Book: Unto the Breach by John Ringo

Fun military thriller

John Ringo
Unto the Breach
Baen, 2006
ISBN-10: 1-4165-0940-2
ISBN-13: 978-1-4165-0940-0
610 pages

Unto the Breach is the fourth book in John Ringo's somewhat hokily-named "Paladin of Shadows" series of military thrillers. I've said of the pervious three books in the series (1, 2, 3), that their plots are somewhat improbable even by the rather relaxed standards of the genre, but that they're enough fun that I didn't much mind that. The same is true here.

As the book begins, Mike Harmon, an ex-Navy SEAL, is a sort of benevolent feudal baron of a remote mountain valley in the Eastern European country of Georgia. His retainers, the Keldara, are of an unusual ethnicity for the area and he and some other military veterans have trained them to become a small but very potent military force. That's useful because Chechen terrorists are often about.

Because he's not closely associated with the American government and has some rare skills and highly-trained soldiers, Mike Harmon is occasionally asked to do favors for governments. In this book, it's a favor for the American government which turns out to be a favor for the Russian government too.

Little more needs to be said. You could read this book without having read the others in the series first, but I don't really know why you would. The number of spoilers for earlier books isn't as great as in the previous one, but there are plenty. You'd be better off starting at the beginning. You would, at least, unless you find violent sex distasteful because there's rather less of it in this book than in the others. If you liked the previous books, you're very likely to like this one as well.

The stakes are higher in this book's story than in the others and the drama is correspondingly more dramatic. That gives me a little concern. Not for this book: Mr Ringo handles the story and pacing very well. But I wonder a bit about the next book and any that may succeed it. I'm reminded of Tom Clancy's books, the first few of which I enjoyed very much. But it seemed that each succeeding one had to be longer, with greater drama, higher stakes, more characters, and a more intricate plot. I stopped reading them after they became hard to lift. I hope that Mr Ringo doesn't go down that path. I guess I'll find out when I read the next in the series.

There are a few minor editing errors in the book. There's "shoe-in" where "shoo-in" is wanted (p. 19), "Chateau Briand" where "chateaubriand" is wanted (p. 73), "showed" where "show" is wanted (p. 200), "occurred" where "occurs" is wanted (p. 354), "odie" where I suspect that "die" was intended (p. 395), "principle" where "principal" is wanted (p. 402), "karats" where "carets" is wanted (p. 428), and "spouting" where "sporting" is wanted (p. 600).

Posted: Tue - April 22, 2008 at 07:04 PM   Main   Category: