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Chimera: A Subterrene War Novel Paperback – 2 Aug 2012

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Product details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Orbit (2 Aug 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0356500438
  • ISBN-13: 978-0356500430
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 2.5 x 20.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 220,724 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Book Description

From a former member of the CIA comes this intelligent, fast and brutal science fiction novel - that breathes life into the soldiers fighting on the front line of our future wars

From the Back Cover

Germlines: genetic soldiers, bred by scientists and indoctrinated by the government - the ultimate in military technology. But when the minds of these genetics start to spoil, they become a major liability. Escaped Germlines need to be cleaned up, and Stan Resnick is the best man for the job. A job that takes him to every dark spot and rat hole he can find.

But now Stan's been recruited to track an even greater threat to the US. Reports have been coming from China and Unified Korea of new biological nightmares: half-human things, bred to live their entire lives encased in powered armor suits.

Fighting to keep himself alive, sober and out of prison, Stan will attempt to capture a genetic - one who can tell them everything they need to know about the Chinese and an even newer menace, the one dubbed "Project Sunshine"...

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Gareth Wilson - Falcata Times Blog TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 2 Aug 2012
Format: Paperback
Having loved the first book in the series, I eagerly awaited the second which, when that cemented my affection for the world that TC created. It's dark, it has quite a few thought provoking concepts and when added to the whole idea of a genetically engineered model solider really made sure that I couldn't get enough.

The writing is straight forward no nonsense with no expense spared on the action sequences with their hard combat and even bloodier consequences. Add to this solid prose and an almost cinematic way with words which when backed with a believable lead protagonist and all in, it's a solid conclusion to this epic series. Great stuff.
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By m. dosa on 8 Feb 2014
Format: Paperback
this is a compact story great settings from madrid to burma .great characters and loads of action the fight scenes are gory ,the genetically/ bio engineered soldiers are scary a lot of claustrophobic action.the man character is nicely portrayed
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The final book of the the subterrene war trilogy and another gritty read. The war in Kazakhstan is over, Stan Resnick a veteren soldier is employed by special operations to hunt and kill escaped germline soldiers and harbours an intense hatred for the non human's.
Margaret is one of the germlines to escape from the war to Thailand, where the spoiling process is reversed and in return she and the other germlines swear allegiance to the king of Thailand.
Margaret is revered by all the germlines as there leader both spiritually and their commander in battle. Stan's mission is to hunt this Germline, he needs to obtain her cooperation in his hunt for Dr. Chen a renegade genetic scientist.
The Thai germlines are engaged in jungle warfare with the Chinese to stop an invasion also dealing with the genetic abominations that the Chinese have produced and Stan has to get in the thick of all the action.
The final jungle setting brings back memories of Hollywood Vietnam movies, coupled with the authors vivid world building and technical advancements makes for another fantastic read.
Stan is another intense character who is so psychologically damaged that he is not safe back in civilian population and realises that he can never return to a 'normal' life, yet one of his primary goals is to secure the future of his wife's son from an affair to give him a life where the choices are his own. His hatred and prejudices at the battlefront are questioned and his own allegiances turn during his confrontation with Magaret and the other germline's - a roller coaster ride of violence and emotions see Stan finally embark on a path more befitting.
A fitting end to the trilogy and I look forward to more from the author, maybe even a welcome return to the subterrene world.
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An excellent read and well worth the purchase.

Great story and full of action and thrills. Real and gritty that encompasses the reality and horror of war.

Cannot recommend enough.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 19 reviews
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
The final novel of The Subterrene War trilogy (4.5 stars) 31 July 2012
By TChris - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The war is over (or so it appears) but Stanley Resnick is still fighting. His job -- the only element of his life that brings him joy -- is to track down and destroy rogue Germlines, the genetically engineered female warriors who have chosen not to meet their scheduled deaths. The Germlines are designed to spoil like rotting meat after two years, but Germlines are starting to appear who, long after their expiration date, show no signs of spoilage. Of course, you know that if you read Germline, the first novel in The Subterrene War trilogy (if you haven't read Germline, you should, both to give context to Chimera and because it is an excellent novel).

