Among those Martians is Major Sandra Jordan. She's a gung-ho Expeditionary Marine who believes her people are doing a good thing. While Mars managed to build itself into a self-sufficient, orderly colony with a Spartan-like focus on breeding fearless warriors, Earth (the "birth world") has fallen into complete disarray after numerous civil wars and natural disasters. So she sees what her people are doing as a service to the people of Earth by returning some law and order to the planet. Of course most people on Earth don't see it that way.
Sandra's thinking starts to change when her commander slaughters a bunch of innocent civilians with a drone attack. Sandra goes to see the regional governor only to find he has little interest in punishing her commander. She decides she'll have to go to the capital city of Toronto to see the head honchos of the Expeditionary Marines to get justice for the civilians.
But not long after she leaves, her plane is shot down. Sandra is saved by Alberto, an Earthman who used to be a soldier but for the last seven years had been living like a hermit in the Andes with his burro, Feliz. (Feliz means Happy in Spanish, which is an ironic moniker for a grumpy burro.) Alberto decides to help Sandra in her quest to reach Toronto to the point that he sells Feliz to get them transportation.
But they don't get far before they're stopped by a hired gun named Blake Trigger--not his real name. He's been hired by the regional governor to make Sandra disappear before she can spill the beans about the massacre. After a run-in with some pirates (Arr!) Blake reluctantly agrees to join Sandra's merry little band.
When they get to San Jose (the Costa Rica one) they meet a little girl who has no memory of her past and can only speak through essentially an iPad she controls with psychic powers. Those psychic powers also make her a top-notch hacker. She too joins the party on their epic quest.
Except soon they get side-tracked in Mexico and their little quest to Toronto turns into the opening battles of a revolution to retake Earth.
It's a fun sci-fi adventure story with a little dystopian thrown into the mix. If you hadn't guessed it yet, like "The Leading Men" the title here has a dual meaning. "Liberation Front" is often used as part of the title of resistance groups and obviously this is about a resistance group of sorts. Also, the idea of Mars "liberating" Earth is actually a front for their more nefarious schemes. Symbolism, bitches! (again!)
Now for some Fun Facts!
- Much of the story comes from the third Robotech series, or "Mospaeda" as it was originally called in Japan. That involved humans returning from another planet to reclaim Earth from the nasty Invid. Cross that with the second Iraq war and that's pretty much where this is coming from.
- A character named Major Sandra Jordan also appears in the books The Savior and The Final Battle (Rebirth #2 and #3). I was too lazy to go through and change the name. I mean what are the odds someone would actually read all three of those books? 0%! The Eclipse fighters the Marines use are also used in those books.
- Near the end there's a kick-ass plane called the "Innsbruck" that's based on the F-16XL used in some of the "Wingman" books by Mack Maloney. If you're wondering the F-16XL was a real prototype aircraft back in the 80s.
- The location of "Tabla Diabla" (Devil's Table in Spanish) I've used in other stories, though it was very different.
- This was written either between the first two Scarlet Knight books or between the third and fourth ones. I forget which. I remember it was a struggle writing this. Reading it recently, I realized this isn't a bad book by any stretch. I just think at the time I had the other series on the brain.
- This was supposed to be the start of a series but I never got around to writing the sequels. Again, I had the Scarlet Knight ones on my brain and I never got back to this.
Tomorrow Box Office Blitz continues!