Scout’s Honor #1 – by Henry Vogel
I am a huge fan of the Saturday morning cliffhanger. Terrific stories that are told without the unnecessary anguished that fill so many tales today. Just hair-raising escapes, spectacular battles, perilous chases, and diabolical plots for world conquest or greater that makes you excited for the next installment. Which is why I thoroughly enjoyed Henry Vogel’s – Scouts Honor.
There is no time wasted as the story’s hero, David Rice, a scout for the Terran Exploration Corps, as his spaceship is shifted off course, and crash-lands on a strange new planet. With little time to organize, the story propels Rice into a blood-and-guts battle with evil blue-skinned humanoids. There is no rest for our hero, now marooned on a world of medieval weapons, Machiavellian plots, pirates in steam-powered airships, and a beautiful raven-haired Princess.
Vogel has written Scout’s Honor in short chapters that burst forth with energy that carries the reader forward at a break-neck pace. Before you know it, you are thirty-four chapters in, and you cannot believe everything that has happened that far. It is almost impossible not to want the read the entire book in one sitting. (I was so impressed by the style that I recommended it to a young writer in our local Writer’s Club. She was looking for a bold, exciting way to tell her story, and I felt this could inspire her.)
Things do slow down slightly as the story evolves, but not much. There is no brooding over past mistakes or errors in judgment; instead, Scout’s Honor follows Elmore Leonard’s rule of writing and “leaves out the parts that readers tend to skip.” The story never drags, as Vogel knows how to keep things moving.
Scout’s Honor, is the first in a series of adventures, that are promoted as reminiscent of the late Edgar Rice Burroughs’s planetary romances on Mars and Venus. As a fan of both of those series, I can say there is some similarity, but our hero not is purely flesh-and-blood, not enhanced by his environment but through high-tech implants. An idea I found interesting, but unsettling at the same time. I cannot explain why, but it was the only part of the book I did not care for.
I heartily recommend Scout’s Honor. It is a fun, guilt-free adventure, with no hidden agenda, other than to give you a thrill-packed Saturday read.