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Patrick Hennesy (also known by his wife's family name, Carrera), a retired soldier, has his family taken from him in a terrorist attack on the building they were visiting. This, to Patrick, cannot stand. Using the money bequeathed to him by another relative also killed in the attack, he builds an army to gain vengeance on the organization that made the attack.Only there are more enemies awaiting him than he's aware of...Books in the series:
A Desert Called Peace (September 2007)
Carnifex (November 2007)
The Lotus Eaters (April 2010)
The Amazon Legion (April 2011)
Come and Take Them (November 2013)
The Rods and the Axe (July 2014)
Also known as the Legion Del Cid series, or by the title of its first book (used by The Other Wiki)
This Series uses the following tropes:
Ace Pilot: Absent for the first 4 four books; the Legion's air force is oriented towards transport and close air support, and deliberately discourages prima donnas and pampered pilots.
Aristocrats Are Evil: The holder of the title of Marchioness of Amnesty (as in Amnesty International) at the beginning of the series is very much in the "evil" category. The original Marquis of Amnestynote who basically bought the title and position with gold from Terra Nova, paid by Carrera's ancestor to buy arms to fight the proto-United Earth forces and the two marchionesses who have been shown to hold the title prior to Captain Wallenstein being made Marchioness of Amnesty in The Lotus Eaters resemble the stereotypical depiction of the Marquis de Sade.
Ate His Gun: In A Desert Called Peace, one of the Sumeri soldiers guarding Hill 1647 used his rifle to redecorate the back of his skull, in the continual artillery bombardment of the hill by the Legion.
Author Filibuster: the first three books end with a long afterward as Kratman elaborates on themes contained therein. Averted in the afterward for Amazon Legions.
Author Tract: The series is basically how Kratman thinks the War on Terror should be fought.
Bad Dreams: Carrera is plagued by these, both over the murder of his family and, later, his nuking a city to get the family of the leader of the terrorists he was fighting in the first half of the series.
Tadeo Kurita, in Carnifex, is over 90 years old, but still as ready to fight for the Dos Lindas, losing his life in the process.
Mr. Nguyen, who helps the titular characters of The Amazon Legion in their guerrilla warfare campaign against the invaders, even though he's probablynote his age is never really specified well into his seventies by that point.
Badass Preacher: The Mullah of Pumbadeta, who swims across a river to bring intel to Sada's forces and identify rebel leaders against the Salafi Ikhwan.
Battle Couple: The Amazon Legion invokes this intentionally with the Tercio Gorgidas, a tercio (roughly equivalent of a regiment) comprised of homosexual male pairs who are married in a special ceremony, with an explicit nod given to the historical Sacred Band of Thebes.
Bigger Stick: Played with: Carrera and the Legion's command would like bigger sticks, but financial constraints force compromises. Examples:
Unable to afford the Zioni Chariot, the Legion settles for the Jaguar, a rebuilt Volgan White Eagle tank, which is generally inferior to most of the current generation main battle tanks; the Legion compromises by focusing on tactics that exploit the Jaguar's strengths.
The F-26 rifle is generally held to be the superior rifle on the planet, but it took six-odd years before the Legion was able to afford development and is still one of the most expensive rifles ever.
The Legion's fleet, while nonetheless capable of landing assault forces and suppressing piracy, cannot stand in the line of battle against a modern fleet.
Bilingual Backfire: In A Desert Called Peace, when the main protagonist is drowning his sorrows over the wife and children killed in a terrorist attack, he demonstrates to a woman insulting him in Spanish that he, too, speaks the language in spite of a conversation with the woman's friend being in English.
Averted by the Legion, which prefers to keep decorations and medals lower key in comparison to other armies.
Played straight by Gallic General Janier's Custom Uniform, which is a reproduction of Napoleon's uniform.
Book Ends: Almost; the opening scene of A Desert Called Peace is the start of the denouement in Carnifex.
Born in the Wrong Century: Tauran Union General Janier believes himself to have been born centuries late, and that he really belonged in the 19th century serving with Napoleon. He even goes as far as to have a custom recreation of the uniform of a Marshal in Napoleon's army that he often wears.
Cool Tank: The Volgan White Eagle, renamed Jaguar in Legion service. Colonel Sitnikov's sales pitch in A Desert Called Peace makes it sound like it's the greatest tank in the world; Carrera doesn't believe half of it, but the important thing is that the new tankers believe, for self confidence.