Resnick is assigned to track down Margaret, a Germline last seen in Exogene. The hope is that Margaret will lead Resnick to Dr. Chen, who is suspected of deactivating the Germlines' safety protocols, thus granting them continued life. The hitch: Margaret has become a religious icon in Thailand. Together with her protégé Lucy, Margaret lives under the protection of the Thai government, while Catherine (who died in Exogene) has achieved a status akin to sainthood. Resnick undertakes the assignment with the help of Jihoon Kim, a linguist and analyst whose former job involved keeping track of borderline psychopaths like Resnick.

Chimera sharpens the conflict between humans and the Germlines (who consider themselves closer to God than the nonbred) while adding another sort of soldier bred in tanks, this one a creation of the Chinese, an abomination that lives its life within an armored suit, an enemy of humans and Germlines alike. Margaret, in turn, has created a group of followers called the Gra Jaai -- nonbred humans who nonetheless revere Catherine and learn "how to get closer to God through killing." Nothing could be less human than the Chinese genetics, yet Lucy wonders whether they have a soul, while Resnick can't imagine that Lucy has one. As was true of the first two novels, questions of religion and the meaning of life and death pervade the story. Chimera adds a new question: whether humanity (whatever we mean by that term) is really worth fighting for.

T.C. McCarthy is a master of characterization. His readers will not be disappointed by his newest creation. Resnick is so acclimated to combat that crazy is normal. Resnick no longer fits safely within civilian society -- not that American society, with its complete lack of privacy, is a place he really wants to be. Everything is a war to Resnick because war is all he knows. He finds it easy to kill Germlines -- he is, in fact, addicted to it -- and his ever-present anger is easily displaced, making him a threat to pretty much everyone. Still, McCarthy never settles for a simplistic characterization. Resnick is thus torn by conflict: he loves and hates war; he feels the need to protect and to abandon the son he didn't father; his instinct is to kill Margaret yet he questions that desire as he comes to understand her.

McCarthy has given careful thought to the geopolitics of the messed up future he's created. There's sort of an Apocalypse Now/Heart of Darkness feel to the story, with Margaret playing the role of Kurtz, right down to the corpses staked to poles in her jungle compound. The jungle has a life and a madness of its own. As always, McCarthy's combat imagery is vivid. Battle scenes are tense; the combatants' fear is palpable. Throughout the novel, McCarthy's prose is electrically charged.

Each novel in the trilogy has its own strengths. Germline has the most poignant character. Exogene has the best action. Chimera reveals the big picture and raises serious philosophical questions. I'm not sure which of the three I like best (there's plenty of characterization, action, and philosophy in each), although I had the strongest emotional response to Germline. I recommend them all, not just to fans of military science fiction but to any reader who appreciates good storytelling.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
"We Don't Wanna Go Back to Those Days" 18 Sep 2012
By Nickolas X. P. Sharps - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
REVIEW SUMMARY: The Hurt Locker meets Apocalypse Now in a science fiction setting.

MY RATING: Four Stars

BRIEF SYNOPSIS: Stan Resnick is a man at home on the battlefield, a special operative charged with tracking and eliminating rogue super soldiers. Now he has been given his most dangerous mission yet - infiltrating enemy territory and discovering the purpose of Project Sunshine.

PROS: Well developed protagonist, intense and relentless action, and an absorbing near future setting.

CONS: Ancillary characters could use further development.

BOTTOM LINE: McCarthy closes out the Subterrene War trilogy with this largely satisfactory military adventure.

The Subterrene War is over but Stan Resnick's duty is far from done. Resnick is responsible for killing rogue Germline soldiers, a job he has done well for close to two decades now. Aggression is escalating in Asia and another war is right around the corner. The unstoppable juggernaut that is China has defeated Russia and now turns its attention elsewhere. The secret to slowing a Chinese invasion lies with Project Sunshine and a rogue Germline named Margaret. Resnick will have to risk everything in the jungles of Thailand to recover information on Project Sunshine and find Margaret. But will even that be enough to fight China?

