Having read Alpha Mike some months ago I felt I was ready to take on Alpha Mike One 4-6 without dragging too much extra baggage with me. Sequential books can sometimes dull the reader's eye to new approaches and nuances that the author, in this case Bert Marshall, has brought to the table.
I was not surprised to find our protagonist, the now Major David Perkins, living in the lap of relative luxury at Fort Polk, Louisiana, one of the few remaining operational military posts. He and his team, Alpha Mike One are survivors in a Post-Sickness world where approximately 85% of the Earth's population have succumbed to a bio-chemical viral agent gone awry. The Illness has taken down governments, Church and State, military/industrial forces and most of the niceties of Human civilization. Perkins and his Special Forces trained squad of women soldiers are basking in the adulation of other military personnel stationed at Fort Polk, one of a very few military posts in the Eastern half of the former United States of America, when word is received that a renewed assault has been planned for the Gulf Coastal Region. Heading Eastward along with several other Perkins-trained teams they are struck hard by ferocious firefights and then the release of another biological weapon, another viral attack gone out of control. On their own once again with no resources, no communication, no support or back-up of any kind, they invade the Chinese-held urban centers where supplies are more plentiful if not immediately accessible. Having acquired a couple or so strays along the way, they use guerrilla style warfare adapted to inner-city terrain, confiscating goods and weaponry where ever available, a Costco warehouse being one of the largest sources of supply and conflict with the enemy. Nothing is free, it is hard won with the lives of many team members and injuries to David and others. Having taken and reclaimed a National Guard Armory, the team has shelter, protection to a degree and a command center from which to launch attacks on the New Patriots. The next wave of Chinese-led New Patriots arrive, with sniper teams to wipe them out, the most feared and wanted group of Resistance Fighters in New China.
David Perkins remains an unparalleled hero throughout, not quite by accident, but certainly not by charging out to earn medals. He and his extraordinary band of warriors are there to do a job. The job is to locate and save as many true American lives as possible, dealing with invaders, informers and turncoats in a swift and timely fashion, often by explosive means. His female soldiers, military specialists and experts in their own right, have chosen to remain under Perkin's command, certainly by acceptance of his almost instinctual battle tactics, his single-minded loyalty to the people under his direction, and by a type of animal magnetism he seems to exercise over women, ensuring full devotion and vigilance. Just a note here, once again there is a lot of recreational sex, not explicit by any means, it is simply there as a recurrent theme. This novel is not only about the arts of warfare but of intimate encounters as well. In a world where violence and sudden death are a given, some of the horror is mitigated by sexual episodes that serve to lighten the air of a desperate world. David Perkins has become more inwardly drawn, more driven to destroy as many of the New Patriots as possible and has become more human in his short-comings. Although the book has the same rapid pace of Book One, it begins to show more of the mental and emotional processes needed to flesh out a memorable hero and his companions.
As a military action novel, it is without a doubt High Adventure for a reader not willing to become bogged down in endless statistics and explanations. The book is an Adult novel containing violence, sex, unpleasant ways of killing people and is not for the faint-hearted. It is exactly what it claims to be, rapid-fire action. Mr. Marshall has improved and matured in his writing style and his novel is a pleasure to read.
(reviewed 88 days after purchase)