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Last Legionary

The Last Legionary series is a series of five books written by Canadian author Douglas Hill. The books are Young Legionary, Galactic Warlord, Deathwing Over Veynaa, Day of the Starwind and Planet of the Warlord. The series has been described as a simplified version of E. E. Smith‘s Lensman series.[1]

The books tell of the adventures of Keill Randor, the last survivor of his planet, whose inhabitants are annihilated at the beginning of the book Galactic Warlord. Randor’s people were hardened over generations by their inhospitable planet, which (combined with rigorous combat and martial arts training) resulted in them exhibiting speed, reflexes, strength, and fighting abilities all at the very upper limit of human ability and Randor himself is one of the most skilled amongst them, twice winner of the planetwide martial arts contest, a feat bettered by only one other legionary in the history of the contest. The people of Moros acted effectively as mercenaries; however, they also have a strict moral code, and only offer their services to clients fighting in self-defence. After they are all killed by a mysterious villain known only as the Warlord, Randor vows to avenge them.

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A prequel written after the other books in the series, Young Legionary follows Keill Randor through his childhood, from the age of 12 to 18 (within four distinct stories), as he struggles to meet the requirements of becoming a Legionary. The novel also introduces his close friend, Oni Wolda. Each story reinforces the concept that Keill is a highly competent Legionary, and his only shortcoming is his lack of experience.

As the book begins, Keill is the leader of an off-world Strike Team. Far from home his task force receives a distress signal from their home planet Moros, stating that they are under attack from unknown forces. Keill’s ship has suffered damage, and he is unable to immediately return. When he arrives, the entire planet is covered with an unknown type of radiation. He is met by Oni’s ship, and she tells him to flee the planet; a deadly radiation is killing everyone who comes close to the surface. It is an automated message: Oni herself is dead, having stayed on Moros, but sent her ship out to warn Keill. In grief Keill leaves the planet’s orbit. He soon realizes that even at the extreme range he has been exposed to the radiation and is slowly dying.

Keill begins to search for any fellow Legionnaires who may have survived, relying on his extreme physical conditioning and iron will to fight the course of the disease. His search is fruitless, and it appears he truly is the last Legionary. As Keill begins to lose hope, he is contacted by an unknown agency seeking a meeting, but he ignores the contact to pursue some rumours of apparent survivors on a nearby moon. Shortly afterwards, he is gassed inside his ship and rendered unconscious.

Keill wakes as an apparent prisoner, immobilized within what appears to be a medical facility. His extreme physical conditioning allows him to recover quickly, and he discovers that he has been completely healed of his radiation sickness by a strange group known only as The Overseers. This group has a network of satellites that give an overview of all events throughout the galaxy. The Overseers’ leader, Talis, explain to Keill that his home planet was destroyed by a malevolent entity known as ‘The Warlord’ whose sole aim is to spread war through the galaxy, enabling him to rule over the remains that survive. The Warlord moved against the Legions since he perceived them as the greatest threat to his plan. The Overseers also explain that since the radiation sickness had settled into his bones, they were forced to replace his entire skeleton using a new alloy—effectively rendering Keill’s bones unbreakable. They also reveal how they captured Keill so easily—a telepathicavianlife form from another galaxy known only as Glr.

With Glr as his companion, a sceptical Keill moves to meet with the Legionaries he found evidence of. He quickly finds that they are in fact agents of a shadowy force known as the Deathwing, and that everything the Overseers told him was true. With the help of Glr, and his prodigious abilities, Keill manages to defeat them; in doing so he takes on their leader from the Altered Worlds, (Planets where radiation and the environment have created mutations amongst the inhabitants,) Thr’un, a giant of a man who can grow plates of leathery armour from within his body. After eventually killing him, a wounded Keill then agrees to collaborate with his new friends to find and destroy the Warlord.

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