The Merrimack Event Audiobook
By: David A. Tatum
Narrated by: Troy Duran
Published by Tantor Audio 4/03/2018
14 hrs and 30 mins
Shieldclads Series #1
The Merrimack Event Audiobook Sample
The Merrimack Event Audiobook
I picked this one up, eagerly, because I have a thing about military space opera. I thought the setup of a war games for the Space Navy/Marines students turning into an actual war was brilliant.
So, I put in my earbuds and settled in for some rousing good space adventure.
Oh, very nice on that archeological cover up going on out on a distant earth colony planet with…wait for it… Neanderthal remains and mysterious writing on the stones.
Then, the story shifts and introduces the broader world of the book/series. It’s a ways into the future with humans having spread out across systems making colonies and governments of their own with treaties and alliances. Earth still controls some of these and has a thinly-spread military to protect her interests. The main group are Naval academy cadets and the first half of the book follows their time at the academy showing early evidence of their talents and skills that will come into play for what is to come.
The wargames get introduced with active military and cadets getting their assignments. It was interesting to me that part of the cadet assignment is not just getting in their ship and playing war, but they are given old moth-balled ships and have the work of getting them into condition to participate in the war games.
The main cast involved a few older adult military, but hhe younger cadet group were the movers and shakers once the story got going. I liked them and thought there was a nice core group who had their own personalities and skill sets. A by the book and tough as nails female cadet lieutenant who is a strong leader in some ways, a laid back pilot hot shot type lieutenant who is the loyal best friend to our resident genius tactician slash engineering guy who isn’t rogue so much as absent-minded professor with his love of ‘historical’ devices (as in stuff from our present time) and re-engineering a whole space Navy ship. And, in the shadows, another cadet pretender is busy sabotaging and working against everyone from his place within the organization all for his still secret people who plan to declare war on the humans when they are weakest and least see it coming.
I was into this one and enjoying what I saw as set up and foreshadowing for what was to come. I was surprised by the tone that made me think older YA rather than new adult or adult, but the younger crowd, while something of a predictable group and simplistic thinking and actions for who they were portraying (trained military officers) didn’t get into the YA tropes that annoy me so I went with it.
I was okay with the romance though I never really got into it. I did think it was weird that nobody busted them down on it since it was the military and the whole fraternization rules would have applied. Truthfully, the romance wasn’t the interesting part. I preferred seeing them all as friends and fellow cadets working together to beat the odds with their old ship and against a plot against their people.
The intrigue with this hidden race and also the whole wargames prep was my idea of a good time when it came to the action plot. The fact that the hero is too good to be believed- ahem, genius and true blue was actually a plus for me and he was kind of adorable the way he got so involved in his work all for the good of others- or that the villains inside the cadets felt like a YA villain who was a cross between competent and bumbling.
But… yep, there’s a but. After the initial set up, this book just stalled out for the most part. It got bogged down in the minutiae. Interesting though the description of the re-working of the ship was and types of drives and modifications, pair this with endless descriptions of a long string of meetings involving so many different people and I couldn’t stay interested. The meetings could have been distilled into a single paragraph referring back to some or not mentioning others at all rather than detailing them out each and every time. I would have been sleeping if I had not been doing chores or my walks while I was listening. I think there were literally three hours of meetings in a row (not sure how many print chapters that would be). But when I was tempted to click forward, there would come some movement on the part of the hero group or the villains and I was vested enough that I didn’t want to miss it. Happily, I stuck with it and things got down to action.
So, overall, it is one for the enjoyment column. The middle was slow as molasses, but that balances with the beginning and ending. The premise was great and I loved the players. I would definitely like to get more from the series, especially since I suspect that there won’t be as much explanation and build up with all the introductions. It was a decent space opera and I can recommend it.
The Merrimack Event Audiobook Narration
As I noted, I enjoyed an audio version of the book. The narrator was a first for me, Troy Duran. He did a fab job considering I struggled with some of the plot being uninteresting to me. There was a large cast and several groups of people, technical descriptions, action, and more. I felt he enhanced my experience of this book.
David A. Tatum was born in Ithaca, NY, the son of a fashion designer and a book-collecting librarian who later became a spy. By the time he was four years old, he’d mastered how to spell the word “cat,” which made inevitable his decision to become an author.
Moving to Washington DC in order to keep his parents company, he started training in kenpo by the age of seven. Sadly, after failing to achieve his blackbelt despite twenty years of training, he gave up hopes of a career in martial arts and resumed his love of writing.
Troy Duran’s journey to audiobook narration started with radio in 1983. For the first thirty years of his career, Troy was either on the air hosting morning and afternoon drive programs, or behind the scenes producing station promos and commercials.
By 2005, his moonlighting gigs recording commercials for advertising agencies locally and nationally allowed him to become a full-time “voice for hire” out of his home studio. Then came the opportunity to record audiobooks.
Troy has more than thirty titles under his belt so far, from historical fiction and horror to thrillers and romance novels. He lives in St. Charles, Missouri, with his beautiful girlfriend, Sheila; her seventeen-year-old daughter, who tolerates him; his precocious eleven-year-old son; one overweight black Lab, a Corgi with a Napoleon Complex, and the world’s cutest cat. He has two beautiful adult children who already pursue respectable careers in teaching and fine cuisine.