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To Die A Hero (An Orion Federation series novella) by Jack Heape

The action was fast and furious, and I could feel the adrenaline rush and chaos of the scenes. 

To Die A Hero is the story of the first days of Federation Navy pilot, Ensign Caroline “CJ” Jacquier, during her assignment to a Falcon squadron aboard the Federation space vessel, Essex. However, this almost “Day in the Life” style story occurs just as the Federation launches a counter-operation to halt a rebellion led by a group known as the “Jacks” on the planet Lille. 

CJ is a confident and straightforward character, and with good reason. Although new to the pilot ranks, she’s a six-year military veteran, having worked up to her new position. I appreciated the firsthand look into her backstory that added extra dimensions to her character (i.e., not having the full support of her family.) CJ immediately begins building trust and rapport with her crewmates. She determines the preferences of her supervisor to better fulfill her role as a team member. I especially liked how she is always mindful of the rest of her crew and their needs, drawing on her years of experience being in their shoes. It is poignant meeting her squadron mates, knowing that this is a time of war, and all these young men and women are headed for an uncertain future. 

This author does a superior job of placing the reader on location with his characters, subtly informing us about terminology and acronyms, staffing structure, and routines along the way. This is especially helpful to readers lacking familiarity in this area. 

The action sequences came fast and furiously, and I could feel the adrenaline rush and chaos of the scenes. The moments when there’s not enough information coming in are frightening yet exhilarating when the crew members perform as they’ve been trained, even while functioning in the blind. 

CJ’s story is set in the world author Jack Heape has built for his excellent Orion Federation series, and I recommend TO DIE A HERO to fans of the series and military science fiction.

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