Blaine Lee Pardoe, |
Battletech: Operation Audacity
I don't want to scare off new readers of the BattleTech series when I mention that Operation Audacity is the 55th book in the saga. While it helps to have some background on many of the characters and the history behind of the series, it is not actually necessary if you are simply looking for some light reading with a lot of action. Blaine Lee Pardoe does a pretty decent job of (re)introducing old personalities in a new storyline that even a neophyte of the BattleTech books can follow.
For those of you who are not familiar with these books, the storyline takes place in the future (as you might have guessed). "Mech Warriors" are the norm on the battlefield. While there are many variations of them, think of a general "Mech Warrior" as a three-story-tall humanoid-looking machine bristling with missiles and lasers. The cockpits generally hold one individual who controls the warrior as an extension of himself.
Battles are fought a little differently. In an age when total annihilation of your foes is a little more easily done than today, battles are often (but not always) waged until one side cedes to the victor. There is still a lot of death and destruction, but there is a kind of honor that prevails when the winner of a conflict is known. This honor code is an extension of the clan mentality the prevails in this universe.
In Operation Audacity, the clan to watch out for is known as Clan Jade Falcon. Taking advantage of an on going Civil War in the Lyran Alliance, Clan Jade Falcon goes on the offensive to conquer and claim multiple worlds. Prince Victor, realizing that the feud with his sister, Katrina, is a mute point if the Lyran Alliance falls to the Jade Falcons, sends his trusted Major General Archer Christifori with one of Katrina's men, Lt. General Adam Steiner, to stop the invasion.
The story gets interesting when you have two leaders who are sworn enemies coming together to repel a third party. How are they supposed to trust each other? How do you know that the other leader is not simply allowing you to drain your men and resources on the invader only to take advantage of your weakness to pounce on you in the end if Clan Jade Falcon doesn't wipe you out in the first place? For those of you familiar with the past of Archer Christifori and Adam Steiner, the book might be worth picking up just to see how these two interact with each other.
For the rest of you, I am not sure quite how to promote the book. On the one hand, the action is certainly fast paced, the battles are many, and Pardoe is certainly a master at this style of fluff, which he calls "beer-and-pretzel sci-fi." On the other hand, one battle pretty much looks like the next in the sense that missiles fly (but only a few hit their target), lasers burn through mech armor and Archer always wins. (Oops! Should I have said that?)
My guess for the new reader is that the most difficult aspect of the book would be the lack of knowledge on the differences between the Mech Warriors. With names like "Mad Dog," "Stealth," "Thunder Hawk," "Black Hawk," "Hell Hound," "Behemoth" and the like, I can imagine that the new reader would need a field manual of some sort. Well, if you are that interested in the series, there is a book called the BattleTech Field Manual: Free World's League available at Amazon.com that might clear up some confusion. You might also look up BattleTech: Technical Readout 3025.
Pardoe is quite a prolific writer. He has penned numerous books in the BattleTech and MechWarrior series including Highlander Gambit, Impetus of War, Exodus Road, Roar of Honor, By Blood Betrayed, Measure of a Hero and Call of Duty. Overall, he has published more than 40 books!
BattleTech: Operation Audacity is a book that many sci-fi readers will enjoy. The plot is light, but the action is frequent and explosive. I feel that most readers of the BattleTech series will find that book 55 is a better than average addition. New readers will be able to follow along, but might feel a little lost at times. For new readers, however, remember that this is easy reading. Don't expect to exert much brain power while you enjoy some time in another universe.