Chimera is book three of the Subterrene War trilogy and it looks like once again I have been missing out on something great. I haven't read a whole lot of science fiction lately so Chimera really took me by force. This is a fast, furious read (I did it in a day) that takes military science fiction and grounds it in the cold, hard reality of war. But not just any war. McCarthy has done something special by envisioning an evolution of battle that immediately sets Chimera apart from the competition. Most military sci-fi revolves around interstellar conflicts, waged in the sterility of space. Chimera is a much more intimate and gritty affair, a war carried out in the oppressive jungles of Asia and under the very ground.

Reading Chimera I got an almost instant feel for Stan Resnick as a character. In a matter of pages McCarthy built the foundation of the entire novel. Resnick is mentally damaged from spending years in the world's most dangerous battlefields. Resnick is more assassin than soldier and he has to cope with tremendous pressures. For such a clearly traumatized human being he displays a remarkable level of self control. This is a professional killer, a man more at home in the thick of the fighting than he is in domestic peace. Resnick has a lot in common with Jeremy Renner's character in The Hurt Locker. He really shouldn't be a likable character, given his caustic behavior and the actions he takes. And somehow McCarthy still had me rooting for Resnick throughout the novel. There is heavy progression throughout, as he goes from detached killer to drunken mess to weary veteran and beyond. This is a prime example of how anti-heroes should be written. Resnick isn't gritty for the sake of being gritty. This is a man that does what he must to survive.

The supporting cast of Chimera doesn't quite match up with the complexity displayed by Resnick. I had high hopes for the partner. Jihoon is an intellectual genius chosen specifically by the higher-ups to accompany Resnick for this mission. Despite a high IQ, Ji is still wet behind the ears when it comes to field operations and this is a hell of a trial by fire. Rookie Ji proved to be a decent foil, giving a frame of reference for all the madness that just comes natural to the battle hardened Resnick. Still I felt as though Ji was under utilized. Most other characters fill out supporting roles and lack any conceivable depth but I did like Margaret, the leader of the AWOL Germline soldiers. Margaret's part of the novel is short lived but the perspective of the fanatical genetically modified soldiers is gripping. To delve deeper into a Germline's psyche I'm definitely going to have to get a hold of the second book in the series, Exogene.

What I love most about Chimera has to be the setting. The Earth has been pretty royally messed up as the result of limited nuclear warfare. People are just trying to hold out until space colonization and mining can be taken large scale. Nations war over precious resources, tunneling through the Earth and fighting in the confines of tunnels. The home front isn't any more pleasant. A citizen's every action and spoken word is monitored for evidence of discontent. The government offers brothels in an effort to boost the population. It's an Orwellian nightmare and it totally rocks. I love that Chimera is a military science fiction novel set on near-future Earth. I love that McCarthy has predicted why war will be waged, and imagined how fighting over rare earth elements may be carried out. McCarthy posits a future not too dissimilar from reality, where there is more privacy to be had in a hellish conflict overseas than in our own home. Chimera blends the claustrophobia of tunnels with the paranoia of jungles.

The plot of Chimera is comparable to Coppola's Apocalypse Now in a lot of ways. That is, if Apocalypse Now was filled with power armor and genetically engineered killing machines. McCarthy's focus is that of a laser and continues onward with the force of a plasma round. Character and setting collide and take off at a relentless pace. There are plenty of atrocities to behold, but there is no violence solely for the sake of violence. The horrors within can be difficult to stomach but the action serves to further the novel, a story of duty and responsibility, faith and fanaticism. Readers will have no illusion that war is a glorious affair, not in this futuristic approximation of the Vietnam War.

Chimera by T.C. McCarthy lives up to its title. This is a singular organism composed of two distinctly different parts, a novel that bears the hallmarks of science fiction with the grim reality of war. The narration comes from a slightly unstable killer who remains sympathetic regardless of the vile acts he commits. T.C. McCarthy has earned himself a welcome space on the sci-fi shelf of my personal library and I eagerly wait to see what further ideas he has in store.

