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The Assault (Recon Team Angel Series #1)

The Assault (Recon Team Angel Series #1)

4.3 6
by Brian Falkner

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It's 2030, and humanity is losing the war against alien invaders. A Band of Brothers meets Ender's Game in this sci-fi military thriller.

A team of six has been chosen . . .

. . . to infiltrate the enemy's headquarters in the heart of the Australian Outback. The six teens have been modified to look like aliens. They have spent years mastering alien


It's 2030, and humanity is losing the war against alien invaders. A Band of Brothers meets Ender's Game in this sci-fi military thriller.

A team of six has been chosen . . .

. . . to infiltrate the enemy's headquarters in the heart of the Australian Outback. The six teens have been modified to look like aliens. They have spent years mastering alien culture so that they can talk, act—even think—like their enemies. But from the start, the recon mission goes terribly wrong. It's only when they are close to discovering the shocking truth of the aliens' plans that the team is forced to ask:

Who among them is a traitor?

Brian Falkner, author of The Project, Brain Jack, and The Tomorrow Code, delivers a page-turning military thriller with his signature heart-pounding action and unique sci-fi twists.

Hand this to teens who love playing Call of Duty and Halo!

"Falkner supplies a tight story that features a strong plot and believable characters. . . . [He] effectively employs the tropes of both survival and war stories to great effect. While an entirely satisfying read on its own, readers can only hope there is a second installment in the works."—Kirkus Reviews

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Magi Evans
In the scathing Australian desert in the year 2030, a team of six highly trained teenagers move toward Uluru, also known as Ayers Rock, which now serves as a base for the Bzadians, a race of aliens that has taken over all the continents of Earth except the Americas. These teens have prepared for this mission for six years, and have even had their bodies altered to look like Bzadians. Their mission is to infiltrate the base and find out what is really going on beneath that rock. Only their leader, Ryan Chisnall, knows that when they get there, they will also be setting off a nuclear device to destroy the base. But early into the mission, Chisnall begins to suspect that there is a traitor in the group, and continued mishaps along the way reinforce his suspicions. As the mission continues, readers learn more about each person on the team, and, in alternating chapters, a few key aliens are introduced, including their thought processes and conversations. These aliens play important roles in the final action inside the base, as well as in the ultimate escape of the human team. The idea that teenagers can carry off a mission that would normally require experienced commandos might require some suspension of disbelief, but once the action begins, the age of the protagonists is forgotten. Falkner keeps the tension high throughout the story, and readers will race through the book to find out what happens. What the team discovers the aliens are up to will surprise most readers, and would be a fine discussion topic in a literature circle for teens that enjoy science fiction. A glossary of military terms is included. Reviewer: Magi Evans
VOYA - Amy Fiske
Falkner's new offering starts with a bang—six teenagers freefall over the Australian Outback, going in dark on a secret military mission to infiltrate the headquarters of alien invaders. The year is 2030, and the Bzadians have taken over much of the planet. Refugees and survivors now live in the Free Territories, located in North and South America, and are fighting to expel the Bzadians. The teens were selected for Recon Team Angel because their smaller stature allows them to pass as Bzadians. Additional plastic surgery skull enhancements, forked tongues, and chemically discolored skin complete their full alien disguise. Their mission is to sneak into enemy headquarters, located inside Uluru, and find out what the Bzadians are planning. Almost immediately, things begin to go horribly wrong. It appears Recon Team Angel includes at least one traitorous saboteur. Falkner frames the story with a post-mission prologue and end note that lend a journalistic, nonfiction flair to the telling. This is a fast-paced, action-filled war story. That the story is also extraordinarily implausible is unlikely to deter the science fiction fanboys that will devour this book in one sitting. The action begins on the first page and continues at a brisk pace. The book has all the elements of a box-office blockbuster: action, adventure, suspense, treachery, a little romance, and a fight for survival in the face of an evil enemy. A quick read, this is a great choice for reluctant readers and fans of action and science fiction. Reviewer: Amy Fiske
School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up—Recon Team Angel consists of six teens between the ages of 14 and 18. This squad stands between us, the people of Earth, and complete subjugation. It is the year 2030. Sixty percent of the surface of the planet is controlled by the Bzadian. Millions of people have died or been forced into refugee camps. Separated by water from the rest of the world, the last remaining outpost of freedom is the Americas. Now, thoroughly trained and disguised as "Pukes," six young people prepare to enter the belly of the beast and overthrow the alien command post in Australia. What they don't know is that one of them is a traitor. As much adventure thriller, on the order of Alistair MacLean, as futuristic speculative fiction, the novel has the feel of an early Heinlein work. Sympathetic characters, snappy dialogue, and quickly paced action make it hard to put down.—Jane Henriksen Baird, Anchorage Public Library, AK
Kirkus Reviews
After the aliens take over, it's up to the teenagers to save humanity. Earth has been taken over by an alien species, the Bzadians, who are determined to wipe out all humans as soon as possible. And it's clear that they are plotting something big to help them succeed, a weapon that is kept shrouded in mystery in a secret installation deep in the Australian Outback. Six teens have been surgically altered to resemble the Bzadians; they are led by Lt. Ryan Chisnall, aka Lucky. He and his team of Angel infiltrators have been living as Bzadians for months just to accomplish this one mission: Determine the nature of this secret weapon and destroy it before it can be deployed. Only Chisnall knows there is another mission as well…to discover the identity of the spy who has already become a member of his own team. Falkner supplies a tight story that features a strong plot and believable characters; the third-person narration shifts focus from Chisnall and his team to Yozi, a member of the Bzadian Republican Guard. Within his science-fiction framework, the author effectively employs the tropes of both survival and war stories to great effect. While an entirely satisfying read on its own, readers can only hope there is a second installment in the works. (glossary) (Science fiction. 12 & up)

