Posted by Bill Jordin on 12/13/2006
Unto the Breach (2006) is the fourth novel in the Ghost series, following Choosers of the Slain. In the previous volume, the distaff side of the operation against the Albanians pulls their weight. Creata -- Mouse -- saved the DVDs by disemboweling Boris with her laser after he has killed her guard Ivan. Elena and Catrina rescued Oleg and Juris with three boxes of ammo for the MG-240. Katya -- Cottontail -- saved Natalya by beating Bezhmel to death. Mike did get a little fun by offering the Senator the choice of getting out of politics or going down in flames; of course, Mike billed him for the full five million.
In this novel, Mike gets a request from the President for him to drop by for a visit. Mike takes Anastasia along for a shopping spree and she thoroughly enjoys meeting the First Lady and shopping with the General's wife. Meanwhile, Mike is briefed at the Pentagon on a meet between Russian mafiosi and the Chechens to hand over three pocket nukes.
The weapons had been liberated from a Russian research facility by Dr. Telegen Arensky. Apparently his daughter Marina had been taken by the Russian Mafia and used to buy his cooperation. He would be guarded by Sergei Rudenko, a former Spetznaz colonel, and his group of former Spetznaz.
Then Mike has a very private briefing by Colonel Erkin Chechnik, a Russian intel officer, on the real nature of the items being traded in the Pankisi Gorge. He learns that the stolen containers actually house a biological weapon of great potency. Mike still doesn't want to take his Keldara into the Chechen controlled area, but the stakes are exceeding high.
In this story, Mike sets up an operation into the Pankisi Gorge and starts acquiring weapons, equipment and training devices, including a freefall trainer. He also acquires the services of Jay, a humint specialist, whom he puts in charge of Katya. Jay gets her attention at the first meeting and keeps her interest throughout the operation.
Mike is finally forced into acquiring two helicopters -- new Hind-J models -- and two ex-Marine pilots to fly them; fortunately he has no problems with female pilots. Ex-Captains Tammy Wilson and Kacey Bathlik have prior experience with Mike, having meet him after the nuclear explosion in the Bermuda Islands. He also gets the services of a US Army Ranger company to guard the home area while the Mountain Tigers are away and an Ukrainian AN-70 to drop them into the valley.
Then there is the young male tiger roaming the Keldar area. A symbol of Keldara empowerment?
Once again, this work contains explicit violence and sex. Even the President gets sick at the gore in this story. Don't read this book unless you have a strong stomach.
Highly recommended for Ringo fans and for anyone else who enjoys tales of special operations, political intrigue, and a touch of romance.
Harlequin Romance for us guys. . . and then some. . .
Posted by Keith Glass on 12/23/2006
As others have mentioned, John Ringo's writing just keeps getting better and better. Yes, the tales of the Kildar and his crew are perhaps the ultimate in male military fantasy: Bold men, sexy women, riveting action. And yet John goes beyond pure testosterone slush: we care more and more about Mike Harmon, the Keldara, and the rest of his merry band of warriors. Deep pathos, unsuspected romance, realistic politics, it's all there.
I've been following the tales of Mike Harmon, aka "Ghost", and more recently known as the Kildar, since John posted what he called "the Wanker Piece", years ago, on the Baen Bar. It just doesn't get better than this. . . until, of course, the next volume comes out in 2007 ("A Deeper Blue". . .and I've seen the first 9 chapters, it IS even better. . .).
So sit back with a cold bottle of Mountain Tiger beer, and hang on for the ride of your life. . .
Posted by Frank C. Dayton on 1/3/2007
I will buy anything that Ringo writes. Good writer. Always unique. He is as compelling as David Weber. I hope he holds himselfe together long enough to write a 100 more.