School of Fire (Starfist, Book 2)

3.87 avg rating
( 906 ratings by Goodreads )
 
9780345406231: School of Fire (Starfist, Book 2)

Combat, betrayal, and murder at the edge of human space . . .

Deployed to assist the oligarchs of Wanderjahr in putting down a rebellion that threatens the planet's political and economic stability, the Marines must fight two wars at the same time . . . one against the resourceful, well-led guerrillas and another with the entrenched police bureaucracy.

But who is the real enemy and who can be trusted? On Wanderjahr, nothing is as it seems--not even the animal life--and everyone has his own agenda. Inexorably, the Marines of the 34th FIST are drawn deeper and deeper into the politics of a world where murder, terror, and betrayal are the accepted methods of government . . . and everyone is ripe for an old-fashioned butt-kickin'.

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

About the Author:

David Sherman is a former United States Marine and the author of eight previously published novels about Marines in Vietnam, where he served as an infantryman and as a member of a Combined Action Platoon. He is an alumnus of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and worked as a sculptor for many years before turning to writing.  Along the way he has held a variety of jobs, mostly supervisory and managerial. Today he is a full-time writer. He lives in Philadelphia.

Dan Cragg enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1958 and retired with the rank of sergeant major twenty-two years later. During his Army service, Mr. Cragg served more than eleven years in overseas stations, five and a half of them in Vietnam. He is the author of Inside the VC and NVA (with Michael Lee Lanning), Top Sergeant (with William G. Bainbridge), and a Vietnam War novel, The Soldier's Prize. In real life Mr. Cragg is an analyst for the Defense Department. He and his wife, Sunny, live in Virginia, where honest citizens are allowed to pack heat. Visitors after dark are strongly urged to call ahead.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Thorsfinni's World is a water world studded with islands small and large. High in its northern hemisphere floats Niflheim, an island approximately the size and shape of the Scandinavian peninsula on Old Earth. Niflheim is the center of Thorsfinni's World's Viking-based civilization and home to better than three-quarters of its population. In northern Niflheim the summer temperature rarely broaches 25 degrees on the Celsius scale, its winter temperatures often reaching that degree on the minus side of the scale. Niflheim is a wet place, rainy when the temperature is warm enough for liquid precipitation, snowy the rest of the year. And all of Thorsfinni's World smells of fish.

Niflheim. Outpost of Human Space. Home of the 34th Fleet Initial Strike Team, Confederation Marine Corps. When the Marines of 34th FIST weren't off on a campaign on some other world, they spent most of their time in the field, either on Niflheim or one of the other islands, training for operations they might not ever be called upon to execute. Even if they trained for something they would never have to do, their commanders felt the most important thing was that they trained.

"So that's what we're going to be doing for the next two or three days," Ensign vanden Hoyt said at the conclusion of his briefing to the men of the third platoon, Company L, 34th FIST. A wry smile crossed his
lips and he added, "Or what you'll be doing, I should say. Any questions? Problems?" He peered carefully through the steady rain in the direction of the men--his men, his first command. All he could make out were their indistinct faces through what looked like undulating sheets of water. Their heads seemed to hover in the air. Ten years in the Corps and he was still sometimes startled by the illusions created by chameleon field uniforms.

There were no questions and only one problem, but it wasn't voiced. Lance Corporal "Hammer" Schultz caught the eye of the platoon sergeant, Charlie Bass, and shook his head slightly. Bass replied with an almost imperceptible head bob. The problem was dealt with.

"All right, then," vanden Hoyt said when nobody spoke up, "Staff Sergeant Bass will make the assignments. Then you can get back under shelter until it's time for you to go back into the rain." He stepped aside to let Bass take front and center.

"First squad," Bass said without preamble, wanting to get out of the rain as badly as anyone else in the platoon, maybe more so. Twenty-odd years as a Marine had taught him when being uncomfortable was good, and when it wasn't. "Chan, I'm sticking you with MacIlargie and Godenov, so you also get Schultz. Go someplace and dry off," he said, glancing at the low, dark sky, which showed no sign of breaking, and shook his head. "Or at least get out from underwater until you get your assignment. Van Impe, you have Lonsdorf. You also get Neru and Clarke from guns..."

