I’ve been waiting for this book ever since I first finished Dead Six. If you haven’t read Dead Six, go do so. Now. I’ll wait.
Pretty badass, isn’t it? Well, Swords of Exodus ratchets things up a notch.
It has been about a year since Dead Six came to a close. Lorenzo gets pulled out of retirement, first to rescue Valentine from a black site prison (where Val is getting his mind screwed with even more than usual), then to rescue his brother Bob from Sala Jihan, the Pale Man. Things do not go according to plan.
The action is, in places, even more intense than in Dead Six. There are full-bore, company-level assaults going on in this book. Both Larry and Mike know their weapons handling, and the tactics are depicted well. Mike’s an EOD tech and a combat vet, and while Larry may not have been military, he’s been immersed in the gun culture for a long, long, time, and has a lot of friends who have worn the green at some point.
The book is more than a series of firefights, of course. Val is, if anything, even more messed up than he was before, and is having a hard time finding a reason to keep living. Lorenzo is as bad-tempered as ever, and dealing with the fact that he’s been out of the game for over a year, and is having to get his feet under him on the fly. A lot of consequences are also carrying over from events (and killings) in Dead Six.
The book is definitely a middle book of the trilogy. It ends on a hell of a cliffhanger, leaving me asking I’ve got to wait how long for Project Blue?
Larry has said before that he doesn’t care for a lot of “thrillers” out there. I can’t say I disagree with him; most of the mainstream thrillers today I find boring, and there’s a reason I set out to write my own. Swords of Exodus definitely isn’t a mainstream thriller. Neither Val nor Lorenzo fit the general cliche of the thriller hero, and things are definitely more intense and more unpredictable than your average action/spy novel on the shelves today.
There’s also something else…there is the strong suggestion (though only a suggestion) that there’s something…uncanny going on in the depths of Sala Jihan’s fortress. As someone pointed out, this is in keeping with some of the classics of pulp action/adventure, such as the Fu Manchu stories, or The Shadow. Whether there is actually anything supernatural/unworldly involved…well, the official word from the authors is “neither confirm nor deny.” So, see what you think when you read it.
I’ll admit to being a fan of Larry’s ever since Monster Hunter International. In fact, Jeff Stone’s teammate Larry in the American Praetorians books is based (albeit superficially) on Larry Correia. Mike Kupari is coming along as Larry’s equal, and has just signed for a solo writing project with Baen. They’re both badass writers, and Swords of Exodus is a great example of what they can put out. It’s available here.