Military science fiction certainly has a long history. I grew up reading the Tom Corbett, Space Cadet series, and Isaac Asimov’s (as Paul French) David Starr, Space Ranger books, Robert Heinlein, and then the military sci-fi of Jerry Pournelle in the 1970’s. Despite this background, I would not consider myself a fan of the military sci-fi fiction. Myke Cole’s Sixteenth Watch caught my eye, however, because I know Cole to be a strong writer of action/adventure and that he knows his military.
The Coast Guard has a long history of protecting … well … our coasts. But as we expand our territories into space, so too do our coastlines expand. It is definitely realistic that the Coast Guards will become a significant part of our (United States) Space Force, defending our new territories.
In Sixteenth Watch (I loved learning the meaning of this term) Captain Jane Oliver, who has typically led search-and-rescue missions and is now looking at retirement in her immediate future, is suddenly thrust into a precarious position of preventing the first lunar war (which would easily spread into a world war) when both Chinese and American companies are mining helium-3 and their intense territorial battle leads to shots fired.
When the Navy and the Marines get involved, the tension escalates and it is up to Oliver and the Coast Guard to ensure that cooler heads prevail.
As someone who is not generally a fan of military sci-fi, I found this to be an enjoyable read. The pace is brisk but not at the expense of the story. The story, however, is a little bit thin. There is tension and the attempt to diffuse the tension and that’s pretty much it. We get a little bit of character development and a fair amount of explanation as to how things work in the military environment.
Looking for a good book? For a quick action read, Sixteenth Watch by Myke Cole definitely hit the spot, but it’s not the sort of book that will have me on edge, waiting for the next volume in a space coast guard series.
I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher, through Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.
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author: Myke Cole
publisher: Angry Robot
paperback, 317 pages