The war between Azania and New Persia erupts as a biochemical seed storm blows out of the Northern Waste. Basir Turani gains rank as a commander of Persian forces, but the challenges he faces are greater than ever. Suri Pahlavi is offered an opportunity to serve her country. Nasrin Avesta comes into her own but what sacrifice is she willing to make? Farad Hashemi fights the enemy in the air and under the waves. The storm of war breaks across the world of New Persia.
Lynch’s expertise is in military tactics, and he clearly depicts the perspective of officers who have to lead in combat. Each chapter is short and packs a punch. The cultural politics from the first book are still factors here, but are more in the background as the story focuses on what it means to engage in total warfare. Lynch’s characters are all capable but far from perfect or invincible, and that lends tension to every encounter.
Lynch is also interested in how technology affects war, as tactics can only go so far when the enemy has superior weapons and vehicles. With the technology on this world at a 1950s level, the introduction of helicopters proves to be a devastating move. There are times when the battle scenes are too dense, especially since so much of the book involves combat, but Lynch always brings the focus back to people, creating a resonant payoff. This is not a good starting place for newcomers, but series fans will be thoroughly satisfied by this installment and breathlessly await the next.
Takeaway: Series fans eager for more of Lynch’s gripping, tense, and detailed battle sequences will get their fill in this thrilling installment.
Great for fans of Edward L. Beach’s Run Silent, Run Deep; Taylor Anderson’s Destroyermen series.
Design and typography: B
Marketing copy: B
Hard-combat SF that delivers thoughtful alternative history speculation...