Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Review: Siege Line by Myke Cole

Siege Line
Author:  Myke Cole
Series:  Shadow Ops: Gemini Cell 3
Publisher:  Ace, October 31, 2017
Format:  Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 368 pages
List Price:  $7.99 (print and eBook)
ISBN:  9780425269664 (print); 9781101636770 (eBook)

In Myke Cole’s latest high-octane, action-packed military fantasy, the fate of undead Navy SEAL James Schweitzer will be decided—one way or another…

The Gemini Cell took everything from Jim Schweitzer: his family, his career as a Navy SEAL, even his life. Hounded across the country, Schweitzer knows the only way he can ever stop running, the only way his son can ever be safe, is to take the fight to the enemy and annihilate the Cell once and for all.

But the Cell won’t be easily destroyed. Out of control and fighting a secret war with the government it once served, it has dispatched its shadowy Director to the far reaches of the subarctic in search of a secret magic that could tip the balance of power in its favor. Schweitzer must join with the elite warriors of both America and Canada in a desperate bid to get there first—and avert a disaster that could put the Cell in control.

Qwill's Thoughts

Siege Line by Myke Cole is the 3rd and final novel in the Gemini Cell trilogy, a prequel series to the Shadow-Ops military fantasy series. Siege Line completes the story of Jim Schweitzer, former Navy Seal. The novel picks up immediately after the events of Javelin Rain.

The Great Reawakening (the return of magic to the world) has not yet happened (read the Shadow-Ops trilogy for more on that). Magic is being used by the Gemini Cell to create 'zombies' - dead animated by the souls of powerful and evil jinns pulled from the soul storm by a sorcerer. Jim is one of those animated by magic. He is superhuman with a body that is part metal part flesh. He has magical abilities - super strength, extremely acute hearing and sight, and more. Jim has decided that the Gemini Cell and its Director must be eliminated and he will go to any lengths to assure that.

Much of the action in Siege Line takes place in the Northwest Territory of Canada in around the very small village of Fort Resolution. Cole's description of Fort Resolution and the surrounding frigid and snow swept area is vivid. He has more than done his homework when it comes to the area and the people who live there.

Cole introduces many of the residents of Fort Resolution. I am particularly taken with Wilma "Mankiller" Plante, an Afghanistan veteran and the sheriff of Fort Resolution, and one of her deputies Joe Yakecan. Both are pivotal to the novel especially Mankiller who more or less steals the show. Mankiller is of great interest to the Director of Gemini Cell, which means that Jim will do anything to help her.

This is Cole's most emotionally complex novel. Schweitzer's desire to hold on to his humanity, to be with his son again, and to set things right regardless of the cost to himself is palpable throughout the story. Cole delves into the emotions of many of his characters as they face finding out about magic in the world and about devastating loss. Mankiller is deeply developed and her background and motivations are clear. We learn much more about the Director of Gemini Cell and what makes him tick.

There is a very big reveal that is both heartbreaking and makes perfect sense after I got over the shock. I definitely had a "wow" moment followed by an "of course!" moment. Kudos for Cole for both startling me and making so many pieces fall into place with that reveal.

Cole has matured as a novelist throughout the Shadow-Ops and Gemini Cell trilogies. Siege Line is beautifully written with near perfect pacing. It is action packed with nailbiting fight sequences, close escapes, and terrible losses. The cast of characters is exceptionally well drawn.

Am I sad that this was the last novel in the Shadow-Ops world? Incredibly. Cole ends the series on such a high note with so much hope that it's hard to stay sad for long. Siege Line is a wonderful novel full of believable characters, exhilarating action, heroes to cheer for, and so much heart.


Gemini Cell
Shadow Ops: Gemini Cell 1
Ace, January 27, 2015
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 384 pages

Myke Cole continues to blow the military fantasy genre wide open with an all-new epic adventure in his highly acclaimed Shadow Ops universe—set in the early days of the Great Reawakening, when magic first returns to the world and order begins to unravel…

US Navy SEAL Jim Schweitzer is a consummate professional, a fierce warrior, and a hard man to kill. But when he sees something he was never meant to see on a covert mission gone bad, he finds himself—and his family—in the crosshairs. Nothing means more to Jim than protecting his loved ones, but when the enemy brings the battle to his front door, he is overwhelmed and taken down.

