Battle Born (Random House Large Print)

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9780375408618: Battle Born (Random House Large Print)

Author of an extraordinary string of New York Times bestselling novels, Dale Brown is the undisputed master of the aerial techno-thriller. Filled with explosive adventure, unforgettable characters, and authentic technology set against political scenarios so real they often anticipate world events, each of Dale Brown's novels is a major event. Now he returns to the airspace only he can truly call his own, in a blockbuster novel about a world on the brink of World War III and a new generation of brash young heroes...

Patrick McLanahan is back. The veteran navigator-bombardier and brigadier general in the U.S. Air Force has been sent to a B-1B Lancer unit in Nevada to develop and train a tactical strike unit designed to seek out and destroy enemy missiles. He has his pick of the most aggressive Type A personalities in the flying game, though it may take years to pull this bunch of mavericks together to fight as a team.

Then time runs out. The fragile peace in Asia is shattered when what was supposed to be a joint U.S.-Japan-South Korea mock bombing raid turns lethal. Instead of hewing to the script, South Korean fighter-bombers streak north to destroy several North Korean command-and-control, special forces, and secret police centers in support of a massive people's revolt against the Communist regime. To the world's surprise, the raids are a complete success. The North Korean military surrenders. The borders are thrown wide open and the United Republic of Korea is born.

But this United Korea is also the world's newest nuclear power. It refuses to destroy thousands of captured nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons, which it sees as potent protection against the massive threat of China to its north. Vowing never again to be anyone's puppet, it is ready to defy the United States and even attack China in order to preserve its sovereignty.

Thus begins a conflict that threatens to embroil all of Asia. Enter McLanahan's raw, audacious team. Sent into the fray both to protect United Korea and to stop it from touching off World War III, Patrick's small but potent hunter-killer bomber force has the world's newest, most powerful nonnuclear weapon at its disposal--if its aces ever stop fighting each other long enough to start fighting the enemy....

Relentlessly paced, filled with the you-are-there feel of supersonic flight, Battle Born delivers the technology, action, and drama that Brown fans savor. It is this marvelous storyteller's most exciting and satisfying novel yet.

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Review:

Dale Brown, himself a former air force captain, knows that a good techno-thriller succeeds by its careful blending of the hard realism of modern warfare with the fantasy of sci-fi's best alternative reality stories. In Battle Born, Brown takes pains to frame his reality with all the necessary details. He begins with an extensive, international cast list; three pages of contemporary excerpts from newspapers that address the instability of the Korean peninsula; and finally, an explosive battle simulation in the Nevada desert, rich with the techno-speak of modern warfare: "'Radar altimeter set AUTO, bug set to 830, radar altimeter override armed,' the copilot announced on the interphone. 'Both TFR channels set to one thousand hard ride. Wings full aft. Flight director set to NAV, pitch mode select switch to TERFLW, copilot.'"

As the novel unfolds, we learn of a people's revolt against the Communist leadership of North Korea. The South Koreans, already in possession of their first nuclear weapons after the failed kamikaze run of a North Korean pilot, take advantage of the weakness and destroy key tactical sites in the North, forcing a stunning surrender of the Communist leadership and the reunification of Korea. Now in possession of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons, the once fractious Korean peninsula poses a serious threat to China, and the world seems poised for World War III. Enter USAF brigadier general Patrick McLanahan. As head of a new B-1B Lancer tactical strike unit based in Nevada, McLanahan and his men target and destroy enemy missiles. With their Top Gun dramatics, the Lancer unit seems the only safety between stability and global annihilation as Korea and China face off.

While all this seems a bit too fantastic and fast-paced at times, Brown's battle dialogue maintains a narrative intensity that keeps it all fun. He does seem to underestimate the impact (pun intended) of using nuclear weapons in warfare, though; the book is premised on a history that involves the Chinese having used them in strikes on Taiwan, and this new tale treats the subject with somewhat less gravity than might be imagined. That said, one can't help but return to those opening newspaper clips from time to time and wonder if the seeds of Brown's world are indeed contained in the ominous tea leaves of current events. --Patrick O'Kelley

From the Back Cover:

"A first-class thriller."
-- Abilene Reporter-News

"Brown serves up enough--lethal hardware and over-the-top action to satisfy the most discerning techno-thriller fan."
-- USA Today

"Brown's poetry lies in his exhaustive tribute to the machinery of war, and fans will thrill to it once again in this solid addition to the series."
-- Publishers Weekly
Also by Dale Brown

The Tin Man

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