This saga values worldbuilding and character development as much as it does highly detailed military operations. Lynch (Endemic) spends a lot of time pondering what it might be like if Middle Eastern and African societies were the ones who colonized alien planets in the future and how those societies might develop in harsh planetary climates. The work strongly critiques oppressive gender roles through the well-developed characters of Suri and Nasrin. The first half of the book is devoted to setting details and character background, and the pace drags as a result. There’s simply not enough story structure to support this much information dumping, especially as Lynch juggles multiple protagonists.
However, once the military operation begins, Lynch skillfully flips among the characters’ narratives as he reimagines WWII-era technology and tactics on this new world, generating tension and excitement from fine strategic detail. Smooth, evocative prose and entertaining characters keep the reader hooked as the plot careens to an exciting conclusion.
Takeaway: Readers who value detailed battle sequences, military strategy, politics, and cultural critiques will find this well-constructed military SF novel hits the spot.
Great for fans of Richard Baker’s Valiant Dust, W.C. Bauer’s Unbreakable.
Design and typography: B
Marketing copy: B-
“Talky opening chapters set the stage at a New Persian royal ball… after that, however, the formal narrative transitions from Tolstoy to Tom Clancy… the promising beginning of a larger “New Persia” saga… a sci-fi setting that also delivers shock-and-awe combat action.” — Kirkus Reviews