Chan and his three men didn't hear the rest of the assignments. As soon as their names were called, Chan gathered his men and they slogged through churning mud for shelter.

"You should be in charge here," Chan said to Lance Corporal Schultz. "You're senior to me, and you've got a lot more experience."

Schultz grunted. He didn't want to be in charge. He was exactly what he wanted to be, a lance corporal, a man not in command in any way. His function in life, as he saw it, was to be a fighter, not a leader. The Confederation Marine Corps was filled with men well-qualified to be officers and noncommissioned officers, more than there were slots to fill. Schultz was an excellent fighter; so far as the Corps was concerned, he could remain a lance corporal until he retired, if that's what he wanted.

Shelter was a low tent made from three polymer sheets stretched over a framework of strong synthetic rods. The four Marines had to crouch to get
inside, and almost had to huddle together for all of them to fit. Chan turned on the radiant heating unit that sat in the center of the tent while Schultz secured the entrance. Wind buffeted the tent and the rain drummed on it, making conversation difficult--but at least they had a chance to dry out. The four sat cross-legged around the heater and in minutes their fronts were dried. Then they turned around. Their backs weren't quite dry when the flap opened and Charlie Bass crowded in, extending his open arms toward the heater as he moaned with pleasure.

"There used to be a disease called rheumatoid arthritis," he said. "Cold and wet made your joints swell up and hurt. If bioengineering hadn't
eradicated it, I'd probably have it and be aching in every joint in my body," he twisted his back to ease rain- and wind-stiffened muscles,
"instead of just feeling like I've been turned into a piece of soggy wood." The others chuckled at his joke.

"All right," Bass said, abruptly all business. "Mike Company's making a sweep. Third platoon's going to stop them. Here's your part of it ..."

This phase of the two-week exercise was a three-way force-on-force for the three companies of the FIST's infantry battalion, with the other units of
the FIST in support of all three companies. Kilo and Mike Companies were acting as complete units in opposition to each other. Company L was
playing an irregular force, broken down into four-man teams that would act in opposition to Kilo and Mike. Commander Van Winkle, the battalion's
commanding officer, wanted to test the junior men, so the officers and NCOs of Company L were acting as umpires, and each four-man team was
headed by a lance corporal.

A Dragon, the Marines' ubiquitous amphibious armored vehicle, dropped off Chan and his team twenty-five kilometers northeast of the company's
bivouac area. In addition to their weapons and simulators, they carried light packs with little more than two days of rations. Due to vagaries of local weather conditions, the sun was shining brightly where the Dragon dropped them off and the rocky ground underfoot was dry; it hadn't even rained overnight there. The team was in a clearing in the midst of sparse vegetation that grew to twice the height of a man. The main plants in the area resembled Earth scrub-pine trees.

Chan checked the time. "We don't know how long it'll be before somebody gets here," he said, "or if it's going to be a platoon or a whole company or anything else. We need to find a position where we can watch all approaches from under cover." He scanned the area as he spoke, orienting himself, looking for recognizable landmarks, building a mental map of the unfamiliar scene.

Nothing that resembled grass grew on the rocks under the pine tree look-alikes, just a spotty coating of pale green, lichenlike stuff. Spindly plants whose stems didn't look strong enough to hold themselves upright grew from cracks in the forest floor. Flitterers that could have been butterflylike birds, or birdlike butterflies, flew from tree to tree. Smaller buzzers that could easily have been mistaken for Earth insects by anyone but an entomologist zigged and zagged their way among the lower flora of the forest, stopping here and there to absorb whatever passed for nectar on Thorsfinni's World.

Chan looked to Schultz for help.

Schultz merely shrugged and said, "You're in charge," which was no help at all.

This wasn't realistic, Chan thought. Irregulars should know the area
they were in, and he'd never been there before. Maps didn't tell you what
was really there. After a moment, he said, "That tor over there," pointing
toward a low hill barely visible through the trees to the northwest. "That
seems to be the highest ground around. That's probably our best starting
place. If nothing else, we can take a look around from there." He looked
at his men as he talked. Schultz was walking slowly--almost
invisibly--about, examining the terrain with the eye of an experienced
infantryman. Godenov was listening intently. MacIlargie had a quizzical
expression on his face and didn't seem to be paying any attention. He had
the kind of face that should have been framed by long, tangled hair, and a
mustache with ends that drooped to below his chin wouldn't have seemed out
of place--but Marine regulations required short hair and forbade mustaches
that long.

