Book Review: Gun Runner

“What’s cool?”

The genesis of Gun Runner, by Larry Correia and John Brown, begins with that question. They insist that they asked it throughout the creation of this novel, and it shows. This might not be the ripest or highest-hanging fruit on their literary trees, but it certainly is cool.

Set in a future where humanity is spreading out amongst the stars, the story follows Jackson Rook and the crew of the Tar Heel, a space freighter. Operating a bit outside the law, the crew of Captain Holloway have made careers out of supplying people with the things that they need, no matter how the tyrants who rule the universe may forbid it, and making a nice profit off of their efforts. Foremost among their merchandise are various armaments, including mech suits, especially one of the latest and greatest models which they… liberated… from its original owner. They are quite happy with the job they do and the payment they receive, until a series of unexpected events force Jackson to realize that their current customer is as evil as they come, in the face of which, he and his people have got to do something about it. They have a code of honor, after all, and having inadvertently broken it, they seek to repair it, and to keep the people they care about alive, even if it means letting go of their dreams and confronting their personal demons to do so.

The characters, of course, are easy to love, even if we only get to know most of them on a superficial level. Whether they’re heroes haunted by a horrific past, thieves who have a sense of honor, loyal warriors and comrades of deadly skill, strong, beautiful women of intelligence and power, or desperate freedom fighters who have to be willing to do anything in order to survive, these people are believable and likable. Even the villains of the story have a savage charisma to them, a set of mannerisms which allow them to present a civilized facade to others while shrouding the vile monsters within their mad, deranged minds.

It’s a pretty simple story, really, with a basic plot and clear heroes and villains, though the former are human enough to not always know the latter the moment they see them. And really, it’s not complexity which sells this story, it’s the thrills. Space, mecha, monsters, pirates, adorable little murder machines, lots and lots of explosions… if this was a movie, it would be a summer blockbuster.

And it is oh so refreshing to see a story that not only states how wrong it is to deprive people of the means to defend themselves, in any way and to any degree, but also treat the subject in a balanced way. I imagine many people who think guns are bad would be outraged by this book, if they even bother to pick it up, but it also points out that one must be careful who one does business with, or there will be a certain measure of responsibility to be borne. To be merchants of weapons does not require one to be merchants of death.

There is a very clear and obvious setup for a sequel, involving the awful past catching up to one of everyone’s favorite members of the crew. This might be one of the simpler, more straightforward works I’ve read from Correia, but you better believe I’d be interested in said sequel! 🙂

It’s exciting, it’s thrilling, and it’s cool: Gun Runner in a nutshell.

Rating: 8 stars out of 10.

Grade: B-Plus.

This entry was posted in Books, Tuesday Review and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s