Larry Correia and Mike Kupari have produced a sequel to their 2011 work, Dead Six, and it’s a roller coaster from start to finish.
Swords of Exodus opens a few months after the close of Dead Six. Lorenzo, the master thief and assassin, has retired to what he hopes is comfortable obscurity, and Valentine, the soldier of fortune, is rotting in a government torture chamber after being snatched at the end of the first book. After the events of Dead Six, the criminal world has fragmented, and an exquisitely evil man has taken over a criminal territory in the border region of Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Russia, and China, and Lorenzo and Valentine reluctantly join forces to help Exodus wipe him and his slave army out. I won’t give things away, but the action starts early in the book and doesn’t stop until the very end. We also get some more back story on Val and Lorenzo, which fills in the characters quite nicely.
Like I said, this is a rollercoaster ride of a good yarn. You get a few pages of quiet, followed by 10 pages of action, followed by more quiet. The second half of the book is pretty much action to the very end. The book ends with two cliffhangers, which already has me convinced that I will be buying the inevitable third book. Honestly, I had to put the book down and stop from crying out when I read the last sentence. I just wanted the story to continue.
One distraction in the book’s writing is what I call “brand dropping”. Rather than “I pulled out my pistol and shot him twice in the head.”, at a few points in the story you read “I pulled out my STI 9mm with the six-inch SilenceCo suppressor on it and put two Hornady TAP bullets into his brain.” Both read well, but the authors put such references in just often enough for me to notice, but not enough to irritate.
The first book set up the universe the story lives in, which is a “decade after this one” kind of place where the world has fractured and chaos makes live lucrative for people like Lorenzo and Valentine. The second book fills in some of the gaps on this world, but that leaves a lot more room for character development. The characters of Lorenzo, Valentine, and Ling fleshed out quite nicely through the course of Swords.
One thing I like about both books is that I would feel comfortable lending them to my teenage daughter. Yes, there’s quite a bit of blood and violence in them, but it’s not gratuitous, and while there is implied sex on a couple of occasions, it’s done tastefully and the story shifts away from it before it becomes too graphic.
If you’re looking for a great book to curl up with for a couple of evenings, and you like action thrillers, I think you’ll enjoy this one.