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Steel World

Undying Mercenaries, Book 1
Written by: B. V. Larson
Narrated by: Mark Boyett
Series: Undying Mercenaries, Book 1
Length: 12 hrs and 7 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (74 ratings)

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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
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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.

6 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 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.

4 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!

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Fun universe. shitty misogyny.

I really wanted to like this story but had to give up after its constant misogyny.

10 people found this helpful

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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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.

22 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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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.

61 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 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.

9 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.

73 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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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.

8 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Michael
  • 2013-12-16

You want great military scifi? Lock and load!

Better late than never.

Well, I have to preface this review with that statement, because, frankly, I've had a LOT of listening in front of me this Christmas season. Not a complaint as much as the cold hard fact of the matter.

So, let's get started.

I've already reviewed Larson's "Star Force" series, and I gave it high marks. I bought the entire series, and am working my way through THAT, and then planned to attack this, Larson's latest entry into military scifi.

To the point, this is an ambitious start to a potentially roller-coaster ride you'll to which you'll want to listen. It's gritty. It's VERY bad-arse. It doesn't waste time on over-complicated character development, and focuses on action, strategy, and storyline. Larson's new series is all about cutting to the chase - You want military scifi? Well lock and load, you're getting an earful.

I particularly like the pace Larson uses. It's different from "A Hymn Before Battle: Legacy of the Aldenata," another awesome military scifi, by john Ringo, which I've just reviewed. The Aldenate series covers a much broader landscape in the telling, as where here, Larson is more focused on close combat, squad interaction and a smaller cast of characters. Both series work, and frankly, reading either one makes you appreciate the other, because of their "on the mark" writing, despite their core differences.

The narrator here, Mark Boyett, has done the work well.

Yes, there are already TONS of spoilers, secrets and giveaways in a good number of Audible reviews. That being said, do you REALLY need to repeat those here? No, of course not.

So, this is a great start for Larson's new series, and finally, I get to give it a two thumbs up.

61 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Computer Tyme
  • 2013-12-25

Good story and excellent narration

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes I would, and I do not do that often.

What other book might you compare Steel World to and why?

It actually reminds me of "Starship Troopers" by Robert Heinlein.

What about Mark Boyett’s performance did you like?

His narration was VERY well done. He was able to do a number of voices, all quite convincing and easy to listen to. It was so well done that at first I thought it was multiple narrators. I look forward to more books narrated by him.

Any additional comments?

I hope to see more in this series. I'm sure I will enjoy them if they are also done by Mark Boyett.

10 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Dylan Brown
  • 2018-06-21

slow start but great finish

I initially lost initially interest, but on a road trip got back into the book, and after a few chapters the story really turns on and the book ended up being really entertaining.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • BookWorm
  • 2013-12-08

Solid 5 Star Military SciFi Audiobook

What did you love best about Steel World?

I only wish all audiobooks were this good. This one was excellent from start to finish, everything from the story, character development and narration were flawless. I love it when a story hooks me from the first page and holds on until the end.

Another thing I liked about this book was that the characters were believable, as in they acted like real people and each had unique flaws. An annoying thing about some action stories is the way that that characters are often 2 dimensional and the hero is some kind of superman, not so in this one. Also I liked the way there was the political infighting and backstabbing in the Legion unit. In my experience, any time you get a bunch of people together you're going to have that kind of thing and yet its often an element that's left out of fiction (the B grade fiction anyway). I spent 20 years in the US Army, and the unit portrayed in this story seemed like a real military unit, the terms and technology were different but the people acted in a way consistent with my experience of how real soldiers talk and act.

I would rate this book right up there with some of my other favorite military fictional reads, to list a few: A Hymn Before Battle (Posleen War Series by John Ringo), Red Storm Rising and Without Remorse by Tom Clancy, Invasion America Series by Vaughn Heppner, Armor by John Steakley, Starship Troopers by Robert Heinlein and Redliners by David Drake.

I'm looking forward to reading the next book in the Undying Mercenaries series.

37 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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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.

2 people found this helpful