Customer Review

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Vast improvement on "Ghost" but still pushing the envelope, 17 May 2008
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This review is from: Kildar (Ghost) (Mass Market Paperback)
This is the second book in the series which began with "Ghost". "Kildar" is much less outrageous, and rather better written, than the first book in the series but still goes over the top in several places. As a rough litmus test, if you were strongly against the Iraq war, are very pro-feminist, or even slightly prudish, do your blood pressure a favour and refrain from touching this entire series with a ten foot barge-pole.

At the start of "Kildar", having prevented some dire terrorist atrocities in the first book, former SEAL Mike Harmon has gone travelling in various remote parts of the world to keep out of the way of those people who would like revenge on him. Stopping in a remote valley in Georgia ("the country not the state" as he repeats umpteen times during the book) he decides to buy the local castle as a place to stay. It turns out that the castle and associated farmland comes with some feudal retainers, the Keldara, who accept him as their liege lord or "Kildar" - and if that sounds wierd and anachronistic at the start of the 21st century you ain't read nothing yet.

The full series currently consists of

Ghost
Kildar
Choosers of the Slain
Into the Breach
A Deeper Blue

John Ringo normally writes military SF and most of his offerings in that genre are extremely good. This series is about a freelance war on terror. In places, and especially in the first book, Ringo seems to be in grave danger of crossing the line between challenging the reader and going out of your way to see how many people you can offend. That goes even for his existing fans among military SF readers, who are probably neither the most prudish or left/liberal of audiences.

In fact the funniest part of "Kildar" and each subsequent book in the series is not part of the main text - it is the disclaimer at the start of the books which at least demonstrates that Ringo understands and has a sense of humour about the controversy "Ghost" stirred up. That disclaimer is worth quoting in full, it reads as follows:

"This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincidental. This book and series has no connection to reality. Any attempt by the reader to replicate any scene in this series is to be taken at the reader's own risk. For that matter, most of the actions of the main character are illegal under US and international law as well as most of the stricter religions in the world.

"There is no Valley of the Keldara. Heck, there is no Kildar. And the idea of some Scots and Vikings getting together to raid the Byzantine Empire is beyond ludicrous.

"The islands described in a previous book do not exist. Entire regions described in these books do not exist. Any attempt to learn anything from these books is disrecommended by the author, the publisher and the author's mother who wishes to state that he was a very nice boy and she doesn't know what went wrong."

Incidentally, that line about "any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincidental" is a classic example of a blatantly false statement which escapes being a lie only because both author and reader know that it's a legal fiction which he has to write and makes no attempt to fool anyone. Osama Bin Laden and Vladimir Putin appear in these books under their real names, certain other characters will instantly be recognised by any politically aware reader as corresponding to real world US politicians.

All five books in the series contain a great deal of violence, strongly expressed and very right-wing political views, and a lot of references to sex, always utterly politically incorrect and sometimes fairly explicit. My copies of these books are stored where my children can't get at them and will be until they are adults.

Provided you are not offended by the sex, violence and non-PC attitudes, these books can be quite exciting and entertaining in places. But I would advise feminists, left-wingers, and anyone even slightly prudish to save your money for something else.
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