That should be the end of the story. But Jim is raised from the dead by a sorcerer and recruited by a top secret unit dabbling in the occult, known only as the Gemini Cell. With powers he doesn’t understand, Jim is called back to duty—as the ultimate warrior. As he wrestles with a literal inner demon, Jim realizes his new superiors are determined to use him for their own ends and keep him in the dark—especially about the fates of his wife and son…

See Qwill's Review here.

Javelin Rain
Shadow Ops: Gemini Cell 2
Ace, March 29, 2016
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 352 pages

The fast-paced, adrenaline-filled sequel to Gemini Cell, set in the same magical and militaristic world of the acclaimed Shadow Ops series.

Javelin: A code denoting the loss of a national security asset with strategic impact.

Rain: A code indicating a crisis of existential proportions.

Javelin Rain incidents must be resolved immediately, by any and all means necessary, no matter what the cost…

Being a US Navy SEAL was Jim Schweitzer’s life right up until the day he was killed. Now, his escape from the government who raised him from the dead has been coded “Javelin Rain.” Schweitzer and his family are on the run from his former unit, the Gemini Cell, and while he may be immortal, his wife and son are not.

Jim must use all of his strength to keep his family safe, while convincing his wife he’s still the same man she once loved. But what his former allies have planned to bring him down could mean disaster not only for Jim and his family, but for the entire nation…

See Qwill's Review here.

The Shadow-Ops Trilogy

Control Point
Shadow Ops 1
Ace, January 31, 2012
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 400 pages

Lieutenant Oscar Britton of the Supernatural Operations Corps has been trained to hunt down and take out people possessing magical powers. But when he starts manifesting powers of his own, the SOC revokes Oscar's government agent status to declare him public enemy number one.

Fortress Frontier
Shadow Ops 2
Ace, January 29, 2013
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 368 pages

The Great Reawakening did not come quietly. Across the country and in every nation, people began to develop terrifying powers—summoning storms, raising the dead, and setting everything they touch ablaze. Overnight the rules changed…but not for everyone.

Colonel Alan Bookbinder is an army bureaucrat whose worst war wound is a paper-cut. But after he develops magical powers, he is torn from everything he knows and thrown onto the front-lines.

Drafted into the Supernatural Operations Corps in a new and dangerous world, Bookbinder finds himself in command of Forward Operating Base Frontier—cut off, surrounded by monsters, and on the brink of being overrun.

Now, he must find the will to lead the people of FOB Frontier out of hell, even if the one hope of salvation lies in teaming up with the man whose own magical powers put the base in such grave danger in the first place—Oscar Britton, public enemy number one…

Breach Zone
Shadow Ops 3
Ace, January 28, 2014
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 384 pages

The Great Reawakening did not come quietly. Across the country and in every nation, people began “coming up Latent,” developing terrifying powers—summoning storms, raising the dead, and setting everything they touch ablaze. Those who Manifest must choose: become a sheepdog who protects the flock or a wolf who devours it…

In the wake of a bloody battle at Forward Operating Base Frontier and a scandalous presidential impeachment, Lieutenant Colonel Jan Thorsson, call sign “Harlequin,” becomes a national hero and a pariah to the military that is the only family he’s ever known.

In the fight for Latent equality, Oscar Britton is positioned to lead a rebellion in exile, but a powerful rival beats him to the punch: Scylla, a walking weapon who will stop at nothing to end the human-sanctioned apartheid against her kind.

When Scylla’s inhuman forces invade New York City, the Supernatural Operations Corps are the only soldiers equipped to prevent a massacre. In order to redeem himself with the military, Harlequin will be forced to face off with this havoc-wreaking woman from his past, warped by her power into something evil…


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