I’ve always enjoyed Michael Williamson’s novels in the Freehold universe. I remember writing a review for “Freehold,” and thinking, “I really want to move there.” His new one “Rogue” his one is no exception. The book contains the hi-speed, lo-drag action we’ve come to expect from Mike’s work, but the thought behind the character, his mental and emotional trauma despite being a highly-trained military operative, and the effort Williamson spent developing the character was really top notch. I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to preview the novel in its earlier stages, but my assessment of its quality has not changed since the book’s release.
When we last read about Kenneth Chinran in “The Weapon,” he was dealing with his own demons after destroying Earth’s infrastructure and causing the deaths of millions of people. This is a character with a conscience and a depth of emotion. He had to deal with the deaths of his teammates. He had to take care of his small daughter. He had to confront his own guilt about destroying millions of innocent lives despite the knowledge that the destruction he and his team wreaked was essentially self defense.
In this novel, Chinran (now using the name “Dan”) is forced to confront another demon – a rogue operative from his team, originally thought dead and now working as a paid assassin. Assigned to stop the rogue by the very man who ordered the attack on earth in the previous book, and who ostensibly was responsible for the consequences, Chinran must work with a relatively inexperienced troop and deal with his own memories and traumatic experiences.
I won’t say any more than this about the plot, because I don’t want to ruin it. I will say that while I enjoy the action and adventure in the novel, I love being dropped into this libertarian-leaning society and exploring the depths of a mind (Chinran’s) that has dealt with trauma, the exhilaration, the horrors of war, the difficulties and doubts that come with military service and protecting his homeland and his way of life.
I can’t imagine it’s a foreign concept to many of the readers here, given how many military vets visit this blog.
If you’re wondering whether you should run right out and get this book…
Yes, you should.
And by the way, if you enjoy Mike’s work… if you think it’s thoughtful and real and fun… get the book today to get him ranked on the on the New York Times list. I think after all his hard work he deserves it.