his was our drive-home cut from the aforementioned Four Summoner’s Tales, an interesting piece about a strange special ops group, kinda a combination of Seal Team Six and Ghostbusters. It was a good closeout to the set.
This is an existing character from an existing series, but that’s okay – you can pick up the characters pretty quick in this novella. The writing is that Hooyah style, all weapon descriptions and “bad guys” and buff, haunted yet caring heroes (not that there is anything wrong with that). The author carries it well – it’s authentic and enjoyable. Kick ass!
Turns out a prior team from this off-the-books outfit was dropped into Afghanistan to supposedly keep bad turban guys from carrying pathogens for use on a Bed, Bath and Beyond stateside. But it turns out their simple ambush falls apart, three of the men getting cross-fired (and presumably tortured) will their racked-with-guilt (and injuries) leader, currently holed up in a cave, encounters something that is best left unencountered. The team’s RFID chips all go out. Then they start back up ten hours later. Yeah, I know, you know, and Joe Ledger, the leader of the second team to go in, knows – impossible!
So things happen. The backup team get ambushed by Taliban fighters who appear to have been dead ten days. And then another group of Taliban get wiped out by something that might have been American servicemen. Or zombies. Or both.
Of course, all the fancy com gear is out (apparently the occult can jam) and so Captain Ledger and his guys are way out on a limb here.
The story flows very well (we followed the audio and the reader was quite good and carrying the narrative). Perhaps my only problem was the end. It didn’t feel, I don’t know, conclusive enough. We finally see the nasty thing behind this event but it pretty much just wallops the fireteam, gets what it wanted in the first place, and that’s that. Oh, there is a bit of a shiver near the end, but it’s one of those moments where, once you think about it, it really didn’t come together (at least not for me).
But still, it was a good twist on an old theme, an interesting mix of the occult and military fiction, so I’ll give it that. A fun read, and in no way tarnishing the rest of the fine stories in this collective. So yes, if you have a thousand miles of driving to do, this story (and the others) will make the miles turn into smiles.