Shadow Ops: Breach Zone by Myke Cole – Book Review [Bane of Kings]
Milo, aka “Bane of Kings”, covers the third novel in the epic military fantasy Shadow Ops series, written by Myke Cole – entitled Breach Zone, and published by Headline Books in the UK, and by Ace in the USA. This book follows on from the events in Control Point and Fortress Frontier, and wraps up the first series set in this world.
“An excellent third act in the series, Myke Cole has really impressed with a stunning all-out war novel that never disappoints. This series is arguably one of the definitive military fantasy novels, and delivers an excellent payoff that’s well worth your time. Highly recommended.” ~Bane of Kings, The Founding Fields
The Great Reawakening did not come quietly. Across the country and in every nation, people began “coming up Latent,” developing terrifying powers—summoning storms, raising the dead, and setting everything they touch ablaze. Those who Manifest must choose: become a sheepdog who protects the flock or a wolf who devours it…
In the wake of a bloody battle at Forward Operating Base Frontier and a scandalous presidential impeachment, Lieutenant Colonel Jan Thorsson, call sign “Harlequin,” becomes a national hero and a pariah to the military that is the only family he’s ever known.
In the fight for Latent equality, Oscar Britton is positioned to lead a rebellion in exile, but a powerful rival beats him to the punch: Scylla, a walking weapon who will stop at nothing to end the human-sanctioned apartheid against her kind.
When Scylla’s inhuman forces invade New York City, the Supernatural Operations Corps are the only soldiers equipped to prevent a massacre. In order to redeem himself with the military, Harlequin will be forced to face off with this havoc-wreaking woman from his past, warped by her power into something evil…
The first novel in the series, Control Point – was released January 2012 in the USA and came to the UK later that year. With a focus on a primary protagonist named Oscar Britton, the book was an excellent debut that kick-started a promising series. Then came the middle act, Fortress Frontier – which was just as awesome as Control Point, and even better – but rather than continue the focus on Oscar Britton, switched protagonists – looking at Colonel Alan Bookbinder as the main narrator. Now, with Breach Zone – the book comes full circle and splits the perspective between both Bookbinder, and Britton’s nemesis from the first novel, the man with the callsign Harlequin. It shows just how the series has evolved over the course of these three Volumes – Control Point was an origin story, Fortress Frontier was a survival mission and Breach Zone has now become an all out war. It’s the equivalent of a well-written summer blockbuster movie, and based on the quality of writing, this novel would make an excellent film adaption with so many incredibly awesome scenes here. Really – just like the last two novels, you won’t be able to put this one down.
Breach Zone was one of my most anticipated reads of 2014 and I even went so far as to make it my first pre-order on Amazon as I was that eager to get my hands on the book – and when it turned up on my Kindle on release day, I got stuck in and started reading, finishing it in a few sittings. Cole’s ability to write a fast paced novel will be no stranger to readers of the first two books but he really kicks it up a gear in this book that effectively concludes the main trilogy (although it will thankfully not be the last story set in this universe) – and manages to pull a successful narrative as it deals with two threads – the first primary narrative focusing on the battle for Manhattan, which is under siege for pretty much the entirety of the novel, but also of a flashback tale – putting both Harlequin and Scylla in the spotlight, giving these characters some much needed development and fleshing out their pasts.
Despite the dual narrative, Breach Zone feels very tight. Cole knows how to weave the book so as to keep both halves of the narrative interesting and you won’t be wanting to skip over the flashback sequences in order to get to the Battle of Manhattan as both sections are equally engrossing and enthralling. As with past novels, Cole has an excellent take on characterization and really excels with turning the character of Jan Thorrson (Harlequin) from a character who everybody loves to hate into a rootable protagonist. He’s not entirely sympathetic, but by the end of the novel – Cole will be managing to get you to rooting behind his character which is a great achievement especially given the fact that he was Oscar Britton’s nemesis in the first book.
So, with everything covered, Breach Zone is a fantastic conclusion to an excellent initial trilogy and it’ll be interesting to see where Cole goes from here, for this journey has been an amazing ride. Fans of the series will not be disappointed as this book with a very solid outing that could well see this novel reach the top levels for best of the year by the end.