Tuesday, March 20, 2012

REVIEW: Insurgent, Episodes 1 & 2

Title: Insurgent
Author: Charles Sheehan-Miles
Genre: thriller / near future
Price: $2.99 (Kindle)
Publisher: Cincinnatus Press
Point of Sale: Amazon
Reviewed by: Chris Gerrib

I’ve been a fan of Charles Sheehan-Miles since I reviewed his near-future thriller Republic. Well, he’s finally cranked out another book in the same vein, the new novel Insurgent. It was well worth the wait.

Insurgent is being released in six episodes, and I’ve read the first two so far. All I can say is “wow!” The previous book, Republic, chronicled a near-future West Virginia attempting to secede from the Union. In Sheehan-Miles’ scary vision of the future, the Department of Homeland Security is exercising the near-Gestapo levels of power given to them by the current system, while the various economic machinations of the “One Percent” are ravaging the economy.

Alas, West Virginia fails to gain independence, and the events of Insurgent are set a few months after that failed war, as the US government attempts to pacify West Virginia on the cheap. Any resemblance to our occupation of Iraq is entirely intentional. I don’t think I’m giving anything away to note that the locals aren’t feeling very pacified, and so an insurgency is brewing, despite several attempts by calmer heads to stop the bloodshed.

Sheehan-Miles is a combat veteran of the First Gulf War, and has extensively studied the tactics and events of our more recent adventures in the Middle East. He brings that keen eye for detail to the crisp writing and events of Insurgent. But more importantly, Sheehan-Miles has an understanding of politics. This is not “gun porn” where weapons are lovingly described and people are cardboard cutouts on rent from Central Casting. Here, Sheehan-Miles spends a good deal of time explaining why people are acting as they are, including how innocent screw-ups can turn a tense situation into a disaster.

The world of Insurgent is not one I want to occupy, and hopefully Sheehan-Miles’ writing can be a lesson on how to avoid it. But even without the political overtones, Insurgent is one damned fine read.

Rating: 9/10

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