The Moscow Offensive
PublisherWilliam Morrow & Company
Date Published26 March 2019
 
 
ISBN-10
ISBN-13978-0062442031
Formatpaperback
Pages576
Price£ 6.99

The Moscow Offensive

by Dale Brown

The Russians have reverse engineered the futuristic Cybernetic Infantry Devices which halted their advances in Europe – and now president Gennadiy Gryzlov launches hidden attacks on an unprepared America.


Review

Imagine a remake John Sturges’ The Magnificent Seven with its original cast (Yul Brynner and co), plus John Wayne, Angelina Jolie (Lara Croft) and Desmond Llewelyn (Bond’s ‘Q’), along with the man on whom his character was based, Charles Fraser-Smith, inventor of many special ops gadgets in the Second World War and you have most of the recurring characters in Brown’s intensely visual military adventure series.

The Magnificent  Seven was itself a remake of Kurosawa’s epic 1950s samurai drama set in the late 16th century in which a village hires seven r?nin (masterless samurai) to combat bandits. Brown’s version is set in the now, where deteriorating relations between the US and Russia give it a plausible background. Add some sci-fi elements – super-stealth planes, piloted robots with the ability to out-perform the greatest Olympic athlete and the weaponry of a platoon of infantry – plus plenty of violence, buckets of blood, lots of tight corners and you’re almost there.

The villains select themselves. Aggressive and brutal president Gennadiy Gryzlov is focussed of re-absorbing former satellite states in Eastern Europe. For the West, inept president Stacy Anne Barbeau, completely self-centred, is surrounded by disposable sycophants, willing to lie openly to counter criticism which implies ignorance. and waving the ‘Put America First’ banner as a sticking plaster for all ills.

As the story opens Gryzlov, thwarted in earlier attempts to subjugate the Alliance of Free Nations in Eastern Europe led by the Poles and supported by the elite mercenary Iron Wolf Squadron with their 12-feet tall humanoid combat robots, prepares a new plan to directly attack America and undermine the free-marker support of leading tech firm SkyMasters for the European alliance.

While his scientists reverse engineer the Cybernetic Infantry Devices, he secretly acquires a giant air and freight company, creates his own unattributable mercenary force and uses the giant private planes and trucks as cover to transport them to America, led by Colonel Ruslan Baryshev, a former Spetsnatz commander who develops a divinity complex which makes Eli Wallach’s bandit leader in The Magnificent Seven look like a boy scout!

This compelling, fast-paced, and imaginative techno-thriller, a classic black and white story in the traditions of the Western movie, builds to an exciting climactic battle. Brown, long a master of the hi-tech thrillers, shows once again why he stands out in the a crowded military thriller genre.

Keeping a long-running series, however simplistic, imaginative, lively and relevant, is an art form in itself. This is, without doubt, one of his best to date and an absolute must for action junkies who like their politics and next-gen tech based in the present and near future.

More sober readers who keep abreast of current events will hope he is not as good a prophet as he is a writer!

Reviewed 01 May 2019 by John Cleal