Nick Sharps
SF Signal
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Would Buy - And Just Ordered the Other Two in the Series 19 Sep 2012
By Julia M Nolan - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Chimera is the kind of book that reminds me why I love reading. It didn't change my life or make me think new and amazing things (hence the 4 vs. 5 stars), but it was a legitimately enjoyable ride from beginning to end. I suspect that virtually anyone who likes military science fiction set in distopian worlds will really enjoy it.

The plot is beautifully paced and quite engaging. Stan Resnick (code named Bug)'s job is cleaning up satos - teenaged girls genetically engineered to be perfect warriors. It's pretty much all he knows how to do, as evidenced by repeated failures to deal with civilian life. (Which are drawn out in a way that makes you feel genuinely sympathetic to him, while leaving virtually no doubt as to why his wife would leave him as soon as she got the chance.) At some point, he's called onto a new mission - to follow around Jihoon, a previously office bound intelligence analyst - to figure out what would cause the Koreans to break a treaty against genetic research with a mysterious project code named "Sunshine". Their adventures take them about the globe and eventually ally them with the most unlikely of people - a group of satos set on a holy crusade that is intertwined with Sunshine and more grotesque experiments on the part of the Chinese. This may not inherently sound all that exciting - but the plot had me riveted, with unexpected twists and turns and enough tension that I found myself repeatedly saying, "Just one more chapter before I go to sleep..."

More than the plot, though, I legitimately liked the characters. Bug was utterly believable as a cold, jaded killer who hopes for more...yet sort of realizes that he's almost as perfect a killing machine as the girls he hunts. Despite in many ways being an abhorrent character, he's sympathetic, with hints as to how he became the monster he is. (And this is hard to do - so many writers tackling a similar character would make them utterly unsympathetic or some sort of emo pity case. This didn't happen here, which I suspect is very hard to do, considering how many times I've seen similar characters fail.) His partner, Jihoon, is also delightfully fleshed out, as a weasly bureaucrat who is in waaay over his head. (Although I might have liked more insight as to his motives and desires, as he struck me as an interesting character who never got the time to fully bloom.)

The world is also well fleshed out, with technologies that feel utterly plausible and a totalitarian government that felt believable. While it's not really new ground (apocalyptic, totalitarian worlds with genetically engineered monstrosities isn't exactly an idea that's never been considered in science fiction), the degree of detail and the realism of the details differentiated Chimera from a lot of books that had me rolling my eyes with their bad technology or world building.

So my over all review is that I really liked this book. (Enough that I bought the earlier two in the series and would highly recommend it to anyone who likes this sort of novel.) It's intelligent, realistic, gruesome and a highly enjoyable read that's hard to put down from beginning to end.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Enjoyable Series 6 Sep 2012
By Lawndart37 - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I bought the first book in this series, GERMLINE, on a whim. I have to say that the first one grabbed me and I had to read the rest. I enjoyed this book because it closed out the perspectives of the 3 main personalities found in the series. The first book covered the reporter turned battle-hardened Soldier. The second was a genetically modified female Soldier's perspective. This book focused on the Special Forces Soldiers, whose job is to hunt down the modified females after they reach their expiration date (kind of like Blade Runner).

The author is really good at keeping the action going, while developing the main character so that you can empathize with them. It is easy to see how Bug (the main character) can go from a man whose sole purpose in life is to kill modified females to understanding why they want to live and not just die in battle. He learns that there is more to life than mindless duty to one's orders.

I found the author good at presenting the battles in a pretty thorough manner without bogging you down in detail. One short coming is that you had to kind of learn the scope of the current level of technology as you read. You read about weapons with capabilities that are hard to "wrap you brain around" when you think in todays levels. I know this is sci-fi but it seems like the not too distant future. Plus the author doesn't provide much of the back story so it is had to comprehend the stat of the world and how it got there.

All in all, I would strongly recommend this book and it's two predecessors.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Chimera: Best Yet 3 Sep 2012
By Amazon Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A final trip to the world of the subterrene war, Chimera has all the best elements (excellent characters, intense action) of the first two books. I found myself relating to Stan more than I had the other protagonists. I'm not sure if that makes me crazy or just old. Probably both, but in any case I thoroughly enjoyed the journey, and was left with plenty to think about afterward.
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