Top critical review
Decent premise on the Chinese invasion of Taiwan but peters out in the second half
on 26 December 2013
The book is one of a growing genre of China vs. US WW3 books, this time focused on a fictional Chinese invasion of Taiwan in the year 2000. Written by two authors with a solid background on China (if little on fiction), it starts off quite strongly but remains a bit light on up to date military details and sadly finished in an unnecessary hurry.
The book starts with the bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade in 1999, and follows the trajectory of several main characters over the subsequent months (a CIA analyst, a Marine Corps colonel, a US Army Reserve officer and from the Chinese side a special forces colonel and a rising political commissar) - through the build-up to the actual attack on Taiwan.
The book starts off very strongly and the authors' background knowledge on China and it's politics (and their wishes on achieving global hegemony) shows in preparing an interesting 'what if' of how China could have gone about reintegrating Taiwan. The pace is good and the varied perspectives help in keeping the reader riveted.
The first issues become apparent with the invasion proper. In spite of one of the authors having an extensive military background, a lot of the descriptions of the military equipment that would be used by the Chinese in 2000 are quite out of date and not particularly well researched. Here some others (Chimera or Red Tide: The Chinese Invasion of Seattle (Occupied Seattle Book 1)) do a much better job.
The other issue is the frequent use of brackets to describe various military equipment of abbreviations, which breaks the flow of the book.
All of this would still have warranted a four star rating in my opinion, sadly lost in the fairly weak and rushed conclusion. Here lots of loose ends are tied up in a rush and there is little justification for the ending, which is neither believable, nor particularly satisfactory. This is a shame, since it ruins the solid first ca. 75% of the book.
It still is a fast paced book but Ahuja's Chimera does a much better job of describing a modern conflict with China (against India and not the US) and the authors' impressive CVs and background knowledge sadly gets somewhat wasted.