"Are you listening to me, MacIlargie?" Chan snapped.

"What's that smell?" MacIlargie asked.

Taken aback by the unexpected question, Chan sniffed. He hadn't
noticed any aroma that might indicate danger. "What smell?" he asked. "I
don't smell anything."

Godenov, a big young man, deceptively soft-looking, took a deep
breath. He didn't smell anything either.

Schultz seemed to pay no attention to the exchange--he knew what
MacIlargie noticed and that it was irrelevant.

"That's what I mean," MacIlargie said. "Something's missing." His face
lit up with a broad smile as he realized what it was. "Okay, now we see
how sharp you are. What's missing? If you can't tell that, you're not
going to be very good on patrols when we go on operations for real." He
grinned at the others.

Godenov got it first. "The air doesn't smell like fish!"

"Izzy, if I was in charge, I'd make you my second in command,"
MacIlargie exclaimed. "You get out here in the toolies, you gotta be
sharp, and you're the only one who figured that out."

Chan simply looked at MacIlargie's grinning face, hovering in the
middle of the clearing like the last glimpse of a Cheshire cat.
MacIlargie, like Godenov, was on his first assignment after Boot Camp.
Both had recently joined the platoon as replacements for men lost on the
FIST's last operation, peacekeeping on Elneal. Chan himself had been on
four combat operations, including one with the 34th FIST. Schultz was more
experienced than he was.

MacIlargie staggered, then almost fell, and yelped. Schultz, in his
deceptively casual, almost invisible way, had come near and hit him with
an elbow--hard. Schultz's disembodied voice mumbled something that might
have been an apology but probably wasn't.

MacIlargie recovered his balance and spun toward where he thought
Schultz was. For a second it seemed he'd attack Schultz if he could find
him. But only for a second. He remembered what Schultz looked like when he
was visible--Schultz moved languidly and seldom had much to say, but he
exuded a dangerous self-confidence that gave strong men pause.

Chan spoke up: "We're going to that hill. MacIlargie, take point.
Godenov, bring up the rear. Now. Move it out."

Schultz gave Chan a look that said, I should have the point. Chan said
again, "MacIlargie, move out." Then he added to Schultz, "This is
training. He needs the experience."

Schultz nodded, satisfied that Chan understood that if it had been a
real operation, he was the one who would take the most dangerous and
important spot in the patrol column.

The tor was closer than it had looked. It was a broad, low platform of
limestone, forced upward in terraces by an up-welling of magma deep below
the surface. Scree dotted the ground at the foot of the tor's steep side.

MacIlargie stopped at the foot of the hill and looked back at Chan,
uncertain what to do next.

Schultz brushed past both of them and started climbing the eight-meter
cliff to the first terrace.

Chan looked back and saw Godenov's face hovering as he stood watching.

"Watch our rear, Godenov," Chan said. "That's the rear point's job:
watch the rear."

Godenov started. "Oh." He turned around and dropped to one knee to
peer into the thin trees behind them.

Even though he could barely make out where Godenov was, Chan saw that
he wasn't in position to effectively watch the rear. He shook his head and
wondered what they were teaching recruits in Boot Camp these days. Surely
he'd been better than that at field craft when he went on his first
assignment. He briefly considered taking the time to show the young man
how to pick a better position, but instead said to MacIlargie, "Follow the
man."

Schultz's climbing noises indicated he was already over the top of the
first terrace. Chan flipped down his infras so he could watch his men.
When MacIlargie was halfway up the first terrace, Chan sent Godenov after
him. He then gave the trees near the base of the hill a quick once-over.
When his infras didn't show anything man-size in them, he followed.

The higher terraces and slopes were older than those below. As the
Marines climbed, it became easier because the increased erosion made the
slopes gentler. Here and there crevasses and cave mouths dimpled the tor.

Once, when they were close to each other, Schultz said to Chan, "I
know this place. If we have to, we can hide."

It didn't take long to approach the top. "Off the hori-zon, people,"
Chan said when he saw two man-size pillars of rock above. He was crouched
below the top, as he knew Schultz was.

