Australian Publication Date – 11 December 2018
World Publication Date – 5 June 2018
An intense and exhilarating military thriller filled with advanced military robots duking it out across America, now that sounds like my sort of novel! Prepare for an explosive technological thriller as Dale Brown, the bestselling author of the Patrick McLanahan series, returns with his latest novel, The Moscow Offensive.
For years, Russia’s ambition to conquer the entire world and defeat the United States has been growing, with its leaders unleashing a series of advanced weapons against the West. Russia’s dominance was only held in check thanks to the actions of United States pilot Patrick McLanahan, who utilised America’s most innovative technology to counter the Russian attacks. However, with McLanahan now believed dead, the brilliant and manipulative Russian president, Gennadiy Gryzlov, sets forth a new attack. Secretly buying a large airfreight company, Gryzlov uses this proxy business to ferry weapons and military personnel into the United States undetected. Identifying a string of high-value targets, Gryzlov attempts to cripple the United States from within, and strike its citizens with terror.
The only force that might be able to stand up to Gryzlov’s machinations is the legendary Iron Wolf Squadron and their parent private military company, Scion Aviation International. Formed by McLanahan and former United States President Kevin Martindale, the Iron Wolf Squadron utilises their advanced Cybernetic Infantry Devices (CIDs), twelve-foot-tall piloted combat robots, whose technology and weapons are capable of overpowering conventional military forces. Currently employed by Poland and its Alliance of Free Nations, the Iron Wolf Squadron is responsible for knocking back several of Russia’s attempted invasions and more ambitious bids for power. However, their success in Poland has alienated America’s selfish and paranoid president, Stacy Anne Barbeau, who is determined to bring Martindale and Scion down.
Taking advantage of President Barbeau’s incompetence, Gryzlov is able to launch a series of attacks, placing the blame on the Iron Wolf Squadron. Now targeted by both the Americans and the Russians, a small detachment of Iron Wolf Squadron CIDs, led by Patrick McLanahan’s son Brad, deploy to the United States to counter the Russians and reveal their involvement. However, the Russians have succeed in reverse-engineering combat robots of their own, and are now fully capable of going toe-to-toe with the Iron Wolf Squadron.
Dale Brown is one of the world’s leading authors of the technological and military thriller genre, having written a huge number of high-octane, electrifying reads since the 1980s. The Patrick McLanahan series is his main body of work and started in 1987 with his debut novel, Flight of the Old Dog. This series has mostly focused on the adventures of its titular character, Patrick McLanahan, across a variety of different military situations, inside and outside of the United States armed forces. These novels have generally been set around the same time as their publication date, meaning that the characters have aged and matured with the series. As a result, in later years, Patrick McLanahan has taken a back seat from the action, with the role of main series protagonist taken up by his son, Brad McLanahan. The Moscow Offensive is the 22nd book in the series, and continues with some of the storylines from the previous books in the series. A 23rd book is already in the works, and The Kremlin Strike is set to come out in early May 2019.
I had not previously read any books in the Patrick McLanahan series before, and while I thought the synopsis sounded pretty awesome, I was not too sure what to expect from it. After reading it I found The Moscow Offensive to be an incredible novel with some fantastic thriller elements and outstanding action sequences. The overall story of this book is extremely compelling, and I had a very hard time putting this book down as I really loved this wide-ranging thriller storyline. I was a little worried about coming into a series 22 books in, but I found that the author did a fantastic job in The Moscow Offensive of introducing the reader to his thriller universe. Throughout this book, Brown provides the reader with ample descriptions and discussions about the book’s characters, technology specs and the relevant history of the various military organisations, countries and fictional military actions. As a result, it is really easy for readers unfamiliar with Dale Brown’s work to come into the Patrick McLanahan series with The Moscow Offensive, and at no point while reading it was I lost or confused about any of the book’s plot elements.
The international thriller elements of this book and the utilisation of current world politics were some of my favourite inclusions in The Moscow Offensive. I liked how the author inserted bits and pieces of real world political and social issues into his writing to create an intriguing and familiar background for the story. On top of this, he also includes the more outrageous elements from his previous novels, including the Iron Wolf Squadron, whose pilots command high tech robots to stop Russia from invading Poland and other Eastern European countries. This is a fun mesh of realistic and out-there settings which I found to be an incredible basis for this novel.
The intelligence battle between the United States and Russia has been a firm and dependable element for innumerable thrillers over the years, and Brown constructs a fantastic story around this battle. The battle is more one sided in The Moscow Offensive, as Brown makes great use of an incompetent United States President character, the use of which has become a much more common element in fiction in recent years (hard to imagine why). It is utterly fascinating to see the various ways that Brown comes up with to attack America and damage the country’s military infrastructure. These attacks have a range of different purposes, from outright attacking the US military, to setting the President against the Iron Wolf Squadron. All of these international and militarist thriller elements are an awesome part of this book, as not only do they help create a great story, but the reader is able to consider the realism of a such a story.
In addition to the cool international thriller elements of this book, I liked the deep look at military technology both real and fictional. Brown, a former US Air Force aviator, has an excellent understanding of modern military hardware and the people that use them, creating an outstanding militaristic narrative as a result. The descriptions and analyses of Russian and American weapons, planes and other vehicles are very intriguing and give the book another deep sense of realism. Of course the most epic inclusions in this book are the CIDs, the large, manned combat robots that the Iron Wolf Squadron have utilised in several of Brown’s previous books to frustrate the Russians in battle. These machines really amp up this series to new heights, and in The Moscow Offensive, Brown ups the ante by having the Russians develop their own combat robots in response to their defeats against the Iron Wolf Squadron. This adds a whole new element to the book, as the United States is attacked by these machines and finally has to deal with the devastation they can cause. Both sides having these machines is incredibly intriguing, as it really allows the author to examine the advantages of these potential machines in a military setting and showcase what sort of damage they could potentially do, even to their creators. These advanced military elements are a terrific part of The Moscow Offensive, and I was really impressed with how Brown was able to combine it with the book’s other thriller elements to create a captivating read.
The Moscow Offensive contains a faction of Americans fighting a covert war with the Russians, with both sides utilising advanced combat robots. As a result, this book is packed full of action and there are a number of fantastic high-tech battle sequences. Without a doubt, the CIDs and their Russian counterparts really are the stars of the book. These two sets of machines go up against a range of conventional military opponents in some massively destructive and very one-sided scenes. Brown cleverly saves the combat between the two opposing groups of combat machine until the end of the book, and does a fantastic job at pumping up the hype for their eventual confrontation. This final climatic battle does not disappoint, as the two sides engage in a brutal and devastating fight that is well worth the wait.
Dale Brown has once again provided the reader with an extremely fun piece of fiction, as he continues his ambitious, clever and entertaining Patrick McLanahan series. As someone coming into Brown’s fictional universe for the first time, I was blown away by the intense action and outstanding thriller elements contained within this book and it is easily one of my favourite new series. As a result, I highly recommend The Moscow Offensive to new readers and those existing fans of the series. This is an excellent choice for anyone looking for some insane action or a truly unique story.