I finished reading the electronic advance reader’s copy last night. Overall, I’m glad I read it, though it was quite infuriating.
The book is set about a decade in the future. In the book’s world, anthropogenic climate change and global warming turned out to be a hoax; instead, a global cooling (caused by solar variation) was beginning. At the same time, the bird flu (H5N1) became a major pandemic. The United States was governed by the democrats and “the bitch” (a thinly disguised demonisation of a certain democrat presidential candidate), who handled everything wrong.
The book is a fictional autobiography (or a series of blog posts) by a US army officer who became famous during those turbulent times, first commanding a company finding its own way back home after being abandoned in the Middle East (the later stuff I won’t describe to avoid spoiling the book). The Last Centurions is a television propaganda show featuring his unit in action, intended to counterspin anti-military news reports.
Several chapters early in the book are pure political ranting by the narrator: how anthropogenic climate change is false, how socialized medicine is bad (and causes lots of unnecessary deaths during a pandemic), how republicans are good and democrats are evil et cetera et cetera et cetera. (Then again, it’s a Ringo book, political ranting is a given.) Given my political persuasion, it was not easy to read: I kept yelling, “where are your footnotes!” I actually tried to verify some of the claims the narrator makes, and found nothing persuasive. Still… in the end, it all turned out to be justified. It explains the character, and it explains the world. Perhaps it should be a bit trimmed during editing (remember, I read the author’s submission draft which has not been through the usual editing and copyediting cycles), but a lot of it is necessary for the story.
The premise that anthropogenic global warming is a false theory made it very hard for me to suspend disbelief. However, given that premise (and the premise of a totally incompetent government in the USA), the story is compelling and interesting. There’s a quite a bit of military action as we have become to expect from Ringo. The beginning grabbed me, – apart from the couple of chapters of exposition – held my attention tightly to the end, and left me shell-shocked.
I especially liked the wife’s edits. I’m sorry that we didn’t get to see their courtship.
I don’t know if I’ll ever want to re-read the book, but I’m still rating it at 5/5. The book is now available as an e-ARC, and will be released as a regular book in August. There is a companion site at www.thelastcenturion.com.