Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Review: DEFENDER: INTREPID 1 by Chris Allen

Defender: INTREPID 1 (INTREPID, #1)Author Chris Allen’s protagonist Alex Morgan is a perfect blend of Bond and Matthew Reilly’s Scarecrow. Thrust into back-to-back missions, Morgan’s introduction is nothing short of fierce and quickly establishes the character as a hardened military vet with a penchant for justice underlined by an ability to carry out mission objectives without preservation for self.

The action sequences are intense; described in a manner which completely eradicates the world around you and places you inside the fictional landscape scared by the atrocities of war and moulded by intelligence agency corruption.

A mission to Malfajiri uncovers a harsh reality in a spy gone rogue - vicious killer Victor Lundt. Morgan, having lost a friend and fellow operative in Sean Collins via a gruesome death at the hands of a torturous group has to swallow his personal vendetta in favour of serving a greater good. Amidst the chaos of battle, an evacuation delivers a cinematic display of modern warfare and ground tactics yet through Arena Halls (under the guise of a Red Cross worker), author Chris Allen uncovers a semblance of beauty in the face of brutality.

It’s the professional relationship between Arena and Morgan that sets the tone for the remainder of the novel. The chemistry between doesn’t feel forced or without cause. As an operative in her own right, Arena is far from the damsel in distress, in fact Allen goes to great lengths to switch the script by reversing the roles with Arena just as capable as Morgan albeit a little less intimidating than the soldier.

DEFENDER is a multi-layered action thriller which encompasses all the hallmarks of a Hollywood big budget blockbuster. What separates it apart from the contenders is the down to earth Morgan and complex web of lies and half truths spun by the intelligence agencies. Knowing who to trust throughout this story will keep you on your toes.

DEFENDER is a great start to what promises to be an exciting series. The foundation of heroes is laid, the agency administrators established, and background formulated for a number of interesting characters.

The sequel HUNTER: INTREPID 2 is available in December 2012 and I, for one, can’t wait. INTREPID 1 gets 4.5 stars from me.

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