General Janier's reproduction of Napoleon's uniform.
The kilts worn by Tercio Amazonas; it's mentioned that Carrera went to Secordia to personally find a custom tartan pattern that wasn't in use for them.
Christianity Is Catholic: Balboa, for the most part. Amazon Legions mentions that the Church was not happy about the formation of Tercio Gorgidas and Tercio Amazonas.
Defeat Means Friendship: Adnan Sada and the Salah al-Din Brigade, which fought hard and well against the Legion, before being forced to surrender. Carrera recruits him to his cause; later, when Sada becomes President of Sumer, he returns the favor, sending the Salah al-Din to Pashtia to help the Legion. The Lotus Eaters also implies that he'll be sending troops defend Balboa from the Tauran Union invasion.
In The Lotus Eaters, Legate Pigna gets wadded up paper thrown in his face and yelled at by Carrera, who was angry about how bureaucratized the Legion was getting in the year after his Heroic BSOD. The response? Plot with the enemy to overthrow the government.
Carrera's nuking the city to get at the family of the terrorist organization's leader. In Carnifex it was shown that his people could get at the family members with more selective means of killing.
Distracted by the Sexy: In A Desert Called Peace, the sight of Carrera's first wife, Linda, passing by causes a car accident and a man walking with his wife to accidentally walk into a lamp post.
In A Desert Called Peace, the continual artillery bombardment of a Sumeri Army position by the Legion eventually drove a soldier to eat his gun.
An interlude in The Lotus Eaters tells of the High Admiral in command of the United Earth Peace Fleet around Terra Nova blowing his brains out after ordering the nuclear bombing of two Federated States cities in response to such weapons being employed against Yamato in the Great Global War, unable to get the images of FS victims out of his mind.
EMP: EMP bombs using conventional explosives to create the pulse are deployed by the legion several times to knock out enemy electronics, particularly their communications.
Eye Scream: In the course of escaping the men sent to capture Carrera, in The Lotus Eaters, his wife tricks one of them into position to use a letter opener to kill him, stabbing the intruder through the eye.
Using Volgan troops in FSC Army battledress, the Legion launches one, correctly judging that the FSC will take the blame and credit.
Several progressives that are actively aiding terrorists are murdered by a special unit recruited from the surrendered Salah al-Din Brigade. It's made to look as if the terrorists themselves were committing the crimes, to discourage progressives from helping the terrorists by playing "hostage" for the sake of getting paid ransom money that went to the Salafi Ikhwan's coffers.
Fantasy Counterpart Culture: In broad strokes, the nations of Terra Nova roughly correspond to Earth. There's another version of the first novel without the science fiction setting and explicitly set in these locations. For example:
Balboa is Panama
The Federated States of Columbia is the United States of America.
Secordia is Canada.
The Tauran Union is the European Union, further divided:
Anglia is England.
Castile is Spain.
The Republic of Gaul is France.
Tuscany is Italy.
Haarlem is the Netherlands.
Cienfuegos is Cuba.
Cochin is Vietnam.
Zhong Guo is China.
The Volgan Republic, formerly the Volgan Empire, is Russia.
Zion is Israel.
Santander is Columbia.
La Plata is Argentina.
Xamar is Somalia.
Yamato is Japan.
A Father to His Men: Common among many officers and Centurions; notable examples are Sergeant Major Martinez and Centurion Garcia.
Four-Star Badass: Both Parilla and Carrera, until the former retires to run for President.
Feudal Future: The UN, after becoming a true world government for Earth, has over the centuries become this, with hereditary positions and a rather explicit caste system.
Fictional Document: The first three books have their chapters interposed with various fictional documents to build the setting.
Framing the Guilty Party: At the climax of Carnifex, Carrera invades Mustafa's fortress in Kashmir, ostensibly in pursuit of a nuclear weapon. Carrera is prepared to plant one of the Sumeri nukes recovered by the Legion in Sumer, ten years prior.
Handicapped Badass: Jorge Mendoza, a tank driver, is blinded and loses his legs during A Desert Called Peace. In Carnifex, despite being blind, he stands with Cruz's reserve maniple as they face down a gang of street toughs.
Heel-Face Turn: First, Sada and his men, though they were more Worthy Opponent figures. Secondly, Esteban, a guerrilla who surrenders to Cruz and later winds up as a Legion enlistee.