One of the rock pillars rippled, and MacIlargie's face appeared above
it. "What do you mean?" he asked. "We're wearing chameleons, nobody can
see us."

"Chameleons pick up the nearest colors," Chan said, "not what's behind
you. You look like a man-made pile of stone up there."

Rocks seemed to shift as MacIlargie shrugged. "A man-size pile of rock
doesn't have to be a man, it's just a pile of rocks."

Chan flipped down his infras. "These tell me you're a man, not a pile
of rock," he said. "Off the top of the hill."

MacIlargie snorted. "You've got to be less than a kilometer away for
infras to show enough detail."

"Hoppers have infras that can pick out a man as far as the horizon.
Get down." Godenov had already dropped down to the military crest of the
hill.

MacIlargie's face disappeared and his rock pile rippled as he turned
in a circle. "I don't see any hoppers out there," he said as his face
reappeared.

"You don't know anything about evasive flying, do you?"

MacIlargie yelped and his face dropped through the space that no
longer looked like a man-size pile of rocks. Then his shocked, frightened
face skittered down from the top of the hill and came to rest next to Chan.

Schultz's voice came from MacIlargie's other side. "That's how you get
someone too dumb to live to do what you tell him to. Either that or blast
him." He had slithered unseen to the top and knocked MacIlargie's feet
from underneath him, then dragged him down.

"Hey, don't do that!" MacIlargie shouted, and swung a fist at Schultz,
but the other man had already moved away.

"Calm down, MacIlargie," Chan said, putting a restraining hand on the
new man. "When Marines don't follow orders, somebody can get hurt. On a
real operation, not following orders can get Marines killed."

"No need to knock me down like that," MacIlargie muttered. "You want
me to do something, all you got to do is say so."

"What do you think I was doing?" he snapped. Chan shook his head, then
switched his attention back to the mission. "Everybody, four corners. Use
your infras, use your magnifiers, use your bare eyes. And listen. Mike
Company, or part of Mike Company, is out there somewhere. We damn well
better spot them before they spot us. Schultz, far side. MacIlargie,
right, Godenov, left side. Do it now." Through his infras he watched his
men moving away. He'd give them a minute or two to get into position, then
go around and check them. Especially the new me...

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

Top Search Results from the AbeBooks Marketplace

1.

Sherman, David; Cragg, Dan
Published by Del Rey (1998)
ISBN 10: 0345406230 ISBN 13: 9780345406231
New Mass Market Paperback Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
eBooksNorthshore
(Mandeville, LA, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Del Rey, 1998. Mass Market Paperback. Book Condition: New. Free Upgrade to Expedited 1st Class shipping for standard cost. Excellent MM PB Edition: Very light age toning inside covers and pages; INTERIOR: NO page markings, Very Clean, Tight. COVER: NO spine creases. Most 1st Class arrive 2-6 business days. Most intl. arrives 4-10 business days. Choose Expedited for faster delivery. Bookseller Inventory # 924000033

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 2.64
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 3.99
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

2.

David Sherman
Published by Random House USA Inc, United States (1998)
ISBN 10: 0345406230 ISBN 13: 9780345406231
New Paperback Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
The Book Depository US
(London, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Random House USA Inc, United States, 1998. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reissue. Language: English . Brand New Book. Combat, betrayal, and murder at the edge of human space . . . Deployed to assist the oligarchs of Wanderjahr in putting down a rebellion that threatens the planet s political and economic stability, the Marines must fight two wars at the same time . . . one against the resourceful, well-led guerrillas and another with the entrenched police bureaucracy.But who is the real enemy and who can be trusted? On Wanderjahr, nothing is as it seems--not even the animal life--and everyone has his own agenda. Inexorably, the Marines of the 34th FIST are drawn deeper and deeper into the politics of a world where murder, terror, and betrayal are the accepted methods of government . . . and everyone is ripe for an old-fashioned butt-kickin . Bookseller Inventory # AAS9780345406231

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 7.01
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

3.

Sherman, David
ISBN 10: 0345406230 ISBN 13: 9780345406231
New Quantity Available: > 20
Seller:
Paperbackshop-US
(Wood Dale, IL, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description 1998. PAP. Book Condition: New. New Book. Shipped from US within 10 to 14 business days. Established seller since 2000. Bookseller Inventory # VR-9780345406231

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 3.76
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 3.99
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

4.

