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Get Ready for World War III
Dale Brown returns to the world stage in Battle Born, picking up loose ends from his 1997 technothriller, Fatal Terrain. That novel began as China launched a small-scale nuclear assault on Taiwan after it declared full independence and sovereignty. At the same time, a nuclear explosion in Yokosuka Harbor outside Tokyo destroyed several American warships, including the aircraft carrier USS Independence. Although the Chinese were suspected, the actual culprit was never positively identified. When the United States tried to halt the PRC's attacks against Taiwan, the Chinese retaliated by launching a nuclear attack against U.S. military bases on Guam. A stunned U.S. struck back, effectively destroying both China's air force and its last remaining ICBMs, but afterward chose not to escalate the conflict.
Two years later, the U.S. is keeping a wary eye on the Chinese and trying to mend fences with nervous allies. Japan, for example, fearful of Chinese aggression, has closed down all U.S. military bases. Little does anyone know that another wild card is about to be played, this time by South Korea. A joint U.S.-Japanese-South Korean military exercise goes horribly awry when South Korean pilots race across the DMZ to support a massive people's revolt against the communists. To everyone's surprise, the bold initiative succeeds. Armed with weapons the Chinese provided to the North, the newly minted United Korea becomes the world's newest nuclear power. Ironically, its most likely target is China, who many fear will launch a preemptive strike on the fledgling nation.
Seeking to contain the situation, a shaken U.S. president turns to Generals Terrill Samson and Patrick McLanahan. Backed by technological marvels developed at Groom Lake (a top-secret military facility) and supported by a feisty group of fliers appropriated from the Nevada Air National Guard ("Battle Born" is Nevada's state motto), McLanahan once again enters the fray, this time trying desperately to avert the beginning of World War III. The odds are against him, but this doesn't phase McLanahan a bit -- he's made a career out of bucking the odds.
Obviously pitched toward technothriller fans (Tom Clancy fans will feel right at home here), Battle Born will satisfy general readers as well. For those who crave a charismatic hero, it stars Brown's long-running series character, Patrick McLanahan. For political junkies, it brims with domestic and international intrigue. There's hardware aplenty for techno geeks, air battles for avionics buffs, and plenty of thrills for action fans.
The book also has a serious side. Although Brown could have better depicted the human cost of the carnage (basically, all we get are numbers), he does a great job of casting light on the current global situation. McLanahan's volatile world differs from our own, but not by much. The Korean situation he depicts is especially plausible -- the conditions described in Battle Born are eerily close to those that exist in those troubled countries today. Hopefully, should events develop in our reality as they do in Battle Born, soldiers like Patrick McLanahan will step forward to save the day.