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3.8 out of 5 stars16
3.8 out of 5 stars
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on 16 November 2001
I found the premise of the idea of a rampant Chinese superpower invading the United States after conquering much of the rest of the world a very interesting one, and could not resist buying this book. Clearly I dont't think that it is a sequel to Protect and Defend, which was in no way a sequel to Arc Light. So far all of Harry's books are stand alone efforts. From the continued use of B-1 and B-2 bombers, but not B-52s this book seems to be set at least in 2030 if not 2040.
Logically if one wishes to dominate the plannet then one has to deal with the United States. Both the Germans and the Japanese learned to their cost what happens when you leave the USA to its own devices.
I agree that the plot at times seems a bit contrived, but that is a minor quibble, and I disagree with the rewviewer that thought that the anti-helicoper mine used by Special Forces soldier Captain Jim Hart was fantastical. Modern battlefield SAM systems such as Stinger and Startreak will knock down a target 95% of the time, and automatic launching systems for anti-tank missiles already exist. The British Army use an anti-tank mine based on the LAW-80 which uses a laser system to tell the missile when to fire. I would not be surprised to see a similar system in service for SAMs by the second or third decade of this century when the novel appears to be set.
Harry also does a great service by demonstrating that not all future wars will be bloodless, or walkovers for the West. While all of the talk in the past few years has been about 'Operations other than War' -Peacekeeping, the potential for a major world war still exists out there, and Harry has given us a timely warning of this.
I also agree with the other reviewers who draw attension to the fact that military technology will increacingly cancel each other out, and war will depend on the infantryman (or woman), again. We depend solely on high technology at our peril.
The Chinese, whether they reamain Communist or not, are expansionist, and feel the world owes them special consideration, I believe that sooner, or later they will come into conflict wih the west.
If I have one gripe it is that I would like to know how Europe is coping with this war. We learn that the combined E.U navies were defeated by the Chinese, but hear nothing of attempts to re-build.
Surely the British, with their long naval traditions, would not stand by and see the oceans dominated by a hostile power. Surely the UK would be undertaking an arsenal ship biulding programme for the Royal Navy. Moreover has Britain fully mobilised, as in WW1 and WW2? Is the British Army now a conscript force of several million?
Perhaps Harry is leaving European matters, and the exploits of the USS Ronald Regan and Bill Baker, for his next novel.
I await it impatiently.
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on 17 August 2001
Regardless of possible niggling over whether it could happen some fifteen years time and what it would be like if it did; this is a damn fine book which was very hard to put down. I have never read anything else by Eric Harry but I will certainly be doing so now!
The story was fascinating to anyone with a vague knowledge of America; but as a twenty year old suburban anyone with no memory of even the Falklands War, it was terrifying but compelling to think about what would happen if my world suddenly fell apart, my house and family destroyed, my country chaged beyond recongnition, and me expected, overnight, to turn into a fighting machine ready to kill and maim hundreds of equally misplaced kids.
The story was much better written with its interlocking characters than had it just been a purely strategic and military story of a battle. Harry is a twenty-first century answer to the Great War poets and authors for thought-provoking-ness; and an equal of Tom Clancy.
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on 12 December 2000
This is a book you'll either love or hate - if you want subtle and complex characterisations this is not the place to go.
But if you want an idea of what a land war would be like in the US, this is a chilling account of a large-scale infantry war in a country not so far from home.
The book is set in the near future where technological advancements in missile technology has effectively removed aircraft and armor from the battlefield. The US and its European allies have lost control of the oceans to a huge Chinese navy. The shores of the United States suddenly become vulnerable to invasion. Both sides have invested in nuclear shields, so the war reverts back to the hard slog of combat on the ground, which is graphically described.
You might think it couldn't happen here. This book shows you what would happen if it did.
Yes, the characterisation is poor, the plot often highly contrived, but I couldn't put it down.
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on 7 May 2000
Having read an endjoyed Eric L. Harry's previous 3 novels, I was looking forward to this one. I'm sorry to say I was thoroughly disappointed.
Harry's especial forte in Arc Light and Protect And Defend was his gritty realism, his ability to give a coherent overview of a complex world situation by laying a mosaic of extremely short narrative cuts and his strict use of "show, don't tell" in presenting the main characters to the reader. Add as well his obvious enjoyment of breaking genre formulas (Arc Light _starting_ with a nuclear exchange, ie.).
Regrettably, all of that is missing here. The strategic situation remains confusing (not to say improbable) despite more verbose text. The lead characters are in focus more of the time, but the extended character backgrounds reads like soap opera. And where a certain amount of US patriotism in the earlier books was easily digested, this one reads like a political tract, Hollywood style.
This is not to say that there is not traces of the "old" Harry in this novel. The problem is, it reads as if it was written by two people, one of which is a soap opera hack hell-bent on destroying Harry's earlier reputation.
I'll give it 2 points, hoping Harry's next novel will restore him as my favourite author of techno thrillers.
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A good story building on the future which when China and the far east does use it's manpower and technology, could become the next flash point .. however "Protect and Defend" showed the collapse of Russia but what happened between then and this novel ?? did they vanish like Europe ?. Lots of loose ends to provide for the next 2 books. Although i enjoyed the book i felt "Protect and Defend" and "Invasion" needed to have had a further book between them following the anarchy subject and the rise of China in it's own right. However i can't wait for the next book.
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on 5 June 2005
Invasion suffers from really poor characterisation and has far too much reliance on coincidence to drive the plot forward. But on the other hand, Eric L Harry paints a picture of a possible future that definitely requires some reading. Sure, there's a political point being made here by the author, and whether you choose to accept it or reject it is entirely up to you - but the point with this type of novel is to do exactly that... to paint a picture of something you hadn't thought of before and allow you to reflect on it.
As a book, it isn't a patch on "Protect and Defend", but on the other hand it's still an interesting novel that's well worth a read if you enjoy the "future history" genre. And it might get you thinking..
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on 5 October 2000
If you have read the author's other titles I suppose that you will buy this regardless of what I say. The others are great but this one was awful. The story is highly unrealistic and in some instances it just doesn't make sense. It is very disjointed and jumpy. As always, the Americans are are heroic and the bad guys (in this case the Chinese) are bumbling and useless. If they were as useless as they seem to be how did they conquer the rest of the world (except Russia, which is not even mentioned in the story)? All in all, if haven't read any of the author's books don't go near this one, if you have read his others, I suppose you will buy it but be warned it is a waste of money.
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on 4 September 2000
There are few books that I have read over the passed few years, that while being well written from a descriptive sense, require the reader to suspend all belief. China may become a military superpower and surpass that of America (it may already have), however the likelyhood that America would allow itself to be invaded and defend the country using WWI trench warfare whilst relying on untried and untested superhardware and polictican shenanigans to win seems highly unlikely.
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on 24 July 2001
It may be a fictional novel, but it is first rate one it shows that no matter the technological advances the outcome of a battle is always down to the Land soldiers and the politics that governs it. Also it shows what happens if some countries buries their heads in their own isolation, superiority and ignorance, pretty much like the build up to WW II. I recommend this for a good read and perhaps maybe in part a future prediction if we don't stay alert.
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on 17 October 2000
Most of the reviews here seem to rubbish this excellent novel. This is a great read and I do recommend it. The idea of the 2 air forces canceling out each other is quite believable forcing a trench by trench war. This is the first feedback I felt the need to write as the other reviews were poor.
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