by M. C. Muhlenkamp
M. C. Muhlenkamp has created a series of stories featuring strong, compelling characters. Markram Battles: Genesis of an Uprising (Part 1) introduces us to an alien race of humans with supernatural powers who have taken over earth. They capture and train females to fight to the death so they can battle each other in an arena just for the amusement of the masses.
There are three stories, each told by from a different character’s point of view.
In Broken, the Commander does his best to convince the Major General that his unit leaders are ready pick their fighters. The Major General is cold and brutal. She demands that every unit leader be broken “until there is nothing left in them but hatred and blood thirst.” Her motto is “Courage in battle and honor in death.” They all seem to be compliant, except for the one identified as Seven. He is a fighter, but doesn’t let the battle own him.
We learn more about Seven in Rise of a Warrior. Seven is the best of the Commander’s unit leaders. He has picked thirteen women to train as fighters One woman, known as Thirteen, is rebellious. She refuses to fight and is beaten by Seven. He eventually convinces her that she can control her destiny by seizing “your opponent’s weaknesses and exploit them.”
Thirteen enters the arena in Sands of Glory. Seven gives his team instructions on how to get ready for to battle the Kiveras. He tells them “Courage in battle and honor … in life” instead of honor in death. Thirteen interprets this to mean she should defy his orders and fight as she sees fit – to control her destiny.
The author paints a stark picture of Earth that is overtaken by aliens whose only pleasure is to see teams of women battle each other to the death. The color of the cover is a good representation of how I imagined everything and everyone appeared – black and white (except for Thirteen’s red hair).
I definitely recommend this book. Each story is enjoyable by itself and they all tie together nicely if you read them in order. I’m looking to the next book in the Markram Battles series.