Man o' War

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( 68 ratings by Goodreads )
 
9780441004546: Man o' War

In retaliation for stepping on some high-ranking toes, maverick career diplomat Benton Hawkes finds himself posted to Mars, where slavelike living conditions, unfulfilled promises, and discontent have brought the planet to a state of open revolt. Reprint. PW. "

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From Kirkus Reviews:

First of a new cycle from the author of the interminable Tek series, this set in the mid-21st century and featuring grumpy fiftysomething career diplomat Benton Hawkes. Having annoyed his politico bosses, Hawkes is coerced into accepting the governorship of Mars, where a giant problem is looming: The red planet is a huge factory churning out essential food and goods for Earth's desperate billions, but the Martian workers are kept in virtual slavery. Hawkes finds himself in deep trouble before he leaves Earth, what with the bomb under his car and then a military assault on his mountain farmstead; the bad guys even shoot his dog. But several assassination attempts later, he arrives on Mars with his aide, Dina Martel (but can he trust her?) and orders the quarrelling factions to the negotiating table. Surprisingly, both workers and management agree on what needs to be done. So who's scheming to disrupt the talks? Who wants Hawkes dead? It will be obvious to readers--though sadly not to the characters themselves--that Red Planet, Inc., and the Earth League have vested interests in maintaining the status quo. Hawkes himself is forceful and appealing if none too bright. As for the rest, Shatner will have to do better than stock situations, hackneyed plotting, and such ludicrous Trekkisms as spaceships with built-in gravity and instantaneous communications between Mars and Earth. -- Copyright ©1996, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

From Booklist:

Whatever future the Tek universe may have, its author now turns his attention to that new hardy perennial subject matter of sf, a human-settled Mars. His new yarn inaugurates a projected series featuring diplomat Benton Hawkes, who begins the book appalled at the prospect of becoming governor of Mars. He is yet more appalled at the number of attempts on his life that promptly ensue, leading to some extremely well done action scenes. In spite of the best efforts of unknown enemies, he reaches Mars, and with his female assistant, Dina Martel, exposes the corrupt Earth influences that have the Martian settlers on the verge of blood-red revolution. This a very different sort of book from the Tek tales--more somber in tone, smoother in the reading, largely devoid of satire, and with political and military scenarios developed along classic sf lines. For some readers, it will recall Heinlein's Moon Is a Harsh Mistress (of course, the cat-loving sf community may have problems with the dog-loving protagonist). It is a workmanlike, highly readable tale that will doubtless please Shatner's substantial audience. Roland Green

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