If you’re expecting a wild action tale or remake of Red Dawn with this book, you’d be mistaken. On the other hand, you won’t be disappointed with what you find. While the story centers on an ex-super duper soldier accidentally building a resistance movement against invading Chinese troops, they spend surprisingly little time actually fighting and a lot more giving speeches.
The focus here is less on the war and more on the private emotional journeys the hero and his sidekicks take from mild-mannered civilians to merciless guerrillas. A string of betrayals and self-created disasters then keep the pressure ramped up and the fun going. You feel throughout that the guerrillas and the US in general would handily when the war, if they could only get out of their own way. The real enemy the good guys always struggle with isn’t a foreign army, but themselves and their own self-destructive tendencies.
Unlike most of these WW3 tales, the author gives and maintains a clear and coherent strategic narrative. Personally, I found the details of the broader war extremely far-fetched, but at least having a clear understanding of the “big picture” made for a more interesting read. While there are a number of technical errors with weapons and tactics, the author’s skilled handling of his complicated and self-destructive hero and well-fleshed out supporting cast overshadows such details.
Overall, the prose and style reads more like a screenplay than most novels. That’s neither good nor bad, but merely a taste preference. While I can’t give this 5 stars because of so many events and decisions stretching the realm of believability, there’s no denying that the story is pretty unique. All in all, a fun read that’s worth the time, even if it is not the most thought provoking.
(review of free book)