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Reviewed by Scott Cahan for Readers' Favorite
Chevalier: War Horses Book 1 by Scott Warren is the beginning of a new military science fiction series. The weapons of choice in this futuristic world are Upright Battle Tanks, giant fighting machines that walk on mechanical legs and shoot missiles with lethal arms. The men and women inside the uprights are the focus of this story. They are a ragtag group of tough-as-nails jockeys who routinely put their lives in danger to hold back the forces of evil. Rande Vandal, the main character, starts out as a lowly mechanic for the uprights, but ends up being called upon to step into a jockey’s role after a devastating attack from enemy forces. The story follows Vandal as he learns the ropes of piloting the temperamental uprights while also learning the rules of combat. The practice of simulated battles lasts for only a short time before a real live threat appears and suddenly Vandal is thrust into a life and death situation.
Although Chevalier: War Horses is set in the future, the story structure leans heavily on the lingo and tactics of modern-day warfare. One glance at author Scott Warren’s biography confirms he knows his stuff. He uses his extensive military background to give this book a uniquely authentic feel. Even though his characters are sitting in war machines that don’t yet exist, Mr. Warren makes the uprights feel as real as a fighter jet in a Top Gun movie. He uses military phrases, technical specs, and tactical capabilities that will feel very familiar to anyone who has been in the military, or anyone who enjoys reading and watching military dramas. Couple this kind of real-world grounding with a cast of solid characters, and you’ve got an exceptional sci-fi story. If Chevalier is any indication, the War Horses series promises to be a showcase for great storytelling, involving endearing heroes, cool weaponry, and epic battles.