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The enemy within...
on 21 April 2016
...or "As ye sow, so shall ye reap.." and other related homilies spring to mind reading this book, which has gripped me over the space of a few days (I have other things to do than just sit and read, sadly) and has given me much pause for thought, as it should all of us...
I hesitated briefly over declaring 5 stars, but what ultimately swung it for me was the author's courage in steering away from the possible clichés of a less daring, more jingoistic approach, and into a darker, much scarier place: the place where 1500 years-worth of constant conflict have not been forgotten and likely will not in my lifetime or my children's.
Setting the story slightly in the future allows for more alternate histories to be explored; for technology and military capability to be stretched a little without worrying about present day accuracy; and for appeasement politics to be disassembled and allowed to reach their worst case scenario (I loved the thought of the antagonists erecting a statue to Ms Merkel in their homeland...) - and I think DC Alden does it really well. Of course, it prompts some thoughts of "what if?" and "would it really go that far?" - but probably some of the best novels can prod these aspects in the reader successfully and not detract from the story. Given this novel was published in 2013, the events of Paris in 2015, Brussels 2016, a current Labour leader that supports CND and a Europe awash with wave after wave of migrants, I don't think this represents an unreasonable view of one of many potential futures.
The characters are well developed enough and while some may appear stereotypical, there is enough realism that comes through in an apocalyptic world. Of course we may have our own spin on subtleties and details, but Mr Alden has laid a very well written and imagined premise as a foundation. I liked most of Tom Clancy's older, cold war novels and I think this bears some comparison in style and quality. Thoroughly recommended!