Fortress Frontier by Myke Cole
|Book Name:||Fortress Frontier|
|Formatt:||Paperback / eBook|
|Genre(s):||Military Fantasy / Urban Fantasy|
|Release Date:||January 31, 2013 (UK) January 29, 2013 (US)|
The first book in the Shadow Ops series, Control Point, was the debut of 2012 for many, myself included. It was an intense, action-packed, military-sci-fi thriller that left me eager for more. A year later, Fortress Frontier arrives with a lot of expectations to live up to.
The good news for everyone is Myke Cole has delivered a book that builds on the successes of his debut, and far surpasses them with a tale that is truly epic in scale.
Control Point was the story of an army officer, Oscar Britton, who discovers he has magical powers. He was enrolled into a secret Army training program against his will and sent to a Forward Operating Base (FOB) on another plane – the source of the magic leaking into our world – to be trained. As the book ends, he revolts and finds himself on the run from the army he was once a part of.
Instead of picking up events immediately from where we left off, Fortress Frontier introduces us to a new character, Colonel Alan Bookbinder. He’s not your typical leading man. His only skill is pushing paper in the military and, even though he does it extremely well, it hardly garners him much respect amongst the men.
“The army’s sole criteria for heroism was time spent behind a trigger. He couldn’t remember the last time he’d shot a gun, and they didn’t give purple hearts for paper cuts.”
He may be a frustrated soldier but he understands the importance of what he does. However, when he too, like Britton, develops magical powers, his life drastically changes. Unlike Britton, he accepts his new role in the Supernatural Operations Corps and doesn’t rebel. When Bookbinder is transferred to the FOB, he finds it in chaos after Britton’s escape, and the lives of his men depend on him becoming the soldier, and leader, he always wanted to be.
Bookbinder is a fabulous creation – he’s easy to relate to, very sympathetic and highly likeable. He may not be confident or experienced in his abilities, but he never lets that stop him – he knuckles down and gets on with the job. And, even though events put him through the ringer time and time again, he doesn’t lose focus of what is important to him – his family and his men. Myke Cole (who serves in the US Coast Guard) mentioned in an interview that Bookbinder is the type of officer he would like to be, but I would go one stage further – he’s the type of officer everyone in the military should emulate, particularly in light of current events.
Britton isn’t forgotten, and soon pops up, but I have to say, despite my vested interest in what happens to him, I found myself wanting to get back to Bookbinder’s story as quickly as possible. He really steals the spotlight from Britton.
The stage is much broader in Fortress Frontier as well. Most of the book is spent on the other plane, cut off from events on Earth, and it gives Cole the opportunity to really showoff his new world. We encounter new races, and even more dangerous enemies, while politics on both planes add to the dangers our heroes face.
Fortress Frontier is real edge-of-your-seat stuff from start to finish. There’s no second book syndrome here, no wasted fat, instead Cole simply turns everything up to 11. He’s become a much better writer, confidently not giving us what we expect, but instead, gives us what we need – a jaw-dropping, adrenaline-filled good time. He proves that an action blockbuster can have heart and emotional depth, while never skimping on the fireworks and explosions.
Now how long before book three?