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The Scope of Justice Mass Market Paperback – 1 Jul 2004

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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Very nice present-day military action by a rising SF writer 1 July 2004
By "chauncytechman" - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The first in a new trilogy by Mike Williamson (Freehold, The Hero), Scope of Justice is modern military fiction. Better than Tom Clancy on the details (Williamson researches them as well as the experts - as a combat engineer he presumably doesn't *need* to do much research - but unlike Clancy and most of his contemporaries, he makes it interesting and doesn't dwell on the technical stuff), and faster-moving than most military fiction out there, this book is definitely worth reading.
US Army snipers Kyle Monroe and Wade Curtis are sent into the Afghanistan-Pakistan border region on a covert mission (it's Pakistan, US troops aren't supposed to be active there) to take out Al-Qaeda's number three man, a charming fellow who likes to rape and murder American journalists. It's a realistically-drawn country; not many good-guys or bad-guys, but a LOT of neutrals whose allegiance, to badly paraphrase Lehrer, is based on expedience.
There's a minor romantic subplot, logically drawn. Monroe is white, Curtis is black, and there's buddy-cop byplay that wouldn't be at all out of place in a Hollywood movie. The two characters are realistic: most snipers, by the temprament needed for the job, are *not* outgoing kick-ass-and-get-laid Schwarzenegger types. Monroe and Curtis read like snipers, not Rambos.
Worst problem that I had with this book was the slowness of getting started. To be fair, it's the start of a trilogy and the other books presumably get moving a bit faster, but almost half the book goes by before the first shot is fired in anger. Not that the setup isn't interesting, but you read this type of book for action and plot, and there aren't even a lot of significant plot twists in the first half. (Admittedly, the second half moves fast enough to make up for a LOT of that.) And I suppose there's only so much detailed interaction you can *have* when your characters are in a rural part of a foreign-language-speaking country.
Williamson proved in Freehold that he knows his combat and he knows how to write it; the battle sequences in this are as good as anything by Drake, which from me is about as high as praise can get. If you're willing to go through the slow leadup - think of it as an education in the stuff the main characters worry about every day in the field - then this is about as good as modern military action gets.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Engaging and Imaginative 14 Aug. 2004
By Nathan Balyeat - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Williamson is able to put together something that you don't find much in military fiction anymore... something new. Scope of Justice is a top of the line military novel in all the standard respects. He has done meticulous research on the tactics and weapons of his story, and writes some of the best combat scenes I've ever come across.

What sets this book apart from the rest is that the plot is unique and different. Let's just say that not everything goes the way you expect it to. Also refreshing is his deep understanding and portrayal of the society of Afghanistan and Pakistan in which this novel takes place. It's good enough to make you think about your perspectives about the region.

Great read!
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Very Good Book! 28 July 2004
By Melvin Hunt - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This turned out to be a very good book.You are given close up

details of the role of a sniper in wartimw activities.You are

shown the training that Army snipers go through.

In this book SFC Kyle Monroe is given the assignment of killing

the number three leader in al-Quaida,Rafiq bin-Quasim.He and his

spotter Wade are dispatched into Pakistan to locate the terrorist leader and assassinate him.They have to overcome the

various tribal factions that have no loyalty to anyone.They finally find an ally in Nasima,a teacher who serves as their

translator.Then you are given the action of the carrying out of

their assignment.

This is a very good book that you will enjoy.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Mad Mike Does Modern Day Reality Too 10 Sept. 2005
By Walt Boyes - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Michael Z. Williamson, better known as Mad Mike the Knife Builder, has produced a great action/adventure series to compliment his outstanding SF writing in Freehold and The Weapon, and his collaboration with John Ringo, Hero.

In The Scope of Justice, the world of the sniper and the covert operative is exposed. This is not James Bond, and it is not The Ballad of the Green Berets. This is modern military action, with all its faults and successes, as Kyle Monroe battles his demons and al-Qaeda terrorists.

