an Eshu International novel
Incursion (chapters 1-9)
Pursuit (chapters 10-20)
Complications (chapters 21-36)
Collision (chapters 37-52)
This is a novel written by a wargamer - by one of our own, Dentatus on TMP.
And let's face it... most novels written by wargamers suck. They read like someone's long-winded battle report or RPG campaign. Or they're set in your favorite gaming universe, and they're really not that good but you give them a pass because, well, nothing any good is set in your favorite gaming universe...
So it is with a vast sigh of relief that I can say: this novel is actually pretty good.
Prologue: Outside (pp.1):
GIBSON: I am alone in the black. Below me, a million strands of light skip with data, blue and white, like a vast spider web humming with motion. The Net is alive, even at this hour, and this is only homes and small companies here in Toulouse. I decipher the routines: email and music, vid-bits and late night purchases, transfers and automated memos. Nothing exciting. I spy lime green flashes around the business nodes; crackers riding the lines, probing for holes. They creep along and hop from strand to strand, pounce, flare, and vanish. I watch them until I get bored, which isn't very long. They never do anything new, just re-script packet sniffers to snatch numbers or names. Besides, they're slow, much slower than me. The staff all says I'm the fastest yet.
The novel is set in the near-future, when large corporations dominate world affairs, and there's a requirement for deniable 'black contract' mercenary outfits to handle the most dangerous jobs - tasks that need muscle, firepower, ability to run the Net, and brains.
In that corporate arena, Eshu International has established itself as one of the best, with a pool of talent and experience, and access to some of the best equipment around.
Chapter Three: VAMPIRES IN THE MIST (p. 11):
Euro Cybernetics Integrated. Toulouse, France. New European Union. Same night - 02:59am.
It was overcast and we came in from a mile up. A moonless night, with our new drop rigs, the six of us were inside their perimeter like vampires in the mist. It was that clean. We hit the ground, dumped the packs, and waited. The security routines for the complex had just been raped blind, so we supposedly owned every null space and nanosecond, but we were now officially trespassing.
The novel starts off with a blur of action, written in a fast pace that compels your attention. Pretty soon, the story involves everything from stealth aircraft to combat drones, corporate executives and security forces, pacifists and rogues and zealots - with a serious ethical question mixed into the stew. I enjoyed the read.
And I suppose a number of the action scenes could be converted into scenarios...
Reviewed by Editor in Chief Bill .