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These are the chronicles of a book addict, a photo junkie, and an aspiring author, rewriting the very fabric of reality one page (and one snapshot) at a time. From the strange to the unusual; the abandoned to the abnormal; the haunted to the historic; the supernatural to the surreal; the forests of dark fantasy, the cemeteries of gothic horror, and the post-apocalyptic ruins of science fiction are the landscapes of my imagination.
Although tighter, shorter, and a bit lighter on the technological details, Dale Brown & Jim DeFelice's novels have always struck me as almost a TV version of a Tom Clancy blockbuster (a la Op Center). The stakes are very much the same, but the scope and the range are very different, with the few Dreamland novels I have read coming across as intimate, personal accounts of men going into covert battle, as opposed to epic tales of war.
Drone Strike is the 15th novel in the series, but it works completely fine as a standalone tale. There may be some deeper layers to the story that new readers will miss, or relationships where the significance of events will be overlooked, but not having read a Dreamland novel in quite a while I can still say it was a fine read all on its own.
The book does start off somewhat awkwardly, with some very heavy technological detail that very nearly turned me off, but once the stage is set and the details understood, Brown and DeFelice largely let the characters run with the tale. Turk is a solid action hero, a little too eager and patriotic to be real, but precisely the kind of man you want standing between the world and nuclear war. He's surrounded by a diverse cast of characters whom we get to know quite well, which makes the death toll among the heroes almost shocking. The idea of a female President is hardly novel in this day and age, and it was refreshing not to be constantly reminded how awesome or progressive it is, and to simply allow her to be the President.
Aside from an obvious love for military technology (and I must say the mini-drones are very cool), Brown and DeFelice clearly share a interest in exploring the fine line between doing your duty and doing what's right. There were several occasions in the story where that conflict came to a head, particularly where politics and ethics get in the way, but I think the decisions fall on the right side of that line more often than not. In addition, there's some great scenery, with the desert scenes having a lot more depth and detail to them than I expected. These are guys who have done their homework, and who know how to orient the reader in the scene, no matter where in the world the story takes them.
All-in-all, a fun read that I managed to knock off over a few days. Like I said, I'm not sure where Drone Strike falls in the larger overall Dreamland story line, but it's a fine place to start.