The battle begun in “Virtues of War” may be on pause, but it definitely isn’t over. “Ghosts of War” is the second installment in Bennett R. Coles’ Virtues of War series.
While the first book was hard-hitting right out of the gates, the second installment has a long fuse with a satisfying explosion at the end. I really enjoyed it.
What is remarkable about this novel is the attention to character development that Coles has invested in the mains. For the first half of the novel the reader is treated to an in-depth view of how each character is dealing with the trauma they’ve experienced because of their direct involvement in the war on Earth. For some of them, it’s so traumatizing they are stuck in a type of violent feedback loop, others are completely lost and unable to even recognize themselves in the mirror. It’s a journey that is, probably, entirely too realistic for those who are veterans of battle.
In an all-too accurate plot line, the novel opens with Lieutenant Katja Emmes facing the demons of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. She’s struggling to find her place in a world in which she’s not on active duty. Deemed mentally unfit for duty because of the way she is unable to deal with the violence and death she, not only, witnessed but caused; she is lost. Even Katja’s, largely military, family isn’t supportive of her career choice. Afraid of what she might do, Katja seems adrift between two words.
Lieutenant Commander Thomas Kane has married a woman who can help him continue up the rungs of the command ladder. He still feels an intense connection with Katja and uses his new-found influence to do what he can to keep his team together.
Young Jack Mallory – the pilot – has a new face and can’t even see himself when he looks in the mirror. He may seem like he’s too young to have been affected by what happened to them all but beneath the outer stillness there’s a lot going on.
The colleagues come together again but this time, they’re facing a different threat and it’s internal. There’s a terrorist in their midst, in close contact with them all and completely invisible. He’s bent on revenge for the death of his family and will stop at nothing to get it. This is a dangerous man and he’s close to being able to enact his plan.
Once more, I find myself reviewing a book which has a great finish! This is awesome and, also means that I’m not going to reveal what happens. This is a great sequel to the first book and gave me a lot to think about. I haven’t read a better depiction of PTSD in a military sci-fi book and I’m looking forward to the next one.
The Terran military has defeated the invading fleet, but the war is far from over. As a covert agent embeds himself on Earth, advanced Centauri technology enables him to pry into the military’s most secure files, accessing secrets that could lead to millions of deaths.
Lieutenant Commander Thomas Kane, Lieutenant Katja Emmes, and Sublieutenant Jack Mallory again find themselves at the forefront of the planet’s defenses. Yet terrorism isn’t the only threat they face. Given what they’ve experienced, their greatest challenge may be defeating the memories of war.
- ISBN: 9781783294244
- Dimensions: 5 1/8” x 8”
- Paperback: 368pp
- Publication date: August 2 2016
Bennett R. Coles