We can all hope that the real Kyle Monroes do as well as the fictional hero does.

You should buy this book if you are trying to figure out what it really feels like to be a soldier in the war on terror.

Walt Boyes

The Bananaslug. at Baen's Bar
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Exciting and Well-Written Military Fiction 10 Sept. 2011
By Lonnie E. Holder - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Sergeant First Class Kyle Monroe is a sniper. I guess the old saying is once a sniper, always a sniper. Of course, he does not feel like a sniper at the moment because he is at sniper school, teaching sniper wannabes. The job is frustrating because most of the candidates are young, with all the energy and enthusiasm of being young, and very little of the patience it takes to be a sniper.

On the other hand, Kyle Monroe is still recovering from what happened in Bosnia. When a shoot goes bad, it can be very bad. Kyle's spotter lost his life because of a mistake. Kyle was not responsible, but he feels responsible. Kyle is unable to realize that he is suffering from survivor's guilt. Kyle needs to overcome his issues quickly, because the Army has a mission for him in hostile territory, the hinterlands of Pakistan.

Kyle initially has misgivings when the Army assigns Wade Curtis to work with Kyle as Kyle's spotter. However, the misgivings are because of what happened in Bosnia, not because of Wade's qualifications. In fact, Wade is a true professional: skilled, knowledgeable and intelligent. Kyle could hardly ask for a better partner.

After too little training and preparation, Kyle and Wade make their way in-theater and wend their way to their target. At first, the mission seems to be going well. However, as has a way of happening, things go downhill fast, and then faster. Things begin shakily when their expected translator does not show up. When Kyle and Wade execute a shoot, the outcome is completely unexpected. Kyle, Wade, and Nasima, a Pakistani teacher, find themselves on the run while still needing to accomplish a mission. The action is intensive and exciting from beginning to end in this fast-paced thriller.

I enjoy military thrillers. Unfortunately, I have had a difficult time finding military thrillers that are believable and written well. "The Scope of Justice" is believable, well written and exciting. The author is clearly well versed in things military. He also expects his audience to have general knowledge of the U.S. military and some of the issues they face.

For example, the author talks about MRE's (Meals Ready to Eat - the replacement for the C and K-rations of the previous era), RPG's (Rocket Propelled Grenades), RPK's (a Russian-made hand-carried machine gun) and more. You can enjoy this novel if you are unfamiliar with the acronyms, but you will enjoy the novel even more if you are familiar with at least some of the acronyms. Of course, you can always look up the ones you do not know on the internet.

The author also has a marvelous knowledge of Pakistan, its culture and its numerous languages. Michael Z. Williamson has fleshed out his novel with such glorious detail that I got thirsty when Wade, Kyle and Nasima did.

Some people seem to find character development beneficial in a novel. Author Williamson focuses on Kyle Monroe, and rightfully so. Kyle's eyes provide most of our perspective and interpretation of happenings, so we see how Kyle is both fearful for his companions, but also how Kyle comes to realize that sometimes bad things happen no matter what you do or plan. I learned a lot about Kyle through the course of 373 pages.

This novel is incredibly well rounded. At heart, it is military fiction. However, the significant amount of character development suggests that this is character-driven military fiction. Many military fiction authors gloss over the details of location. Williamson describes the desert, the towns, the mountains, and even the houses in an appropriate level of detail. Williamson clearly wanted his readers to feel as though they were in Pakistan with our heroes. The culture was the best part of all. Because Wade and Kyle have to interact with several different groups, and because of their interactions with Nasima, I learned a lot about the Pakistani people.

I doubt there is any way I could recommend this book enough. If you like Clancy but think he is sometimes too detailed or too dry, then try "The Scope of Justice" by Michael Z. Williamson. Williamson brought his story, his characters, their actions and their locations to life. I hope I get the chance to read more Williamson books in the future.

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