Here it is:
In some ways a decent first effort but it falls short so very often.
The author writes with authority about weapons systems that he simply doesn't understand. For example he describes in gory detail how a m249 saw devastates armor that is impervious to the 5.56 round in the M4. Unfortunately for the author the m249 saw fires the same round. He describes the awesome power of the russian 12.7 mm machine gun round taking out a hind helicopter ignoring that this round is the soviet equivalent of the us .50 caliber round and that the hind was specifically armored to defeat both of those rounds.
Then we have Joe, who is a laudable hero but suffers multiple serious wounds, torture, beatings, starvation in a period of two or three weeks, yet recovers not once but twice to full combat efficiency. In his second encounter with the head of the unit that slaughtered 35 of his men he with help bests his opponent in unarmed combat (using none of the techniques that rangers are trained in) and then leaves him alive. unconscious so that he can return to attempt to kill more of his comrades. I have the honor of calling a couple of ex rangers my friends, and there are few more deadly humans on the face of this earth. In a combat situation they kill their opponents, and in hand to hand it is not a fist fight.
The author explains that the C-17 files twice as fast as the Blackhawk - in fact it files three times as fast.
These kinds of error occur over and over throughout the book. I am far from a military expert but the errors are constant and glaring.
It gets two stars because it wasn't a bad read, but if the author intends to speak describe weapons systems in detail he needs to do in depth research to make sure he actually understands the weapons and weapons systems his characters use. Similarly he need to understand tactics and combat techniques in which his characters would have been trained.
Oh and I have had the honor to meet a few members of Blackwater and I can think of no finer men, including a former SEAL and former special forces officer. The authors portrayal of them as careless, mercenaries, who kill only out of greed does a great disservice to many fine men. This causes be to wonder if the author has any first hand experience with the men whose character he stains, and on balance requires me to drop another star leaving this story with only 1.
END OF REVIEW
Wow! Thanks for the review Critic_in_my_own_mind. In the words of Samuel L Jackson, allow me to retort:
You might be wondering why I'm spotlighting a lovely bit of vitriol like this. It's because the way this reviewer interpreted the novel is completely counter to book's intent. In the book, the singular fact that Joe is even able to bring down a helicopter while driving on a rocky slope at over 40 miles an hour is absurd. Yet, that wasn't brought up. I freely admit to writing absurd action scenes that are big and exciting. It's why I wrote the book-no other book has scratched that itch for me.
He is correct that Rangers use extremely deadly forms of hand-to-hand combat, like jiujitsu. I was fully aware of that as well. Typical descriptions of such a fight would tend to be over at the two sentence mark. Not very cinematic, is it?
I was interested at the mention of Blackwater in the review. It is, quite simply, the first time I have ever heard anybody defend a Private Mercenary Army. Whether that was the reviewers intention or not, I'm not sure, but that's how it came across to me. In the book, the organization (which is now no longer known as Blackwater, but is instead called Academi) was a previous employer to the Peacemaker's Arab-Russian muscleman, Krieger. The description of Blackwater is based on real events which you can read about here and here. Make your own judgements who is wrong about defending a group able to get away with something like this.
As for a C-17 flying 3 times as fast, that's almost true. As it was an off handed comment in the book, I rounded it down as it is only about 2.5 times faster, more if it pushes it. Not a big nilly, but hey, glad you caught it.
Still, out of all of the reviews I've got, good and bad, this is probably my favorite. It shows that if you go into the book expecting slavish devotion to military weapon system jargon and masturbatory lengths of description on proper calibres of weapons, you will be disappointed. Stick with Clancy or McNab or Hunter for that. It confounds me that in a story with stiletto heeled ninja women, blind stealth suit wearing Inuit soldiers and jetpack troopers, people would go to such lengths to pick this kind of stuff apart.
I'll put it like this: if you want slow and boring, read Clancy. If you want fast and awesome, read my stuff.
Or don't, I won't mind.
To my fans (you know who you are), thanks so much for for your support! To those not so impressed, thanks for giving it a chance anyway!