Heroic BSOD: At the end of Carnifex, Carrera collapses and slips into one of these both from the fatigue built up over the course of a long and hard campaign and the fact that he nuked a city.
Hot Sub-on-Sub Action: A submarine battle occurs in The Lotus Eaters between a Gallic SSN and a Legion SSK. It ends up in a draw; the Legion sub kills the Gallic sub after being fired upon, but is brought down by a massed salvo of torpedoes from 4 Gallic frigates.
Honor Before Reason: When the Gauls prepare a power grab in Balboa, Carrera makes his intentions to destroy all Tauran Union forces in Pashtia clear. In a conversation with the Tuscan commander, the latter admits that he has no hope of winning against the Balboans, is desperately hoping to avoid combat, but is still willing to fight the Balboans and die because "Mine is an honorable country."
Human Popsicle: Colonists to Terra Nova were kept in cryogenics to cut down on consumables needed for the trip between the rift and the home planets of either star system, and make them easier to handle, particularly those who weren't making the trip voluntarily.
Insistent Terminology: The Lotus Eaters: in the Republic of Gaul's navy, "There is 'My God' and 'My ass', but there is no mon capitaine."note "My captain", in case anyone was uncertain.
Invisible Aliens: The "Noahs" are only known of indirectly because of a few found artifacts and their molding of Terra Nova into its present state, which includes species from Earth's distant past and some plants that were apparently genetically engineered to prevent the rise of intelligent life on the planet by being poisonous to creatures with greater mental capacity.
Ironic Echo: In Carnifex, High Admiral Robinson's message recommending that Captain Wallenstein not be elevated to Class One, which she read when he went to sleep without having closed down his computer, described her as being "adequate, but no more than that" as an officer. Later, after Robinson has been captured by Carerra, Carerra allows the High Admiral to talk to Captain Wallenstein on their comm link. Robinson begs her to do anything to get him free, she shuts him down, asking why she would do that for "an adequate officer, but no more than that".
Kid with the Leash: Linda, Carrera's first wife, is explicitly stated as the only thing that reins in his darker tendencies. Cue Linda's death at the hand of terrorists...
Kid Hero: Hamilcar, Carrera's son, during his time in Pashtia.
The Laws and Customs of War: Given Kratman is both a former military officer and is trained to be a lawyer, these come up fairly frequently, often addressing misconceptions regarding the actual laws of war. Those who follow them, like Sada and the Salah al-Din Brigade, get treated decently, in accordance with the Laws of War. Those who don't, like the Salafi Ikhwan... don't.
Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Alena, a Pashtun girl introduced in '"Carnifex'', is described as a witch who can see the future. Nobody - including herself - is quite sure whether she's just really smart and intuitive, or an actual seer.
Messianic Archetype: Hamilcar is viewed as this by a tribe of Pashtun. He and his father disagree, but he's already fulfilled 5 out of 7 signs...
Punctuated Pounding: Marta Bugatti, to a panicking civilian in a bomb shelter they were occupying:
No One Could Survive That: Cruz sets up an ambush on a guerilla camp with claymore mines and machine guns. When the smoke clears, he's surprised to find himself face to face with a surrendering guerrilla, the sole survivor.
Old Master: Tadao Kurita again. His skill is acknowledged by the FS Navy, and his account of the war is on Ham's required reading list.
Oh, Crap: Happens multiple times throughout the series. Highlights include:
Cruz's reaction to grenade training.
Fosa realising that the merchant vessel he's escorting has been converted to a kamikaze ship aimed right at him.
Janier realising that his plans are falling to pieces.
When the Legion is first established, they hire a regiment of Volgan paratroopers as a mercenary opposing force cadre. Ten years later, by time of The Lotus Eaters, said regiment is now the 22nd Parachute Tercio of the Legion del Cid.
In The Lotus Eaters, Rocaberti hires several contractors for a hit on Carrera, which fails.
Ramming Always Works: Islamic terrorists attempt to ram the Legion carrier Dos Lindas, but instead get intercepted by the Heroic Sacrifice of one of the gunboats escorting it, that rammed the kamikaze cargo freighter before it could deliver its explosive cargo.
Recycled In Space: Terra Nova in the 25th century is much like Earth in the 21st century, alongside with the nations of Earth. There is a version of the novel Kratman had available for a time via his website and the Baen boards with the entire plot set in the aftermath of 9/11.
