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Posted August 7, 2011
Robert Buettner's UNDERCURRENTS is a fast-moving sci-fi spy (say that fast three times) adventure set in the way distant future.
Lt Jazen Parker is called back to his past life as a behind-the-lines operative for the Earth military. He is sent to a planet where technology is only slightly better than the 1920's on earth, in order to find his old partner slash love interest Colonel Kit Born. And it's a good thing for Colonel Born, because she has been captured by the ruling population on the planet and they have every intent of torturing her until she does.
Parker is inserted along with a new partner (Earth operatives always work in pairs) but the newbie gets killed on the way in, and Parker is badly injured on the landing. He soldiers on, makes some unlikely allies, meets a princess, and almost gets killed (seemingly on every third page). The story marches towards an exciting but unexpected climax.
Some of the chapters are maddeningly short (two paragraphs) but overall the story moves quickly, has plenty of action, and is fairly easy to follow. The style switches between third person and first person, which is confusing at first until you figure out the pattern. There's a bit of gore and profanity, but nothing more than PG-13, so don't worry if your teenager wants to read it.
Fans of Heinlein or Asimov may find this lacking or a bit shallow, but if you like military science fiction this won't be a waste of your time.
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Posted March 16, 2014
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