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Bane of Kings reviews the self-published military sci-fi novel Recon One-Five, written by John Charles Scott, author of the enjoyable Legend of Adam Caine.
“The author has really improved since his last outing. Recon One-Five is, although short – and enjoyable novel.” ~The Founding Fields
Although some reviewers avoid self-published authors like I avoid Paranormal Romance, I’ve read a few interesting self-published novels, and it’s an aspect of publishing that can produce some really good novels, and some really bad ones. Thankfully, I haven’t read any shockingly bad self published novels yet, and although I may have disliked one, but that was pretty much it. Recon One-Five is not that one. In fact, Recon One-Five is probably one of the better self published novels that I’ve read, which comes as no surprise because I enjoyed The Legend of Adam Caine, John Charles Scott’s previous novel. If anyone wants to find a review, they can do so here, where I compared it to not only Doctor Who, but also Star Wars and Rambo. I believe that The Legend of Adam Caine is also one of the biggest novels that I’ve read, so it was also quite a refreshing change when I came across a copy of Recon One-Five, which stands at 200ish pages long.
It’s the 41st Century, Terra has been gone for more than a century, but mankind has already spread across the stars, encountering millions of species, and become masters of space, their military might and superior technology used in the name of peace and universal stability. But now a relatively unknown race has conquered a large sector of Terran space and slaughtered billions of innocent civilians.
4007AD, the insectoid race known as the Jalic have been entrenched in a sector in the Andromeda Galaxy for nearly 200 days, and every attempt to wrest control from them has been rebuffed. The elite Pathfinders are called in with the hope of breaking the deadlock. As the regiment launches for the final battle to decide the fate of the capital planet, Nano Rimmo, they are struck by a vicious ion storm. Within the storm, the Jalic’s primitive fighter jets reap a bloody toll, and force the regiment back to base.
But one of their dropships, the regiment’s 15th Platoon, is missing, shot down during the battle and left behind.
The survivors are led by combat veteran Staff Sergeant Deef Alcott, and they set out for home. But there’s a problem: they’re going the wrong way! When they realise, they’re a hundred kilometres behind enemy lines with no way home, except to fight the final battle that the regiment couldn’t.
To escape the Jalic, they must utterly destroy them, or they will not survive.
This novel was written for NaNoWriMo 2011, and whilst that may seem like a bad thing at first, don’t be put off by it. Although Recon One-Five could use a good editor, if you put aside the rare mistake then it’s still a pretty enjoyable novel. Like The Legend of Adam Caine, Scott includes quotes at the beginning of every chapter which normally, I would find a bit annoying, especially in some cases where they’ve got nothing to do with the Chapter. However, this wasn’t the case with Recon One-Five, as the quotes were pretty enjoyable and some were actually quite amusing.
Recon One-Five is fast paced right the way through, and there isn’t a dull moment. An action-packed military sci-fi novel, the author’s second work is quite entertaining. The characters, although not developed much, are surprisingly enjoyable. You can tell that Recon One-Five draws inspiration from Dan Abnett’s Gaunt’s Ghosts series (which was even referenced in The Legend of Adam Caine), but it’s still a nice entertaining work of fiction that will provide a short time of escapism that whilst not quality work, is not worth looking over, either.
You really get a feel for the danger that the protagonists are in here, and whilst not much is revealed about the alien Jalic, you know which side you’d rather be rooting for, and that side is of course the survivors of the 15th Platoon, lead by Staff-Sergeant Deef Alcott.
Alcott as a whole has the potential to be a strong, memorable character in his own right, much like Adam Caine in The Legend of Adam Caine, although we’re not given enough time to really get to know him, in the book as we had done in the past with Adam Caine, and this is where Alcott lacks when it comes to Caine vs Alcott. Plus, I think that Caine could easily beat Alcott in a fight, even though Caine probably has a lot more experience than Alcott, which instantly puts Alcott on the back foot if there was ever a fight to take place between the two.
Characters aside however, Scott has done a fascinating job at world-building, and everything is well developed without it slowing down the pace of the story, and whilst this may not be quality literature, it doesn’t need to be. Recon One-Five is entertaining, enjoyable and I can still safely say that my experience of Self-published novels has been quite a good one so far. Here’s hoping that it won’t change, and I’m looking forward to reading more from this author. The pace is fast, the novel is full of action, and on top of all that, all of these elements are done surprisingly well without an editor (although saying that, Recon One-Five would have improved even more with one).
More by John Charles Scott: The Legend of Adam Caine (Bane of Kings Review), Recon One-Five
More of John Charles Scott on TFF: Guest Post.