Sjostrom has a flair for staging battle scenes in all their bloody glory: A dying soldier "sat against a wall, futilely tugging a long piece of desk that transformed into an airborne dagger… Fallon mercied the man with a shot to the forehead." The action has strong political connotations, however, frequently stressing that the privately employed soldiers must take action when proper authorities refuse to. A representative of the Cadre describes it as "concerned citizens who prefer to pursue and enforce liberty in ways the government cannot or is too afraid to." Readers not convinced of the righteousness of militia-dispensed justice will find these themes unpersuasive or offensive, and the politically charged resolution strains credulity.
The focus is mostly on action, but Sjostrom shows Chris mourning his wife and daughter. Also nicely described is Chris' relationships with his fellow soldiers. Most fully developed is the friendship with Cait McBride, an ex-IRA operative. A particularly gripping scene has Chris risking his life to save Cait despite orders to abandon her, and their eventual romance provides an unusual "meet cute" story. However, it's hard to invest much feeling in Chris after he tortures an unarmed journalist in the belief that the reporter may have been too sympathetic to the terrorists. Action fans disposed to such dark viewpoints will enjoy this fast-paced combat story.
Takeaway: This testosterone-fueled private militia thriller will please fans of well-staged firefights.
Great for fans of: David T. Maddox, Ian Slater.
Design and typography: A-
Marketing copy: B+