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Death's Head: Day of the Damnedby David Gunn
Synopses & Reviews
Set in a chillingly realistic far-future world, and featuring a gritty antihero even more frightening than the evil empire he serves as soldier and assassin, Death's Head is sure to be one of the most talked-about novels of the year. David Gunn is loaded-and he shoots to kill.
At the top of the galactic pecking order is the United Free, a civilization of awe-inspiring technological prowess so far in advance of other space-faring powers as to seem untouchable gods. Most of the known universe has fallen under their inscrutable sway. The rest is squabbled over by two empires: one ruled with an iron fist by OctoV, a tyrant who appears to his followers as a teenage boy but is in reality something very different, the other administered by the Uplifted, bizarre machinelike intelligences, and their no-longer-quite-human servants, cyborgs known as the Enlightened.
Sven Tveskoeg, an ex-sergeant demoted for insubordination and sentenced to death, is a vicious killer with a stubborn streak of loyalty. Sven possesses a fierce if untutored intelligence and a genetic makeup that is 98.2 percent human and 1.8 percent . . . something else. Perhaps that something else explains how quickly he heals from even the worst injuries or how he can communicate telepathically with the ferox, fearsome alien savages whose natural fighting abilities regularly outperform the advanced technology of their human enemies. Perhaps it is these unique abilities that bring Sven to the attention of OctoV.
Drafted into the Death's Head, the elite enforcers of OctoV's imperial will, Sven is given a new lease on life. Armed with a SIG diabolo-an intelligent gun-and an illegal symbiont called a kyp, Sven is sent to afaraway planet, the latest battleground between the Uplifted and OctoV. There he finds himself in the midst of a military disaster, one that will take all his courage-and all his firepower-to survive.
But an even deadlier struggle is taking place, a struggle that will draw the attention of the United Free. Sven knows he is a pawn, and pawns have a bad habit of being sacrificed.
But Sven is nobody's sacrifice. And even a pawn can checkmate a king.
From the Hardcover edition.
Fueled with high-octane testosterone and noteworthy for a kill rate more customary in computer games than in works of literature, David Gunns novels take no prisoners and make no apologies. Like war itself, they are raw and violent, horrifying yet mysteriously moving. These qualities also characterize Gunns hero and narrator, Lt. Sven Tveskoeg, a killing machine whose DNA marks him as less-or perhaps more-than human. Whatever he is, he is always as enthralling as he is lethal.
Sven has survived everything a hostile universe can throw at him. But hed be the first to admit that it isnt smarts that have kept him alive for so long. And its not luck, either. Because luck wouldnt have seen him plucked out of obscurity to serve in the army of Emperor OctoV, a machine-human hybrid who appears to be a teenage boy but is actually immeasurably older. Maybe Sven has survived out of sheer orneriness-although his artificially intelligent, unmistakably sarcastic, and more or less sociopathic sidearm might argue otherwise-but Sven isnt one to ponder such questions.
In Day of the Damned, Sven and his band of misfit auxiliaries have arrived at Farlight, capital of the Octavian Empire, for a little well-earned rest and relaxation. Sven visits his old friends Debro and Anton, whom he liberated from the prison planet of Paradise, and their teenage daughter Aptitude, whose husband he assassinated and who now has a major crush on him.
But what begins as a respite quickly turns into a bloodbath as civil war erupts. And behind the double crosses and Byzantine betrayals threatening to topple OctoV from the throne he has held for thousands of years are the United Free, a galaxy-spanning empire with the technology of gods and the morals of schoolchildren.
As usual, big trouble seems to be following Sven. Which is all right with him. He isnt that fond of vacations, anyway.
The third installment in the Death's Head military science fiction series, charting the adventures of Sven Tveskoeg and his band of the baddest military enforcers in the universe
David Gunn returns with his compulsively readable military science fiction series, continuing a story that has the scope of a Philip K. Dick novel-turned movie adaptation--think Bladerunner, Total Recall, Minority Report, or A Scanner Darkly. Death's Head: Day of the Damned is action-packed, with high-tech weaponry, violence, great set pieces, a compellingly conflicted hero, and a Star Wars-like evil empire.
About the Author
Smartly dressed, resourceful, and discreet, David Gunn has undertaken assignments in Central America, the Middle East, and Russia (among numerous other places). Coming from a service family, he is happiest when on the move and tends not to stay in one town or city for very long. The author of Deaths Head and Deaths Head: Maximum Offense, Gunn lives in the United Kingdom.
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