Paladin 052 titles in series
Steel Apocalypse Publisher's Summary
A fight to the death.
Once every 10 years, mech pilots gather together with their armored UHAAVs in an invitation-only contest known as the Steel Apocalypse to find out who’s the best in the galaxy. The winner earns fame and honor along with enough wealth to keep them in the lap of luxury for the rest of their life.
When a down-on-his-luck 22-year-old mech pilot known as Jake Striker is given the opportunity to participate in the tournament, he jumps at the chance. Loading up his obsolete, 55-year-old, five-meter-high, Paladin model mech onto a star freighter, he heads to the neutral zone to make his fortune. He soon finds out nothing is as it seems as government operatives attempt to use him for their own nefarious reasons.
The odds of coming out of the tournament alive grow ever smaller as obstacle after obstacle is put in his way. Fortunately for Jake, his Paladin 05 is equipped with a prototype AI called Maggie that may well be the best the technicians in the Intergalactic Empire ever developed. With the help of Maggie and friends he finds along the way, Jake begins to hope he can remain alive long enough to see which mech pilot will indeed be crowned the best of the best. But then, again...nothing is ever as it seems.