I like authors that make me curious about the background of their stories. The first thing about The Phonix Variant that set me off was Denton’s trip to Ekne, Norway. Shame on me for not knowing my own country’s history well enough. I had to look the place up. Now I kind of know where Ekne is and I also know that there was indeed a prison camp located there. That is another thing I like in authors – that they do their home-work.
Denton is a fascinating character. Amorality is a state that at times seems enviable and at others horrifying. Not liking Denton is at times impossible because he is so enthusiastic about his projects. Even when he goes against Sophia’s team, he does it with such pleasure and glee that I am unable to dislike him. A well-written antagonist is what he is.
Sophia still struggles with the results of her actions. But at the beginning of the story she goes through a cathartic episode with Aviary. What names people give their children, especially in the US. Aviary cracks her way into Fifth Column’s ones and zeros like nerd she is. Because Aviary is not an operative Sophia and her team underestimate her ability to help. Tsk, tsk. They should know better by now. But they learn to appreciate Aviary for her abilities rather than excluding her from helping due to what she lacks.
The gang needs to keep Denton from getting all three of the Phoenix Variants, and boy are they going to have to work for it. Hurricane Isaac adds to the vectors they need to factor into their battle. For battle it is. As with the previous two installments of the Fifth Column serial, the Phoenix Variant is filled with action and close-up fighting. A lot of property is destroyed while most of the lives taken are operative ones. The action is fun. What gore there is makes sense.
Once again Nathan M. Farrugia’s writing is definitely recommended.
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