Product Details

Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
Recon Team Angel Series , #1
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.80(w) x 8.04(h) x 0.66(d)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Read an Excerpt


Faulkner / ASSAULT

Book 1—­Recon

1. Where Angels Fear

[Mission day 1]

[2335 hours local time]

[F-­35 Lightning II Stealth Bomber, somewhere over the center of Australia]

“Angel Chariot, this is Heaven. How copy?”

“Heaven, this is Angel Chariot, clear copy, over.”

“Angel Chariot, we have zero five bogies now airborne in your proximity. Repeat, zero five bogies. Expect enemy craft approaching from your six. Anticipate interception in one seven mikes, confirm.”

“Angel Chariot confirming zero five bogies, interception in one seven mikes.”

“Confirmation acknowledged, Angel Chariot. Proceed as planned. Good luck. Out.”

The voices in his ear fell silent, and Lieutenant Ryan Chisnall glanced around at the vague shadows that were the five other members of his team, crouched together in the impossibly small space in the bomb bay of the aircraft. A space that was not designed to hold human beings.

The other members of the team couldn’t hear the voices of the pilot (snug in the cockpit somewhere above them) and their mission controller (safe thousands of miles away at the Operational Command Center). Only Chisnall had a link to this channel, so the others did not know that five enemy jets were heading their way and the first would be right on their tail in less than seventeen minutes.

He decided not to tell them.

A ripple of fear welled up from his gut, stretching dark fingers out around his chest. His heart began to race as a tingling sensation spread from his fingertips to his shoulders.

He took a deep breath and expelled it slowly, humming to himself as he did. Panic, not the circumstances, was the killer. That was what his combat instructor had rammed home again and again. Fear is your friend, keeping you sharp. But panic is the unclean spirit, twisting your soul, consuming logic, training, and, finally, you. So Chisnall hummed to himself and, in doing so, banished the panic to the far corners of his mind.

“Okay, final sys-­checks,” he said in a steady voice.

The noise inside the fuselage of the plane would have deafened a corpse. The bomb bay had been heated and pressurized for this mission, but not soundproofed. With the continuous roar from the other side of the bomb bay doors, it was like being in front of the speakers at a thrash metal concert. If they hadn’t all been wearing comm units, talk would have been impossible.

