REVIEW SUMMARY: A great follow up to Control Point.
BRIEF SYNOPSIS: Following the events of Control Point, Col. Alan Bookbinder finds himself reassigned to FOB Frontier after finding that he’s a Latent. Once there, the base comes under attack, and he must lead the entire base to safety, aided by the man who put the base in danger in the first place.
PROS: A solid improvement from Control Point, with a fantastic set of new characters.
Myke Cole’s debut novel was a fun story, a blend of magic in the real world, and the military’s response to a justifiably complicated problem. Where Control Point took on the coming of age / learning to control one’s powers style of story (See Harry Potter, The Magicians, Name of the Wind, Circle of Magic, etc), the second novel in the Shadow Ops series takes on the Quest story that’s so popular in fantasy, and completely succeeds. Fortress Frontier is a second novel, and shows that Cole hasn’t experienced a sophomore slump.
Myke Cole is a military reservist and writer. Control Point, just out from Ace (Penguin-Putnam), is the first novel in his military fantasy Shadow Ops series.
SF SIGNAL: Hi Myke, thanks for taking a couple of moments to speak with us! The first question that I’ve got is: why military fantasy, over something like Military Science Fiction or superpowers?
Myke Cole: Two reasons, really. The first is that my experience is in the military and that I have been a die-hard traditional fantasy fan (though I also love SF) since my earliest days. It’s a neat combination of the two old axioms “write what you know” and “write what you’d want to read.”
The second reason is that military SF has been, frankly, done to death, as have traditional superhero stories (though more in comics than novels). To the best of my knowledge (and I certainly could be wrong), a modern (and truly modern, by which I mean counterinsurgent focused) military tale blended with high fantasy monsters and magic hasn’t been done as a mass-market novel. I wanted to see if I could push the envelope a little bit.
REVIEW SUMMARY: A promising start with a new take on fantasy and military fiction.
BRIEF SYNOPSIS: Around the world, people begin to develop magical powers. Oscar Britton is an army officer in Vermont, and following a mission, finds that he’s developed a forbidden talent for opening portals. Immediately, he’s turned from a member of the military to fugitive.
PROS: A fun, fast-paced military novel that draws upon Cole’s experience as a military contractor.
CONS: Slow, hard start makes this one a difficult one to initially get into.
BOTTOM LINE: An entertaining debut novel from a promising author.