Soldier of the Legion — Book One
A rough truce divides the known galaxy between the System, the despotic slave empire that rules the inner systems, and the Confederation of Free Worlds, claiming the awesome infinity of the Outvac frontier. When Squad Beta of the ConFree Legion drops onto the primitive world of Andrion 2 to counter a mysterious System incursion, they know the Systies are out there somewhere, armored DefCorps soldiers waiting to slice them to bloody bits in a microfrac. The young Legion trooper Thinker (Beta Three) vows that this will never happen on his watch. It soon becomes chillingly clear that Beta is facing more than Systies. The ultimate Evil is awaiting them all, writhing in the shadows, merciless and all-powerful, and humanity itself is poised on the brink of extinction.
As he travels further into the dark Thinker finds both love and death, and realizes that the Legion has always been his destiny. He is torn between his desire for the violently possessive Valkyrie and the sweet innocent Priestess. The squad is soon seeking its fate in a series of suicidal attacks on hostile planets against an enemy that has never known defeat. Beta One says they are going to change history, but Thinker doesn't care about history. He cares only about Beta and his closest comrades. As the dead begin to outnumber the living he vows ruthless vengeance against his enemies. He knows the stakes are a lot higher than his immediate survival — and that Beta Three is not just along for the ride.
The ConFree Legion offers both immortality and death to the young and foolish. Thinker doesn't mind — all he wants is to see the future. As a soldier of the Legion he knows his fate is to die under strange stars, for the Legion. He is determined to survive as long as possible and to go out with a very high body count. Beta Three is a fatalist, a dreamer, a believer. He doesn't know what the future holds — but he knows he will be facing his enemies when he dies.
Soldier of the Legion is the first book of a six part series that follows Thinker's adventures in the service of the people of ConFree. Other titles in the series include March of the Legion, Slave of the Legion, Secret of the Legion, Cross of the Legion, and Curse of the Legion.
Soldier of the Legion — Audiobook
The audiobook for Soldier of the Legion, Book One, is now available for your listening pleasure. Just click in the box below. This will bring you to the first episode of 44 parts. If you wish to go on to the second and subsequent episodes, just click the link to the audiobook.
The entire unabridged nine hours of recording is available free for listening. Please see the unsolicited review comments below from a reader who enjoyed the audiobook experience. Should you wish to purchase or download the audiobook, see the Purchase page of this website.
Soldier of the Legion — Reviews
July 2014 - The unabridged, full-cast audiobook version of Soldier of the Legion (Book One) was an impressive achievement on many levels. A listener recently contacted the author to give his impression of the audio and I thought his comments were so illuminating that I asked and received his permission to quote from his email. The following is from Konstantin Stoyanov, who enjoyed the audio:
"I listened to your book Soldier of the Legion a couple of months ago, on an impulsive urge to try something new, and I thought it is an absolutely fantastic book. I loved the universe you have created and the distinct characters you have portrayed. I am a big sci-fan in all of its forms but I have to say that the Audio book being in a performance form made my hair stand almost all the time while I was listening.
I have to say I have listened to ridiculous amounts of audio books while driving for 3 hours every day in heavy traffic with nothing better to do but there are only two books I have listened with such intensity that I could feel shivers travel through my body as if I am experiencing the fictional reality myself. So far I have listened to the performance of Soldier of the Legion three times, and every time it has the same effect on me as if it was the first time, incredible connection with the action, palpable feeling that I am experiencing firsthand what is going on — it is absolutely astounding.
I am not sure how the audio version of the book was created but the producer and cast that gave it life in my humble opinion are meant to be doing this. I was amazed at the amazing attention to detail throughout the whole production, sure the big bangs and explosions were nice and the shooting sound effects were excellent but I wanted to to share my awe of the little things:
- The barely audible noise of a space ship engine that could be heard throughout the whole hull of the space craft while a dialogue is being carried inside or the protagonist thinks to himself.
- The subtle environmental noises that can be heard throughout every moment of the book.
- The fit of the voice performing the character where I feel that the actor or actress sounds exactly as how I would imagine the fictional character would sound in real life based on her description. The intonation and inflexion subtleties executed flawlessly by the cast was astounding.
- The clever use of simulated environments (e.g., suit radio transmissions, etc.), which add another level to my experience.
All of these little details, chapter after chapter, immersed me deeper and deeper into the experience of your book up to the point where I found myself subconsciously chanting the legion's prayer as they are about to go into battle. I have the urge to listen to the book again just thinking about it. It is an absolutely fantastic feat of creativity and quality."
January 2014 - The plan to make Soldier of the Legion into a movie has failed. My Hollywood producer ran into problems and cannot continue with the effort. Please see the News section for more info.
Soldier of the Legion was a Finalist for the 2003 Benjamin Franklin Award in the “Popular Fiction” category.
Soldier of the Legion was a Finalist for the 2002 ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year Award in two categories: Science Fiction and Audio Fiction.
