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4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 3 July 2009
I have read and enjoyed most books in the Halo series. I had high hopes for this instalment of the franchise but I was sorely disappointed.

The first chapter, indeed the first line, contains a spelling mistake and this sets up the tone for the rest of the story. Previous Halo novels had great narrative and good use of language but The Cole Protocol seems to lack imagination and is written in a simplistic manner. It just seems pedestrian where it could have been a great book. The phrase "x bit his / her lip" seemed to crop up every few pages or so and I really wish Buckell would have tried to spice it up a bit more.

The lack of style could be forgiven if the story was up to the mark. Here the situation is a little better and redeems the book somewhat. I loved the "Gray Team" and the story of Thel and his clan with their background and traditions. I would have loved for the book to concentrate on these characters and their interaction as those parts of the book were great. Unfortunately these elements seemed underdeveloped compared to Keyes and the inhabitants of the Rubble and a lot of the book really dragged for me.

I would have given this book 2.5 stars if I could. 3 is perhaps too generous but 2 would definitely have been too mean. Nylund is really the master of Halo literature - I wish that he would make a return to the franchise.
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on 26 March 2010
I've been gradually making my way through the Halo franchise; starting off with the games and then circling back to cover the various book and graphic novel instalments that accompany the original story. I have to say that the Cole Protocol is by far the most disappointing of the books that I have read so far.

I usually polish off the 300 page or so novels within about 5 days to a week but this one seems to have taken me ages to get through. The simple fact is that I am beginning to grudge picking it up and it feels more like a chore than relaxation. I am just not enjoying the experience of reading it.

The chapters are ridiculously short, about 2-4 pages on average and they jump from one story line to another. The result is such a fractured mess that you start off trying to keep track of who is doing what but by the end you simply loose the will to bother caring.

There are some redeeming points though. I enjoyed the back history of Gray team and I was particularly taken by the concept of a Spartan II unit composed of the renegades. I also enjoyed the ODST story lines and my favourite moment was when they were storming an Insurrectionist ship alongside Keyes but had to make a sharp exit.

However, all of these moments are too few and far between in a story that seemed to just plod along. There are characters who have big entrances, such as Jeffries, but who are killed off in relatively insignificant ways for some unknown reason. I expect them to re-enter the plot in some dramatic fashion but this doesn't happen. On a similar note, there are brand new characters, in the shape of Karl Simon, being introduced by page 331 when the book is only 358 pages long. The reader is left feeling so jerked around that you simply give up caring about the characters.

Another reviewer has noted the poor use of English so I will not go on at length about the poor writing involved. In closing, I will however permit myself my favourite line from the whole book.

'If you didn't start trusting someone at some point, he thought, then you'll never trust again'

Deep stuff, I think you'll agree.
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on 23 December 2012
Really good storyline Lieutenant Jacob Keyes from Halo Combat Evolved Anniversary against the odds does it again and keeps Admiral Cole Protocol alive. Fast paced and could not stop reading the story.
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on 9 January 2009
I've read all previous Halo novels and thought they were fantastic. the Cole Protocol to me seems like a somewhat unnecessary prequel to the series with a young(er) Lieutenant Keys serving as ships navigator running a muck behind enemy lines in a stealth Frigate. It takes a while for the action to happen and even longer for any Spartans to appear on the scene and what action there is is often lightly detailed and over in a flash. However it sets the scene for later novels and the Halo saga in general and has the first fight between an Elite and a Spartan as far as I know. Definitely worth a read. God dammit why didn't they make the film of this, it would have been awesome!
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on 12 April 2013
This book is less well-written than previous and later books unfortunately, Tobias Buckell I fell doesn't really have any investment into the universe nor any particular understanding of it. Also, the book "Cole Protocol" doesn't really contribute much to the Halo canon - particularly when the first book, The Fall Of Reach, actually explains just what the Cole Protocol is and explains that there is a character called Admiral Cole - you can do the math - this book seems quite unnecessary and disappointing. However, for any seasoned fan its quite an enjoyable three-hundred-or-so pages, so go for it.
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on 18 July 2014
Wonderful must read for any lover of Halo and the arbiter (AKA Thel 'Vadamee) exploring his past but also the human civil war is affecting the covenant. Thrilling read, couldn't put it down.

oh and great quick delivery too =D
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on 10 September 2013
Bought for my teenage son at his request and i have never known him read a book so quick,he loves the Halo xbox games so i thought that buying him the books would encourage him to read more and i was not wrong as he now owns 3 Halo books and has requested more.I can't comment on what the book is actually about as i have not read it myself.
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on 15 August 2013
An exciting an thrilling read gripping lovely book well done Tobias nice idea using Keyes and writing a book about him before he was the captain of the piller of autumn. Especially like the part about the elites it was almost a lecture for me a good thrilling one that's why I'm giving 5 stars can't go wrong with getting this thing
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on 18 May 2014
A must for all Halo fans as it covers some important aspects related to the Halo story line. However, the actual writing style was the area that made this book one of my least favourite books from the series to date.
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on 5 January 2011
and having also read all the other Halo novels I consider this the weakest so far.

This outing is the turn of Lieutenant Keyes and how he became the Commander from Halo. Like Contact Harvest it is a book of various story strands, having one for a team of Spartans, group of Elites, Keyes, an Insurrectionist linked space pilot and a Jackal commander that eventually come together for the conclusion of the book.

The story itself is an OK read, focussing on two Convenant plots to obtain navigational data from Insurrectionists hidden in an asteroid belt with the two UNSC story strands trying to prevent it.

But this for me was not the major weakness, it was the writing style of the author. Reading the cover notes it seemed that this may be his first commercial book, which would explain a lot, but Amazon has a page for him and I am surprised he has been published before. The problem is it takes him at least of a third of the book to find his feet and I can only guess there wasn't enough time to go back and do a rewrite.

Of the first third the dialogue is painfully bad and stilted and I could have quite easily given up if I hadn't been determined to finish the book. The actual story telling is better than the dialogue but there are still jarring sentences that really just didn't fit and should have been picked up by an editor. Both improve in the second third, although again the dialogue is painful.

By the last third of the book the flow is how I would have expected it to be, the dialogue didn't make me wince and the jarring sentences were down to a minimum. But by then the damage is done and I am left neither a fan of this book nor the author, leading me to question whether I would ever read it again or buy another Halo title written by the author again.

Overall, OK I suppose, but I would just put it down as a stock, run-of-the-mill, standard, nothing special franchise novel that plagues the franchises that I have read, being Dragonlance and Star Wars, and does nothing more than pad out the titles list and leave me feeling that maybe I won't bother with any more of them.
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