Review of Rally Cry: The Lost Regiment by William R. Forstchen

SFFaudio Review

Rally Cry: The Lost Regiment #1Rally Cry: The Lost Regiment #1
By William R. Forstchen; Read by Patrick Lawyor
11 Cassettes, 12 CDs or 1 MP3-CD – 15 Hours 30 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Blackstone Audio
Published: 2006
ISBN: 0786145056(Cassette), 078617199 (CDs), 078617658X (MP3-CD)
Themes: / Science Fiction / Military / Civil War / Aliens / Early Civilizations / Alien World /

Click here for an audio sample —

“When Union Colonel Andrew Keane led his blue-coated soldiers aboard the transport ship, he could not have foreseen that their next port of call would be neither in the North nor the South but on an alternate world where no human was free.”

In this exciting Military Science Fiction book, we find a regiment of Union soldiers swept away into a tunnel of light to find themselves on an alien planet. These are battle-hardened and battle-weary soldiers who have paid the terrible price of war. Their leader, Colonel Andrew Keane, has not only lost an arm but also his only brother in conflicts with the South.

Their first encounter on this new world is with a society of humans. The society originally came from Earth through that same tunnel of light that brought Keane and his men to this planet. These people were transplanted out of Medieval Russia. The nobles and the Church rule over the peasant serfdom. Conflict ensues as these two different societies battle with weapons from different eras.

There is also a nomadic alien race that lords over the humans of this planet. They are coming to take one out of every five humans as their tribute. What do they do to these humans? Mostly they eat them.

This is the first novel in a long series known as The Lost Regiment. The action is strong and convincing. Patrick Lawford reads the novel with a good range of voices and accents. The story is written in third person omniscient, so we get into the heads of many of the characters. Each character has their own motivations that justifies their actions.

The only disappointment was the lack of alien-ness to the aliens and setting. Sure the aliens are tall fangy creatures that eat humans, but their culture is not much different than many primitive nomadic warrior tribes. They measure their virtue in bravery and prowess in battle. Maybe it’s not fair to expect an alien culture to be different, after all I haven’t encountered any real ones. Maybe primitive cultures of different planets would share many of the same traits, if they are universally advantageous to that species. The setting also lacks in alieness and is very much like Earth except that it has two moons.

Overall, this is a rousing tale with plenty of action. The battle scenes are exciting without glorifying war. The characters suffer real losses, and we feel their anguish. If you are Civil War buff or like Military SF this is a book not to be missed.

The audiobook is only available in library editions. This means the packaging is sturdier and more permanent. Unfortunately this makes the price expensive. A more affordable download version is available at Better still, make a request to your local library to carry it (with dozens of other SFF titles, of course).