So, over the weekend I finished Marko's excellent follow-up to "Terms of Enlistment," "Lines of Departure." He's got a solid series here, with at least a third novel planned (WRITE FASTER) and who knows how many more coming. We need to encourage this. Nurture it, even.
Often the second novel in a series is considered better than the first. The characters are established, so there's more time to really move a story along. Dramatic elements, plot devices, etc. are introduced rather than the central characters; often they give the author a chance to really stretch their proverbial legs and take the story out for a real run.
"Lines of Departure" is like that, but not completely. It's hard to say that it's "better" than "Terms of Enlistment" - I'd say more that it's awesome in different ways. Marko weaves an intelligent, engaging storyline full of believable, likable characters (and some unlikable ones as well, ones I'm hoping will fall into various meat grinders and warp nacelles in later books...)
If "Terms of Enlistment" set the stage for the confrontation between humanity and their nemesis, "Lines of Departure" continues the narrative. We follow the arcing career of Andrew Grayson through more s**t than should befall a body, although he does seem to go looking for it. Along the way to becoming the premier badass and alien butt-kicker, we learn more about him and his circle.
And aliens. There's aliens in the novel, did I mention that?
If you liked "Terms of Enlistment," then I don't need to sell you on "Lines of Departure." You're familiar with the characters, know the high quality of the writing, and have only not yet read it because of family commitments or perhaps intense hospitalization. If you haven't read "Terms of Enlistment" yet, what are you waiting for? I would recommend reading both in order.
All in all, a powerful sequel for the man from Castle Frostbite.
That is all.