Star Strike (Inheritance Trilogy #1)

Star Strike (Inheritance Trilogy #1)

by Ian Douglas

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Planet by planet, galaxy by galaxy, the inhabited universe has fallen to the alien Xul.

Now only one obstacle stands between them and total domination: the warriors of a resilient race the world-devourers nearly annihilated centuries ago . . .

A power vast, ancient, and terrifying, the mighty Xul have lost track of the insignificant humans hundreds of years after devastating their home world—which has enabled the United Star Marines to operate unnoticed and unhindered. A near-autonomous intergalactic policing force, they battle in defense of an Earth they may not live to see again. Now, following the trail of a vanished twenty-fourth-century transport, they are journeying through an unexplored stargate to the edge of an unknown galaxy many light years from their sun. For the last, best, and only chance to defeat the tyrants of the universe may at long last be at hand . . .

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780061794759
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 10/13/2009
Series: Ian Douglas' Inheritance Trilogy Series , #1
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 400
Sales rank: 49,605
File size: 814 KB

About the Author

Ian Douglas is one of the many pseudonyms for writer William H. Keith, New York Times bestselling author of the popular military science fiction series The Heritage Trilogy, The Legacy Trilogy, The Inheritance Trilogy, The Star Corpsman series, The Star Carrier series, and The Andromedan Dark series. A former Navy Hospital Corpsman, he lives in Pennsylvania.

Read an Excerpt

Star Strike: Book One of the Inheritance Trilogy

Chapter One


Green 1, 1-1 Bravo
0340/38:22 hours, local time

The Specters descended over the Southern Sea, slicing north through turbulent air, their hulls phase-shifted so that they were not entirely within the embrace of normal space. Shifted, they were all but invisible to radar, and little more than shadows to human eyes, shadows flickering across a star-clotted night.

On board Specter One-one Bravo, Gunnery Sergeant Charel Ramsey sat huddled pauldron-to-pauldron with the Marines locked in to either side of him. The squad bay was red lit and crowded, a narrow space barely large enough to accommodate a platoon of forty-eight Marines in full Mark 660 assault battlesuits. He tried once again to access the tacnet, and bit off a curse when all that showed within the open mindwindow was static. They were going in blind, hot and blind, and he didn't like the feeling. If the Muzzies got twitchy and started painting their southern sky with plasma bolts or A.M. needlers, phase-shifting would not protect them in the least.

"They're holding off on the drones," Master Sergeant Adellen said over the tac channel, almost as if she were reading his mind. Likely she was as nervous as the rest of the Marines in the Specter's belly. She just hid it better than most. "They don't want to tip the grounders off that we're on final."

"Yeah, but it would be nice to see where the hell we're going," Corporal Takamura observed. "We can't see shit through the LV's optics."

That was not entirely true, of course. Ramsey had a window open in his mindlinked through to the feed from the Specter's cockpit. Menu selections gave him a choice of views—through cameras forward or aft, in visible light, low-light, or infrared, or a computer-generated map of the planet that showed twelve green triangles in a double-chevron formation moving toward the still-distant coastline. Ramsey had settled on the map view, since the various optical feeds showed little now but water, clouds, and stars.

The MLV-44 Specter Marine Landing Vehicles were large and slow, with gull wings and fusion thrusters that gave them somewhat more maneuverability than a falling brick, but not much. Each mounted a pair of AI-controlled high-speed cannon firing contained micro-antimatter rounds as defense against incoming missiles, but they relied on stealth and surprise for survival, not firepower, and certainly not armor. A Specter's hull could shield those on board from the searing heat of atmospheric entry, but a mag-driven needle or even a stray chunk of high-energy shrapnel could puncture its variform shell with shocking ease. Ramsey had seen the results of shrapnel impact on a grounded Specter before, on Shamsheer and on New Tariq.

The Specter jolted hard, suddenly and unexpectedly, and someone vented a sharp curse. They were falling into denser air, passing through the cloud deck, and things were getting rougher.

"One more of those," Sergeant Vallida said, her voice bitter, "and Private Dowers gets jettisoned."

"Hey, Sarge! I didn't do anything!"

"Don't pick on Dowers," Adellen said. "He didn't know."

"Yeah, but he should have. Fucking nectricots. . . ."

It was rank superstition, of course. Even if it went back over a thousand years. Maybe it was the sheer age of the tradition that gave it so much power. But somehow, back in the twentieth or twenty-first century, it had become an article of faith that if a Marine ate the apricots in his ration pack before boarding an alligator or other armored transport, the vehicle would break down. Over the centuries, the focus of the curse had gradually shifted from apricots to genegineered nectricots, but the principle remained the same.

And Ela Vallida had walked in on Dowers back on board the Kelley just before the platoon had saddled up that morning, to find him happily slurping down the last of the nectricots in his drop rats. Dowers was a fungie, fresh out of RTC, and not yet fully conversant with the bewildering labyrinth of tradition and history within which every Marine walked.

"Fucking fungie," Vallida added.

"Belay that, Sergeant," Lieutenant Jones growled. First Platoon's CO wasn't evenly physically present on the squad bay deck; the eltee was topside somewhere, plugged into the C3 suite behind the Specter's cockpit, but she obviously was staying linked in on the platoon chat line. "Chew on him after One-one Bravo craps out, and you have something to bitch about."

