Thoughts on Breach Zone by Myke Cole

2013-August-Breach-Zone-cover-large

art by Larry Rostant

T
his is not a review of Breach Zone. Why is it not a review? Because my name is in the acknowledgements. Why is my name in the acknowledgements? Because I slipped Myke Cole $20. Regardless I can’t review the novel impartially. But, you don’t read me because I’m impartial right? You read me because I have opinions. And I’ve got some opinions about Myke Cole and his newest novel.

breach zoneFirst off, this is the best thing Cole has published to date. And it’s not really close. If you’ve read the first novel, Control Point, you might have been a little frustrated with the character development or found the pace a little choppy. For those who’ve read Fortress Frontier, you might remember the part that linked the first book and the second felt a little spackled together to provide the cohesion that he needed without compromising the intimate story of Col. Alan Bookbinder. They were the kind of flaws that most anyone has in their early work. The result were very good novels, but not the sum total of what Cole was capable of.

Breach Zone has none of these problems. It is, for all intents and purposes, the natural culmination of the series. Not just in terms of plot and theme, but in terms of Myke Cole the writer. He’s come full circle, mastering character in the ways I could only hope he would three years ago. He’s more adventurous with his structure and thus his pacing, using flashbacks to interweave a narrative that reveals information at the right times. He’s writing like an author comfortable in his abilities, daring to take on things he was heretofore unwilling. This is a novel with romance, regret, failure, and betrayal. And it’s executed brilliantly.

If this is the first time you’ve read about Myke Cole, hard to believe if you read this blog, his novels are all about special individuals around the world who came up “Latent”. These individuals have manifested terrifying powers that changed the face of warfare forever. Being a former intelligence officer, with three tours in Iraq, Cole comes at the subject from an intimate place. He seamlessly blends the realities of the modern military with the imagination of D&D to mind blowing result.

In Breach Zone, the conflict hinted at in previous books comes to fruition. Scylla, a negramancer of astonishing power, has figured out how to bridge the planes of reality. Pouring demons and goblins and other mythical creatures into the streets of New York City, the only person who can stop her is Harlequin, a career operator barely tolerated by his own troops.

Harlequin, an aeromancer, served as the primary foil to Control Point’s protagonist, Oscar Brittion. Where Britton was willing to do the right thing, even if it meant rebelling against the military he loved, Harlequin believed in the system. The comparison between the pair of characters is absolutely at the root of the narrative that began in the first novel and comes to a logical, satisfying conclusion in Breach Zone. The pair of characters serve as a conversation Cole has had with himself, how do I reconcile my personal beliefs with those expressed by the organization I serve in? Cole answers it by way of suggesting that, like most things in life, there’s a compromise between the two extreme position.

To me, Breach Zone is Myke Cole’s coming out party. He’s not a one note writer with linear plots and wiz bang action sequences. He’s someone who dares to be better every time he puts pen to page and it’s showing in his work. Am I biased? Yeah, a bit. Take all this as you will. I’m on board and listening to the sweet music of the Cole train (bad pun!).

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Breach Zone comes out tomorrow, January 28. You can pre-order it here. If you’ve not read Myke Cole previously, I encourage you to check out Control Point, the first novel in the trilogy.

Justin Landon

Justin Landon is the Overlord of Staffer's Book Review. When he's not writing things of dubious value to the world, he's at the gym or being a dad. You can follow him on a multitude of social media, which is strongly suggested lest you miss out on vital information that could someday save your life.

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Comments
  • Joe Abercrombie January 27, 2014 at 9:42 am

    If Myke were here, I like to think he’d be deeply upset about the side-gun nonsense going on in that picture. That is no kind of firearm discipline.

    • Justin Landon January 27, 2014 at 9:59 am

      I believe he said, Scylla (the lady pictured) is not trained. She’s a scientist/businesswoman. Her holding a gun that way is an accurate portrayal of her character. Or something.

      • Ben January 29, 2014 at 1:35 pm

        But what’s her cup size?

  • Herb January 27, 2014 at 11:54 am

    Cole has shown tremendous growth as an author with each book. Breach Zone, like Fortress Frontier before it, is a much more ambitious book than its predecessor but also much more successful at meeting its ambitions. I hope that he gets the Fractured Girl out so we can see him do something completely different (much like Ian Tregillis coming out with Something More Than Night after the Milkweed Triptych).

  • […] ‘… this is the best thing Cole has published to date… This is a novel with romance, regret, failure, and betrayal. And it’s executed brilliantly… To me, BREACH ZONE is Myke Cole’s coming out party. He’s not a one note writer with linear plots and wiz bang action sequences. He’s someone who dares to be better every time he puts pen to page and it’s showing in his work.’  –  Staffer’s Book Review […]

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