in rank and significance over the course of he books.
Many call-backs to earlier stories, well-developed characters (within the functional requirements of the narrative) are distinct from each other. You could probably identify each bit of dialogue without attributions.
Some nice plot twists.
The central speculative hook is revivication of the legionnaires, and it is fairly well developed, though never deeply.
Lots of ripsnortin’, rootin’ tootin’ action!!!
Cons:
Unlike Hornblower, he never matures in the slightest.
The problem with charming rogues is that they are rogues. McGill is a childish, self-absorbed misogynist (I am a centrist straight male) with a bull-in-a-china-shop approach to EVERYTHING, and phenomenal luck (Authorial intent, deus ex machinae) which is supposed to pass for good ol’ boy genius.
He is a Randian superhero: Only he knows what to do. How? Well, he just … y’know … knows. He never listens to anyone; they’d only slow him down. He literally hits on every female he meets, often missing important points in the process. Most of them are his own species. He makes Captain Kirk look grown up. He dozes through briefings with the fate of all humanity at stake, does whatever his amygdala fancies, and it always turns out for the best.
Graves would have been a much better protagonist.
All of the aliens are shallow, funny-looking humans, in terms of personality, intellect, and psychology.
This series panders to the child in each of us who wishes there were no rules, and we could write on the wall using our own feces. Why do I have to wash my hands before dinner anyway? Why can’t I just take what I want? If he weren’t such a terrible example, this would be a children’s series.
This is Peter Pan with sex, violence, and alcohol, and never any consequences.
If you’re looking for science fiction that leaves you thoughtful, this isn’t it. If you’re doing heavy labor all day, and want some background entertainment, well, Mark Boyett makes this a great comic book.
Would I read more by this author? I would test him on another series.

54 people found this helpful

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  • Smurfberry
  • 2019-09-28

Not plausible. Even for science fiction.

Dead marines can be brought back to life from some computer record after death, even after decapitation. And this recreation will have memories right up to death (and not when the computer record is made). Really? If they can create marines from some computer record, why not make a bunch of clones to fight instead? So ridiculous I couldn’t read on.

25 people found this helpful

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  • John
  • 2015-02-09

Great book!

Would you listen to Steel World again? Why?

Great start to a series. Like a cross between Starship Troopers and Universal Soldier.

What did you like best about this story?

Exciting and full of action.

What about Mark Boyett’s performance did you like?

Mark Boyett does a wonderful job with the voices and narration.

27 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Renato M. Lellis
  • 2019-01-03

Typical Military Sci-Fi with some fresh ideas

This a typical military sci-fi, with a focus in the infantry or "legionaries" as they are called in the book (for some reason Roman Military Hierarchy is somehow adopted by the mercenaries).

Sometime in the near future Earth joins a Galatic Empire and to take part in the interplanetary commerce, is forced to provide a commodity to trade. Since human technology is primitive when compared with the spacefaring races, the only earth service that found some market is mercenaries.

James McGill joins the legions due to financial difficulties and is promptly sent to the Steel World where Legion Veris has a contract to fulfill.

The setting is typical military sci-fi, with focus on ground battles from the perspective of a low-level infantry recruit. No spaceship fights here.

A good point on the book is the consistent and exciting worldbuilding. Since the legions are service providers and not a conquering force, there is some effort dedicated to the politics of a Galactic Empire with multiple alien races with multiples ways of thinking and conflicting interests.

Another good idea is that the Legions use a revival apparatus that produce a new clone everytime a soldier dies in combat. This technology creates interesting questions and plot dynamics.

A weak point, in my opinion, is that the main character looks a little too effective from time to time. Even as a recruit, James often take decisions that are questioned by the more experienced soldiers, but reveals to be correct at the end. He is also a rebel who "thinks outside the box", even when the books describe him as a lazy teenager with no life aspirations. In the end, he turns out to be a hero at the heart.

Other characters are even less developed than the MC. But this is not the focus of a military sci-fi book, I think.

At the end is a fun book for fans of the genre, with some new ideas to add to the scene.

21 people found this helpful

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  • Uffe
  • 2019-05-09

Hated the Protagonist

I found the Protagonist to be the most anoying, selfcentered and unlikable character i have seen in any story. It is sad be cause the universe its self got plenty of interesting stuff, and most of the other characters are interesting. If you can stomage the Protagonist then sture it is a good book. I could'nt..

9 people found this helpful

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  • Luke
  • 2019-12-13

Really Cringy

The author has wrote his character to be very hypocritical and hard to root for. The concept and plot of the story have plenty of holes, it maybe could have been fun but the constant illogical character decisions and blatant disregard for any common sense wears you down. I see a lot were written they maybe get better. I'll read reviews more carefully next time

7 people found this helpful

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  • Kenerator
  • 2019-08-28

No science, child’s fiction

Guns that shoot needles against 15’ tall lizards? Ridiculous, unless of course you’re a kid who just wants an action story. The lizards also had offices and medical wards. Tough to imagine those ergonomics.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Ryan
  • 2015-10-16

Its like Starship Troopers but with Dinosaurs

Dino Aliens ✔
Cool guy Protagonist ✔
Cool World ✔
Likable Characters ✔
Unlikable Characters ✔
Protagonist likes looking at woman's posterior when being yelled at ✔
It güde.

69 people found this helpful

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  • Don Gilbert
  • 2013-12-05

Classic Space Opera

Cast from the mold of Star Ship Troopers and B.V. Larson’s other great space adventure, his Space Force series, Steel World; Undying Mercenaries is a high speed, high adventure, military Sci-Fi, page turner.
Having already submitted to the vast empire of the Galactics, Earth is in a struggle for survival and humanities legions of mercenaries must battle on planet Cancri-9, better known as Steel World to endure; but death is not the usual final obstacle as these mercenaries have the ability to regenerate.
It’s an interesting concept, the book has several plot twists and the characters are well developed and believable.
This is a story begging to be a series; and the narrator, Mark Boyett, gives a great performance.

77 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Willie
  • 2014-02-25

Highly entertaining, straight forward

If you could sum up Steel World in three words, what would they be?

Just plain fun....Larson doesn't make this a muddled, too many subplots running story. He keeps you on target on the main character, builds solid supporting characters, and doesn't mess around with repetition or unnecessary subplots. You can see this as an action movie, or, dare I say it, a video game-but don't let that turn you off. This is worth it.

What did you like best about this story?

Reminded me of Star Ship Troopers but with dinosaurs. The writer gives you enough to invest in the characters and provides great action to keep you listening(or reading).

Have you listened to any of Mark Boyett’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Haven't heard him before but was very pleased with his performance. Accents a little weak but still a very good job.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

too long for one sitting but high on the re-listening scale

Any additional comments?

Not over complicated story and action packed. I would highly recommend this book and am anxiously looking forward to the next book in the series.

9 people found this helpful