Lt. Mike Brogue is one of a kind: the only native Martian to be a commissioned officer. He's the military's poster boy for relieving political tensions between Mars Colony and Earth---but he wants nothing to do with it. Brogue is just a man trying to do his job as a tactical analyst and prefers to leave the politics to civilians and government subcommittees.
After he manages to save a top Terran official from an extremist plot, however, the only way to avoid the spotlight is to get offplanet. So he pulls some strings and gets shipped to one of the small moons of Mars to help unravel a mystery.
Some people at the research station on Phobos---Mars's smallest moon---have been killed, and it seems like the culprit is a native life form. The first military team sent in quickly discovered just how lethal the Phobos beast could be.
Brogue, however, doesn't focus on the dust clouds and barren rock that compose the beast's lair but rather turns his attention to the high-tech research facility and its crew.
He soon learns that there's no such thing as a safe haven from political upheaval.
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Set on 22nd-century Mars and the larger of its two moons, Phobos, Drago's first novel successfully combines hard science (biotech and nanotech) with military and social SF. The SED corporation, which mines a vital metal christened barsoomium, calls the shots on the colonized Red Planet. When Lieutenant Michael Brogue, the only native Martian colonist in the Peacekeepers, rescues a visiting Terran politician from terrorists, he discovers that no good deed goes unpunished. He gets transferred to Phobos, where he replaces the moon's popular Peacekeeper officer recently killed by a mysterious life form known as the Phobos Beast. He also encounters the formidable Sergeant Choi Min Lau and the equally formidable Wilber Isaacs and his daughter Gabrielle, entrepreneurs running the Agraria research station on Phobos. Tracking down the Phobos Beast tangles Brogue in a web of intrigue involving near-mutiny, kidnapping and murder. After a weak opening (with infelicitous coinages like "Freedomist"), the author hardly sets a foot or a word wrong. This is a strong candidate for the year's best SF debut. (Nov. 17)