Children No More (Jon & Lobo 4) by Mark L. van Name [Book Review]

Children No More is more than another fast paced action novel with Jon, the nano enhanced mercenary and his genius level sidekick assault vessel Lobo. It is also a strong argument against the use of child-soldiers in wars.

Rebels and equally dubious government officials are willing to use children as soldiers in their war and Jon and Lobo are hired to free the child-soldiers during an interstellar inspection when they are all hidden away in a secluded rebel base. They are hired by a group of former mercenary colleges lead by Alissa Lim for the attack so their job is done when the camp is secured and the government troops deployed around the camp for protection while Alissa’s group starts to rehabilitate the children, but Jon stays on deeply affected by the situation which is lucky since the government on this banana republic planet is about as trustworthy as far as you can throw their fat behinds.

Maggie Park the woman Jon once thought was the love of his life is funding Alissa’s group. She represents The Children of Pinkelponker and their interest is to save one particular kid in the group but we are never told who. But she is not the only old friend that returns. Jon also hires Slanted Jack to help with the government official. It is quite a spectacular con job that they use to defuse the situation.

Jon remembers his life on Pinkelponker after his sister was taken away and he was dumped on an island with other failed mutations. He is turned into a young killer much like children in the camp by Benny the camp leader. That’s why he can relate so well to the children. It affects him deeply emotionally and it is great character development.

Jon’s relation both with Lobo and Maggie Park is well developed and presented. I feel a deeper connection with the characters in this book than in previous books. In many ways it is a more ‘mature’ story and not only because of the subject matter.

Children should be allowed to be children and never have to fight in war but if they do ‘it is not their fault’ is the message of this heedful novel. I thought it was great because of the message and because of the character development. We learn how Jon become the man he is today something I wanted to know since book one. Children No More gets a warm recommendation; it is both good action and a good deed.


Title: Children No More
Series: Jon & Lobo 4
Author: Mark L. van Name
Genre: Military Science Fiction
Paperback: 400
Publisher: Baen 2010
Copy: Bought from Amazon

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No child should ever be a soldier.

Jon Moore knew that better than most, having learned to fight to survive before he’d hit puberty. So when a former comrade, Alissa Lim, asks for his help in rescuing a group of children pressed into service by rebels on a planet no one cares to save, he agrees. Only later does he realize he’s signed up to do far more than he’d ever imagined.

Jon’s commitment hurtles him and Lobo, the hyper-intelligent assault vehicle who is his only real friend, into confrontations with the horrors the children have experienced and with a dark chapter from his past. The mission grows ever more complicated as they deal with:

  • An assault on a rebel fortress deep in the jungle
  • A government whose full agenda is never clear
  • A woman Jon once loved and who still loves him–but who will sacrifice anything for her cause
  • The best con man they’ve ever known
  • And, toughest of all, their own demons, as we learn for the first time what happened after his home planet’s government yanked Jon’s sister out of his life

Jon and Lobo rush straight into the darkness at the heart of humanity to save a group of child soldiers—and then face an even tougher challenge:

When we’ve trained our children to kill, what do we do with them when the fighting is over?

Because the plight of these children is so near to the author, he is donating 100% of his hardback proceeds (including his advance) to a non-profit that helps to reintegrate children soldiers in the Congo. For every hardback book that sells, Falling Whistles will get a donation from the author. ( For more details, please see

The Jon & Lobo Series

1. One Jump Ahead
2. Slanted Jack
3. Overthrowing Heaven