Synopsis (from Goodreads):
Deploying invulnerable twenty-fifth-century soldiers called Skins, Zantiu-Braun’s corporate starships loot entire planets. But as the Skins invade bucolic Thallspring, Z-B’s strategy is about to go awry, all because of: Sgt. Lawrence Newton, a dreamer whose twenty years as a Skin have destroyed his hopes and desires; Denise Ebourn, a school teacher and resistance leader whose guerrilla tactics rival those of Che Guevara and George Washington and Simon Roderick, the director who serves Z-B with a dedication that not even he himself can understand. Grimly determined to steal, or protect, a mysterious treasure, the three players engage in a private war that will explode into unimaginable quests for personal grace…or galactic domination.
If you like space operas this is your story – a clever mix of military sci-fi, politics, moral ambiguity, and a little bit of human drama to bind the whole thing together. It is a long book but, fortunately, a stand-alone, so far so good. What it lacked? Well…perhaps a tad more of dragons? For a book with the word ‘dragon’ in its title it was strange that you meet that creature (and learn about others) only near the very end. It is also strange that the main character, Lawrence Newton, was so exceptionally stupid in so many scenes, especially those concerning his childhood.
The conspicuous lack of female characters was also kind of strange. One of the resistance commanders, Denise, was female (and a kindergarten teacher, imagine that!) but we weren’t shown (or told) a lot about her. In Zantiu-Braun, however, there were no female Skins. None. Other crew and personnel was male, too, and finally it seemed that there is not a single woman in all of Z-B, allegedly the biggest corporation in the world. How was that possible? Thousands upon thousands of squaddies, pilots, technicians, engineers, officers, ancillary personnel, executives, and every single one of them male. Did all the women stayed at home? Or maybe they worked only in schools and such?
I would give a solid recommendation to this one if only not for the lack of females. Meh.