Sadistic Choice: Carrera offers Mustafa the possibility of him sparing Mustafa's family in exchange for destroying the Ka'aba. Mustafa chooses to save his family, but Carrera nukes them anyway, to make a point to Mustafa that his faith was a lie.
Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: How Carrera solves the problems of Tercio Gorgidas and Tercio Amazonas: while the Senate won't fund the formation of a regiment of gays and a regiment of women, Carrera still has enough of his own fortune to fund the setup of both regiments.
Secret Test of Character: In A Desert Called Peace, in reaction to a surprise attack by the Sumeri army, Manuel Rocabertinote nephew of the President of Balboa at the time runs away in fear from the unit he was supposed to lead. When the fight is over he's brought before Dux Parilla and Carrera. Parilla asks what to do with a Private from Rocaberti's century that had ran away in the attack. Assuming that the Private was the only other survivor, Rocaberti says to execute the Private, in order to conceal his own cowardice. Parilla was actually giving Rocaberti one last chance to admit he ran away. Having failed the test, Rocaberti himself was executed for cowardice in the face of the enemy.
Shame If Something Happened: Carrera's Legion uses this trope to threaten journalists, guerrillas, and suspected supporters of guerrillas.
Early in the first book, Carrera is mentioned to be translating a novel by an author known to those in the setting's time only as "RAH" into Spanish. From Carnifex onwards, Tropas del Espacio is required reading throughout the legion.
And then Jorge and Marqueli Mendoza write the text for the History and Moral Philosophy course that Franco teaches and Maria attends, in Amazon Legions.
The encyclopedia of choice referred to in the fictional documents is published by Baen Books.
Side Bet: When setting up a base in Yezidistan for the Sumer campaign in A Desert Called Peace, a bet is made between an officer there and Sergeant Major McNamara that Carrera would reject the double-wide mobile home set up as his quarters in favor of a regular tent. Carrera pretended to not notice the 50 drachma note being handed to McNamara to pay the wager.
Smug Snake: General Janier, the Gallic officer who plans the TU-backed coup against Carrera.
The Spartan Way: Carrera's Legion is trained with extremely brutal, casualty-ridden methods; one estimate puts his Legion as having lost 1.5% of his total force before they even see combat through deliberately dangerous training methods, such as having recruits "cook" live grenades, dragging targets in power boats for live live-fire training exercises with tanks, and using cheap mortar ammunition that falls short and kills recruits. In all fairness, the mortar ammo was bought at a very good price, and all affected stocks were immediately removed for inspection.
Taking You with Me: Hunted by four Gallic frigates, the Captain of a Legion sub decides to invoke this.
"Friends, we're dead. But we're going to sell ourselves dear."
The Aesopis that torture works if you're both clever enough and ruthless enough about it.
Both subverted and played straight throughout the series. In Carnifex, a corrupt UN-Earth Admiral makes it clear that under torture a man will say anything. However, the terrorist chief who has captured him reminds him that this includes the truth, and that if he lies, they will continue to torture him until he speaks honestly.
In A Desert Called Peace, the Legion tricks an Amnesty Interplanetary investigator into taping them brutally interrogating several prisoners with mock hangings and blow torches, then storming into her press conference to reveal that everyone in her tape was actually a Legionary soldier and the whole thing was one big set up.
At the same time, the said Legion operates a shipnote reported, in an off-hand mental comment in The Lotus Eaters, as having been sunk once its purpose was fulfilled where captured Terrorists are subjected to horrific procedures, from dental drilling, to finger breaking, to sex change operations over a period of months to get them to give information. It is mentioned repeatedly that they verify all the information gained with that other prisoners and from intercepted messages. If the captured terrorists are found to be lying their parents are brought in.
To the Pain: Newly captured prisoners that are brought to Fernandez for interrogation aboard the Legion's torture ship are given a guided tour of the various rooms, with explicit descriptions on tortures carried out in each room. Many of those brought in who say they won't talk under any circumstances don't need more than taking the tour to make them change their mind and decide to cooperate. One tour shown to the reader doesn't even finish before the previously defiant prisoner decides to spill what he knows.
Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: Carrera isn't quite ugly, but both his wives are hot. Also, Sergeant Major MacNamara and Miss Balboa, Artemensia Jimenez.
Virtual Training Simulation: In The Lotus Eaters, Admiral Wallenstein uses a VR training station to get the Earl of Care up to speed on commanding a starship, as Wallenstein's promotion just before the Earl was put under her left the UEPF ship she was previously commanding without a CO.