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I am looking for a book that I would have read about 17 years ago (not sure how old it was by that point). Would have been published prior to 2002 I believe.

The book begins with the main character being some sort of farmer or tradesman who is very strong. His dad is sick and he is bringing him to a hospital (carrying him actually, recurring mentions of how strong this guy is) but when he arrives the dad dies or is already dead. In his grief he accidentally kills someone or is framed (can't remember that part well) and is shipped to a prison planet along with other folks.

I believe everybody was cryogenically frozen but I can't be sure on that. The ship crash lands along the way, on a dangerous planet with dangerous fauna. He bands together with his fellow prisoners to fight both the creatures/fauna and other inmates. One inmate was genetically- or cybernetically-engineered and is super dangerous. He beats him because he was strong.

Forces are sent to kill the crash landed inmates and they overpower them, and possibly return to Earth to start some sort of revolution. I think the forces had some gnarly fire guns or plasma rifles of some sort. I remember thinking they were excessively powerful.

I believe this is actually a series and not just a single book. If I remember right it had pretty neat cover art. The main character also may have gotten romantic with the main girl in the story too. The beginning antagonist in the story which was the dangerous genetically engineered guy was also covered in tattoos I think. I also think they eventually reconciled when they had a common enemy which was the Earth armed forces. I might be thinking of a different book but I believe when the earth forces first landed they used a weapon called a "sun gun" that vaporized people and was rather destructive.

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I think I may have found my own answer after years of searching and reading forums and every possible thing I could think of to search for and finally posting here. I believe the book is called the Exiles of Colsec (1984) by Douglas Hill.

When a space craft carrying twelve youthful offenders, who have in someway rebelled against the Earth's harshly authoritarian society, crash lands on an alien planet, the six survivors must contend with the planet's hostile life forms.

Description from Goodreads

Part of the Colsec series. I just ordered them so if this is not the answer I will update but it all looks very familiar.

Reminds me of Dune a bit from the monster standpoint.

Front Cover

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  • Don't forget you can self-accept 48 hours after asking (which you're well outside that window). ^_^ Congrats!
    – FuzzyBoots
    Nov 27, 2019 at 19:33
  • The google books preview shows enough to verify a dozen people in suspension being transported, the memory of carrying the uncle, the crash that kills half of them...
    – DavidW
    Nov 27, 2019 at 19:37
  • Yea very stoked right now. It has been bothering me for years and years not remembering the name of that book. Looks like it happened to quite a few other people. Finally found it after searching for just "sun gun book" instead of the other details. The synopsis online doesn't include enough detail to ever be found apparently. Thanks!!!
    – Password01
    Nov 27, 2019 at 19:39
  • "The fall that had injured the uncle-and the young dreamer slinging the huge groaning body over his powerful shoulders and walking forty kilometers to the nearest civilized place of streets and houses, to seek help. Help that was refused, because the young one had none of the necessary stuff called money. Then the death of the beloved uncle, in raging agony, and the red fury that bloomed within the young man, amid grief and loss and thunderous hate. That fury had set out to smash the clinic that turned the dying uncle away..."
    – DavidW
    Nov 27, 2019 at 19:43
  • I've flagged the question as a duplicate of the previous question; we don't normally edit those links into the answer. (Note to reviewers, this is a self-answer so we can assume acceptance.)
    – DavidW
    Nov 27, 2019 at 19:46

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