"Aye, aye, sir," Vallida replied. But Ramsey still heard the anger in her voice. Likely, he thought, it was just the stress. This was always the roughest part of a Marine landing, the long, agonizing wait, sealed into a tin can that was flying or swimming toward God-knew what kind of defenses. Did the Alighani Muzzies know the Marines were coming? What was waiting for them at the objective?

How many of the men and women sealed into this Specter were going to be alive an hour from now? . . .

Don't even think about that, Ramsey told himself. It's bad ju-ju. . . .

Not that he actually believed in luck, of course . . . or in the power of nectricot curses. But he didn't know anyone who'd survived the hell of modern combat who didn't engage in at least a few minor superstitious behaviors, and that included Ramsey himself. He never went into combat without a neumenal image of his Marine father watching from a minimized mindwindow. Totally irrational, he knew.

His mental gaze shifted to the tiny, mental image of Marine Master Sergeant Danel Jostin Ramsey, resplendent in his dress blacks . . . an image recorded just days before the landings on Torakara.

The Specter gave another hard lurch. According to the feed from the cockpit, it was raining outside now, and lightning flared behind the clouds ahead. The mission planners had chosen to insert through a large, tropical storm, taking advantage of lightning and rain to shield the assault group's approach for a precious few seconds longer.

Star Strike: Book One of the Inheritance Trilogy. Copyright © by Ian Douglas. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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Star Strike (Inheritance Trilogy #1) 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 40 reviews.
Stricken_Maveric More than 1 year ago
While I enjoyed the story in this book, I found it difficult to stay engaged with the story. There are way too many descriptive details about the technology of the world that seem to break the rhythm of the story. As for the sci-fi aspect of it, it may go over most people's heads unless you're a hardcore sci-fi buff. Maybe that's just my impression of it, but as far as a good story goes, it almost gets there. Somewhere amongst the many, many technological descriptions is a decent story that seems to lack character development, as well as consistency.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ian Douglas is obviously intelligent and writes very well. But I feel he spends a bit too much time in this book detailing futuristic technology - so much so that the plot suffers. If you are a fast reader, then you might like this book a little better than those of us who take awhile to complete a book. As a slower, more deliberate, reader, if a book hasn't grabbed me by the time I am 100 or 200 pages into it, I am liable to put it down. This book held my interest just enough to get me past page 200. The last 80 pages made the read worthwhile.
KenK More than 1 year ago
I started reading the book and was disappointed with it. It seemed to me it was a take today's events and wars and send them to another planet in another galaxy and write it about there.
SyFiGuy More than 1 year ago
I got hooked on Ian Douglas with his first trilogy, Heritage. Unfortunately I accidentally picked up his third trilogy (Inheritance) instead of the second (Legacy) so I'm reading them out of sequence. But it really isn't an issue as the basic theme continues as mankind continues its struggle for survival in an increasingly hostile galaxy (in the 29th century). In this first book of the Inheritance trilogy, the Xul, a machine-based intelligence with the uploaded persona's of an extinct race, continue to seek and destroy any and all potential threats to their galactic dominance. As with his first trilogy, Douglas uses his extensive knowledge of current scientific theory and technology (and his incredible imagination) to paint a picture of what technology, warfare and society might be like 800 years from now. As a former navy corpsman, Douglas uses his knowledge of battle planning, logistics and of course combat tactics to create a fascinating story of how the marine corp of the future can stand toe-to-toe with a larger and technologically superior enemy force. The battle scenes are intense and the technology mind blowing. Once I started reading this book I REALLY had a hard time putting it down. The only complaint I have with the book (and others in the series) is that it contains frequent R-rated language and some occasional adult situations. I've got a 13-year-old son that loves science fiction and it's a shame that I can't share this book with him. Other than that I would highly recommend this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I've read both the Heritage and Legacy trilogy and was very much impressed and entertained. The way that Mr. Douglas had incorporated actual Marine fact and tradition into real potential future happenings. Very nicely written. Star Strike is another one of those titles though so very far in the future. The only thing i'm not sure about yet is that it reads and is very reminicent of Starship Troopers from Heinlein. Not that it's a bad thing, but there were almost direct similarities to that work. Other than that I was very happy with the work and will most likely read it again as I did the other novels.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
crazybatcow on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The story is a military one, set in space, in the future. The author is clearly a marine-ophile since every second or third paragraph contains a snippet of marine history or a description of how wonderful marines are. Of course, the author didn't refer to them as the U.S. Marines because in this future the US is (theoretically) just part of a planetary federation; in reality, however, the whole Federation is American in nature.Of course, this doesn't make the story bad at all... as long as you're aware that it has a North American perspective on everything, is very military, and has a very Marines-are-King attitude. That and the author likes to give the make, model and serial number (and color too, sometimes) of every technical item from the armor to the alien's hibernation chambers. The aliens are cool, the details are great, the story is engaging. And, although this is book one in a series, the story stands completely alone and is satisfactorily wrapped up in the end.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was hard to put down! A bunch of marines take on a superior evil empire and kick but across the Milky Way! Motivating read for any military personnel .
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great read!
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I enjoyed this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Have read the whole series. Number one writer
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago others have said, the aliens were pretty stupid considering they were eons ahead of human technology and had purportedly conquered much of the universe. The humans have now beaten them infour consecutive battles. Moreover, the technological advantages of the aliens do not appear to be as overwhelming as the author suggests. Putting that small nitpick aside, this an incredibly entertaining book and I highly recommend it to sci fi buffs.
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