When I reviewed Myke Cole’s first Shadow Ops book, Control Point, back in 2012 I found that the book had a great premise, a fascinating world and thrilling action. I was less than enthused with the novel’s main character Oscar Britton. In Fortress Frontier, the second Shadow Ops novel, Cole expanded the characters and the world by introducing Colonel Bookbinder. The split perspective of that novel, primarily between Bookbinder and Britton, made for some better reading and the expanded world made for amazing set pieces. Breach Zone takes things to the next level and (re)introduces Lieutenant Colonel Jan Thorrson, aka Harlequin, as a central figure. After the events of Fortress Frontier, and with the previous Presidential administration on the outs, Thorsson has become the public “face” of the Supernatural Operations Corps (SOC). At the same time General Bookbinder has been moved into an advisory role thanks to his borderline “treasonous” actions in Fortress Frontier. All of that changes when goblins and other creatures, lead by Scylla, invade Manhattan. Pulled out of his PR position, Thorsson is placed in charge of the defense with limited support from SOC brass.
Fortress Frontier by Myke Cole is the sequel to the author’s debut novel Control Point. Control Point was very much the tale of Oscar Britain and through him served to introduce the readers to the Supernatural Operations Corps. Unfortunately, this was also my problem with the novel I didn’t like Oscar. While there were times in the novel where I certainly sympathized with his plight more often than not I had serious issues with his decision making process. Fortress Frontier sees Cole broadening the scope of his world as the plot delves deeper into the various aspects of the Supernatural Operations Corps and the other “latent” people around the world.
Fortress Frontier primarily divides the story between the fugitive Oscar Britain and his crew (the former members of Shadow Coven plus the healer Teresa) and Colonel Alan Bookbinder, newly latent. The opening chapters of Fortress Frontier take place over the same time span of Control Point as Colonel Bookbinder first manifests his magic and finds himself gated out to FOB Frontier. Much like in Control Point readers get to witness the stark difference between a characters former life and their experiences in the SOC. The perspective in Fortress Frontier is shifted somewhat since Bookbinder, as an officer, offers insights into SOC operations that Oscar Britain never could. Things take a different turn as Fortress Frontier catches up with the finale of Control Point and the change of pace is refreshing.
Shadow Ops: Control Point
Recorded Books, 2012 (PB: Ace, 2012)
Shadow Ops: Control Pointby Myke Cole has been something of a critical darling amongst online reviewers. The premise absolutely sounds amazing: people have begun manifesting magical abilitys and in response the US government takes control of the individuals lives, they are after all essentially lethal weapons, and more or less press gangs them into the military service (or forces them to liven in what sounds an awful lot like a breeding experiment). The story follows Oscar Britton a military man intially tasked with bringing down “selfers,” people who go on the run after manifesting magical abilities, but who finds himself on the run after he himself manifests a rare, powerful and highly prohibited magical ability. Forced to join the Supernatural Operations Corps Britton must struggle with guilt of his own actions and with trying to find a place to fit in.