I started this series in the wrong direction by listening to the final volume first (one of the problems in belonging to an audio club and having to list alternates). The story centers around the third heir to the throne of Earth. He is a young, spoiled, miscreant who was sent to an out-of-the-way part of the Empire by his mother the current ruler. While on the trip, forces on Earth stage a coup and take over control of the government. Roger’s starship is destroyed and he and the marine detachment that is guarding him are forced down on a backwater planet. The story revolves around the struggle of this group to get to a spaceport on the planet and back to Earth to save the Empire.
The series would be good background for a series of science fantasy games. By that I mean that there is technology in the book that may or may not be possible scientifically. The marines have access to high-tech weapons but limited ammunition supplies. The natives have numbers and some very talented warriors but not much in the way of technology. The marines, therefore, have to downscale back to the gunpowder age and bring the natives up to this level. A number of the technological items are pretty clever – translation devices, nannites that can transform local flora and fauna into substances that the human body can use, and so on. There are also a number of large battle sequences on Marduk (the planet), Earth, and in the space around Earth.
It’s a good book and a good series. Four books was too long, however, and it could have been successfully done in two. It’s a good set to listen to while painting, but probably not fast moving enough to listen to in the car.