Chris Kennedy has joined the ranks of authors presenting alternative history (or in this case near future)'invasion of the continental US scenarios'. The culprit in this case is China and the area of operations the Seattle area. The book is the first part of a trilogy (Occupied Seattle (Occupied Seattle Book 2) being the sequel), so it is more of a scene setting and complication part of the plot, with the resolution yet to be provided.
The main goal of the Chinese is simple - unify China (aka retake Taiwan), and at the same time ensure than the US stays out of the fighting. Quite how they attempt to do that would probably constitute too large a spoiler but suffice it to say that the idea at least appears intriguing and less far fetched than a wholesale conventional invasion of all the Continental US.
The author is also a former military pilot, which thankfully translates into him getting most of the technical details right (small errors can occassionally still be found) - in this respect the book is definitely a lot better than some early Tom Clancy novels. Where it all falls somewhat flat, though, is the author's insistence in showing off the knowledge; you are often under the impression that you are reading fact sheets of the various weapon systems and not a novel. On top of that, some of the data is repeated incessantly (I must have read about the rate of fire of the same Chinese SPAAG system on at least three separate occassions).
The author perhaps also errs on the side of introducing too many characters, rather than too few (a helpful list of all of them is provided at the end). While a lot of them perish during their first or second 'act', even the ones that you are sure will carry on till the end of the trilogy do not get enough airtime to show that they are fully fledged personalities. Even though the main action of the book is all finished within 24 hours, I feel the author could have done better here.
Be that as it may, the intriguing premise is probably enough to keep the military / action / alternative history novel fan both reading this installment, as well as the follow-ons. At the same time one has to say that a slightly better editing could have made the book a lot more gripping - hopefully something the second installment will be.
I do like technothrillers and this has good techno and good thrills. It also seems really plausible that such an invasion could happen. We know the American military will prevail in the end but quite how i'm not sure. On to book two!
I could not put this book down, the background build up to the story was credible and believable, the characters are not super heroes and like real life things go wrong, as soon as I had finished reading this book I purchased book 2 (review to follow). I am now a confirmed Christopher Kennedy fan
Found this one by chance after reading a review by another reader. An action book which I found female friendly a rare beast but fortunately there are a few about just recently. There are two more after this one and another due out in April, I think.