The life of a soldier in action is a whole lot of wait for a few minutes of terror. This seems to hold true for all who lead adventurous lives. Some of those soldiers are so caught in the grip of adrenaline kicks that they would never ever be able to function in a regular 9-5 job again. The members of the STG (Special Threats Group) Empire one are such adrenaline junkies.
Usher and Isaac Marlowe are the members of that group who stand out the most as three-dimensional people. The rest of the group: Kruger, Charlie, Brock and Christie add flavour to the dynamics of the group and their work. All of them are from different backgrounds. The only thing they have in common is that at one point or another “The Veil” was lifted from their eyes and they had an undeniable encounter with the Unseelie Court (Faery). Since that time the various member have worked toward getting the Unseelie off the Earth and back to whatever parallel world they are from. But the Unseelie have the opposite aim. They wish to invade the Earth, eradicate humans and make the Earth their own home.
Mr. Jenkins introduces a variation on vampires that I loved. More different to the glitter and Oooh-Aaahing of people around the world cannot exist. If there is, please let me know. Amoral, hungry, arrogant and bizarre are only a few terms that describe the vampire we get to meet. Vampires and werewolves are part of the Faery world. That makes more sense than them being converted humans. We even meet a zombie-like creature in the form of the infiltrator Owen Sibelius. This is the kind of zombie I understand.
Soldiers around the world have a tough lot in life. For some reason the public seems to expect them to be invisible. If they see fighting, we do not wish to hear about what effect that action has on them. Killing other people as a job must necessarily affect the person doing the killing. But these people are ordered to accomplish whatever aims their idiotic leaders wish to pursue and are not in a position to constantly question orders they are given – even if those orders make no sense. A soldier who reaches Special Forces level must be aware of the questionable legality of some of their orders, yet they have the mental strength that allows them to follow through. For the Special Threats Group, this is seldom a problem. They know that the enemy is a real threat to them and the rest of humanity, and they want these Faery gone. Sadly, of late, recruitment to the fighting groups is slower than the demise of their members and that leaves these people overworked and in serious need of decompression.
I would make a stinky soldier. Part of that has to do with my autism. Sucky balance, don’t know right from left, problem with orders and will have melt-downs when my sensory system is overloaded. Not great soldier material. In fact, I would probably be one of the first people killed if my country was ever invaded again. But I have the ability to see the necessity of soldier-like people in a world where the definition of peace is something we would kill to be right about. While the Faery are a clearly defined group and more or less easy to spot, humans who believe that the Faery need to own the world are a bit more difficult to separate from regular humans. Empire One also fights to rid the world of humans who (once again) have pitted themselves against humanity by providing the Faery with technology and biology that makes taking over the world easier. Because that is how stupid humans are. We really are. We do it all the time. Just take a look around and you will see how incredibly self-destructive humans are.
Another stinky soldier is Ariel – tasked to infiltrate Isiah Argent’s organization. Poor geek. He does a marvelous and terrified job considering what he has to work with. This is another three-dimensional character that Mr. Jenkins portrays well.
There is one part of the story where I feel the need to comment on believability. In one of the scenes with Kruger something was supposed to take around 1-1.5 hours to finish. Once the two things had been taken, that would not be a likely scenario due to stuff leaving. (As clear as I can make it without spoiling the story.)
Warning on lots of violence and gore. Very dark story. Definitely recommended.
Mr. Jenkins provided me with a copy of The Feral to review or not.