Thursday, June 7, 2018

Book Recommendation: G. T. Almasi’s “Shadowstorm” Series

     The news is terribly static just now. At times like these, I dive into my reading stack and look for gems I can recommend to my Gentle Readers – and boyohboy did I ever find one:

     The overarching story concerns the emergence, in an alternate-reality world, of four Great Powers: China, the Soviet Union, Greater Germany (which occupies nearly the entirety of Europe), and the United States. All four are nuclear-armed. Though there are two nominal alliances – America plus Germany, and the Soviet Union plus China – it cannot be accurately said that any of the Powers are genuinely friendly toward any of the others. The conflicts among them are conducted almost entirely by biotechnologically enhanced super-agents called Levels.

     Alixandra Nico is a nineteen year old Level 4 in the employ of the Extreme Operations department of the CIA. She’s quick, aggressive, eager to move up, and a little naive. She suffers the twin drawbacks of her youth and her parentage: her father is the legendary Philip Nico, one of only four Level 20 ExOps agents in the history of the department and the inventor of a hefty fraction of the biotech used to enhance the Levels. As Blades of Winter opens, Philip is believed to have been captured and executed by Greater Germany for his participation in an atrocity eight years earlier. Alix’s adventures weave in and out of her family’s unique history as she fights her way through the Middle East and Greater Germany on various missions for ExOps.

     Among the major motifs that help to power the plots of the Shadowstorm novels is Greater Germany’s treatment of the Jews. While Hitler’s Reich did conquer Europe, Hitler didn’t last: he was taken out by saner members of his regime shortly after active combat concluded. Those who rose to power after him decided that Europe’s Jews would be more valuable as slaves than as crematorium ash. America’s alliance with Greater Germany is highly uneasy for that reason among others. Eventually, ExOps is tasked to use the conflicts Jewish enslavement has produced as a counterstroke against the Reich and its stranglehold over the oil wealth of half the Middle East.

     These are G. T. Almasi’s debut offerings, as far as I know. He has the chops of a first-class thriller writer, and he displays them in all three books. The action is unrelenting, the intrigue dense and at times next to impenetrable, the cast of characters various and well colored in, and the sociopolitical backdrop for the strange, mostly sotto voce pseudowar among the Great Powers of Almasi’s alternate history exceedingly evocative.

     Highly recommended.

1 comment:

Rick C said...

The first book is $10 on Kindle and $4 for paperback. The second is $10 either way; the third seems to be only an ebook, for $3.

That's some screwy pricing right there.