Sherman, David, and Cragg, Dan
Published by Del Rey Books (1998)
ISBN 10: 0345406230 ISBN 13: 9780345406231
New Mass-market paperback Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
MVE Inc
(Hickory, NC, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Del Rey Books, 1998. Mass-market paperback. Book Condition: New. Mass market (rack) paperback. Glued binding. 352 p. Starfist (Paperback), 2. Audience: General/trade. Bookseller Inventory # Alibris_0003123

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 3.89
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 3.99
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

5.

SHERMAN, DAVID
Published by Penguin Random House
ISBN 10: 0345406230 ISBN 13: 9780345406231
New Quantity Available: > 20
Seller:
INDOO
(Avenel, NJ, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Penguin Random House. Book Condition: New. Brand New. Bookseller Inventory # 0345406230

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 4.65
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 3.50
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

6.

David Sherman
Published by Random House USA Inc, United States (1998)
ISBN 10: 0345406230 ISBN 13: 9780345406231
New Paperback Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
The Book Depository
(London, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Random House USA Inc, United States, 1998. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reissue. Language: English . Brand New Book. Combat, betrayal, and murder at the edge of human space . . . Deployed to assist the oligarchs of Wanderjahr in putting down a rebellion that threatens the planet s political and economic stability, the Marines must fight two wars at the same time . . . one against the resourceful, well-led guerrillas and another with the entrenched police bureaucracy.But who is the real enemy and who can be trusted? On Wanderjahr, nothing is as it seems--not even the animal life--and everyone has his own agenda. Inexorably, the Marines of the 34th FIST are drawn deeper and deeper into the politics of a world where murder, terror, and betrayal are the accepted methods of government . . . and everyone is ripe for an old-fashioned butt-kickin . Bookseller Inventory # AAS9780345406231

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 8.44
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

7.

David Sherman
Published by Random House USA Inc, United States (1998)
ISBN 10: 0345406230 ISBN 13: 9780345406231
New Paperback Quantity Available: 10
Seller:
Book Depository hard to find
(London, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Random House USA Inc, United States, 1998. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reissue. Language: English . This book usually ship within 10-15 business days and we will endeavor to dispatch orders quicker than this where possible. Brand New Book. Combat, betrayal, and murder at the edge of human space . . . Deployed to assist the oligarchs of Wanderjahr in putting down a rebellion that threatens the planet s political and economic stability, the Marines must fight two wars at the same time . . . one against the resourceful, well-led guerrillas and another with the entrenched police bureaucracy.But who is the real enemy and who can be trusted? On Wanderjahr, nothing is as it seems--not even the animal life--and everyone has his own agenda. Inexorably, the Marines of the 34th FIST are drawn deeper and deeper into the politics of a world where murder, terror, and betrayal are the accepted methods of government . . . and everyone is ripe for an old-fashioned butt-kickin . Bookseller Inventory # BTE9780345406231

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 8.73
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

8.

David Sherman; Dan Cragg
ISBN 10: 0345406230 ISBN 13: 9780345406231
New Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Omega Books and More Inc.
(Springdale, AR, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Book Condition: New. FAST shipping, FREE tracking, and GREAT customer service! We also offer International and EXPEDITED shipping options. Bookseller Inventory # 3D79XG001G92

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 4.74
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 3.99
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

9.

Sherman, David; Cragg, Dan
Published by Del Rey
ISBN 10: 0345406230 ISBN 13: 9780345406231
New MASS MARKET PAPERBACK Quantity Available: > 20
Seller:
Mediaoutlet12345
(Springfield, VA, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Del Rey. MASS MARKET PAPERBACK. Book Condition: New. 0345406230 *BRAND NEW* Ships Same Day or Next!. Bookseller Inventory # SWATI2122547036

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 6.86
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 3.99
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

10.

David Sherman; Dan Cragg
Published by Starfist (Paperback) (1998)
ISBN 10: 0345406230 ISBN 13: 9780345406231
New Softcover Quantity Available: 5
Seller:
Rating
[?]

Book Description Starfist (Paperback), 1998. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # TV9780345406231

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 8.01
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 3.52
From Germany to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

There are more copies of this book

View all search results for this book