One by one, each of the team members’ systems checks came up on his HMDS. Five of them had sys-­OK, including him, but one was showing a problem.

“Angel Three, you’re showing a helmet breach. What’s going on, Hunter?” Chisnall could barely see Specialist Stephen “Hunter” Huntington, although he was no more than a few feet away from him. The darkness in the fuselage was almost absolute. The only light came from the ready lights on the six half-­pipes on the floor beneath their feet.

“Just scratchin’ my nose, Angel One,” Hunter replied, and his sys-­check lit up before he finished speaking.

“Picking your nose, you mean,” Private First Class Trianne Price said.

“This is Angel Five. I have visual confirmation, over,” Private First Class Blake Wilton said. “He was definitely picking.”

“Mate,” Sergeant Holly Brogan said, “if Hunter could pick his nose, would he have picked that one?”

Hunter’s voice came immediately in Chisnall’s ear. “Angel One, I wish to report Sergeant Brogan for breach of regulations, subsection C, paragraph six—­intentionally dischargin’ a joke that’s older than my grandmother, without regard for the safety of others.”

“Is not Price your grandmother?” Specialist Janos “Monster” Panyoczki asked.

“Bite me,” Price said, and there was a muffled thump on the comm.

Chisnall grinned. Nearly eighteen, “Phantom” Price was the oldest member of the team.

The pilot’s voice cut across the banter. “Angel One, this is Angel Chariot, how copy?”

“Angel Chariot, this is Angel One. Clear copy,” Chisnall replied immediately.

“Angel One, I have six greens showing on my board. Please confirm you are ready to Echo Victor.”

“Angel One confirming six sys-­OKs. All angels ready to fly, over.”

“Echo Victor in approximately one four mikes, confirm?”

“Confirm Echo Victor in one four mikes.” Chisnall checked his pulse again. Fourteen minutes until the EV, which was just a short way of saying they were going to be ejected from a fast-­moving jet at 32,000 feet.

“Four mikes! That’s crap,” Wilton said. “Let’s go now. I can’t wait to stick it down those Bzadian throats. Booyah!”

Chisnall thought he could hear a tremor in Wilton’s voice, despite all his bravado.

“You know we can’t,” he said. “We have to wait until the pilot fires off chaff. As soon as one of the Pukes gets missile lock on us, we are out of here.”

“So hit the chaff and let’s go,” Wilton said.

“Wilton, ya plonker,” Hunter said. “If Angel Chariot releases chaff before one of the Pukes gets missile lock, then the Pukes start saying to themselves, ‘What’d he do that for?’ And the last thing we need is a bunch of suspicious Pukes on our six.”

“Yeah, and if the Puke gets a shot off before we EV, then we’re CFC!” Wilton said.

“CFC? What is this CFC?” Monster asked. “Not in the SMTPA manual.”

“Crispy fried chicken,” Holly Brogan informed him.

Chisnall shook his head. “If we don’t jump in the chaff, then we might as well take out a front page ad on Google, telling the Pukes we’re on our way.”

“I know it, LT,” Wilton said. “But that don’t make it any easier to sit up here with our butts hanging out waiting for the first Puke fast mover to kick us where it hurts.”

“You think?” Price said.

Silence spread like a thick cloud through the confined space. This was it. The real thing. A combat drop over enemy territory. A first for all of them. Chisnall couldn’t see their faces, but he could sense their tension.

The timing had to be perfect. A second wrong either way and the mission was compromised or they were dead. Which pretty much amounted to the same thing.

The Operational Command Center, with its all-­seeing satellite eyes, was back on the comm to the pilot of their aircraft.

Meet the Author

A native New Zealander, BRIAN FALKNER now lives on the other side of the Tasman Sea, in Australia. To research the settings for The Assault, he camped in the Australian Outback, sleeping under the stars and visiting Uluru. Brian is also the author of The Tomorrow Code, Brain Jack, and The Project. Find him online at brianfalkner.com.

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The Assault 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A page turner, you won't want to put it down!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of the best books ive ever read
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
~until then...~
Anonymous More than 1 year ago