The unabridged full-cast audio version of Soldier of the Legion is regularly broadcast nationally on Sirius XM Radio. Sirius XM Book Radio can be heard on Channel 163.
"The genre of military fiction took off after the publication of Robert Heinlein's Starship Troopers in 1959. Now Marshall Thomas enters the field with an exciting new series that gives an homage to the old classic... The narrator is “Thinker,” otherwise known as Beta Three — a member of the Beta team of the Legion. He no longer has a civilian name, or a past. Having survived their basic training on Planet Hell, we join him on his squad's Final Problem, a 'live-fire' exercise to rescue slave women from their pirate captors... From there, it's (almost) non-stop action all the way... The soldiers of Beta Team are likable and sympathetic, their problems are vast, and this is a welcome entry in the military SF genre." — Review by Barbara Peterson for The Thunder Child, Vol I, issue 10, October 2006
"Marshall Thomas' Soldier of the Legion is set in a far future where the known galaxy enjoys an uneasy truce between the System, the inner core slaver empire, and the Confederation of Free Worlds. Protecting the interests of ConFree is the Legion, a professional military corps that gives its soldiers very cool hardware and the best available biotechnology... Thomas' Legion universe is richly imagined... The depth of this detailed background gives the universe that so very important "lived in" feel... The influence (of Robert Heinlein's Starship Troopers) is clearly visible in Soldier of the Legion, but Thomas has a better grasp of character... Soldier of the Legion has a ton of action, interesting plot twists, and a rigorously detailed story line and background. The characters are memorable, and the series shows great promise of good things to come." — Review by Timothy Doyle for BookThink #51, September 2005
"Soldier of the Legion draws on a rich tradition of military science fiction — from Heinlein to Haldeman to Epic Comics' Alien Legion... Thomas has put a lot of consideration into the technology, weaponry, and tactics of his futuristic Legion and it pays off in what is an epic testosterone-driven military adventure." — Review from the Nth Degree, the Fiction and Fandom 'Zine, September 2004
"Take an immortal and put him into an armor suit that can withstand all but the most brutal of attacks, arm him with weapons capable of firing anything from lasers to miniature nuclear explosives, and you have a Legion trooper. This book follows Beta Squad, a whole group of these intergalactic butt-kickers, through adventures that would cause all but the most stalwart to wilt... There is a lot to like about this book. The gadgets and technobabble abound, but thankfully it goes farther than that. Thomas has created quite an interesting culture in the Legion. They aren't just mindless soldiers... Four stars." — Review by Scott Roche for the Joe Bob Report
"A sergeant's yell, "Do you want to live forever," has a different meaning to a Soldier of the Legion (trade from Timberwolf Press) since Legion soldiers will live forever if they don't die in battle. Marshall S. Thomas tells an exciting tale of a platoon, trained together, from the time they graduate by attacking a slave ship. Thinker is a great character and he and his team mates have a lot of enthusiasm saving natives from imported aliens and attacking their enemies base across a sea of lava. This is a great first novel, with a well-thought-out background and neat technological war toys. I look forward to their next battle." — Henry L Lazarus, sciencefiction.com, Philadelphia Weekly
"Timberwolf Press does another fine job... Timberwolf Press uses a wealth of actors in their audiobooks, with 22 getting credit on Soldier of the Legion. Their efforts in taking full cast to that depth deserve applause. Keep them coming!" — Jeff Davis, audiobookstoday.com
"Exciting read... Heart pounding action. Mind blowing battles... Adrenalin pumping encounters with alien life... futuristic sci-fi masterpiece... Marshall Thomas should soon be a major name in futuristic sci-fi. I enthusiastically recommend this book." — Laurel Johnson, Midwest Book Review
"...a deep, rich story that captures the heart of sci-fi... a perfect story... captivating... moving. I highly recommend SOLDIER OF THE LEGION, one the best books I've read this year!" — Nancy Mehl, myshelf.com
"[audio]...superbly written, presented and performed science fiction action/adventure audiobook thriller...enthusiastically recommended." — Midwest Book Review
Professor Ron Crombie of the California Academy of Science and the Bishop Museum in Honolulu spends most of his time in the back of beyond catching lizards and frogs on obscure Pacific islands. He recently found time to read Soldier of the Legion and forwarded his comments. Thanks, Prof! Incidentally, Dr. Crombie is an Indiana Jones type, except he's not afraid of snakes. He loves them.
"Your book... was a splendid read... I read most of it on an uninhabited little islet, where I was stuck for 10 days while a wicked ... tropical low pressure area was hammering us, and small craft warnings kept my pickup boat safely in port. Everything was SOAKED (including me), except your book, which I kept in my one functional Ziploc baggie, tucked away in a Japanese tunnel/bunker complex in the one area that didn’t leak. Reading at night by headlamp, with the restless souls of dead WW II Japanese soldiers peering over my shoulder probably heightened your plot-line, but it was a rollicking good read anyway, hated to reach the last page. Good news that another is on the way." — Review by Dr. Ronald Crombie, December 20, 2006