Patrick McLanahan returns to dramatic flying action as conflict between North and South Korea sparks an international crisis - in the latest high-tech, high-action thriller from ex-pilot Dale Brown, the bestselling author of Flight of the Old Dog and The Tin Man.Filled with explosive adventure, unforgettable characters and cutting-edge technology, Dale Brown's New York Times bestselling novels have established him as the undisputed master of the aerial technothriller. Now he returns to the air in a spectacular novel about a new generation of brash young heroes...Aerial combat expert Patrick McLanahan's latest challenge is to turn a group of young, maverick pilots into America's premier tactical strike force. This already difficult task takes on unexpected urgency when the fragile peace in Asia is shattered as South Korean fighter-bombers attack North Korea in support of a massive people's revolt. To the world's surprise, North Korea surrenders, the borders are thrown open and the defiant new United Republic of Korea is born - ready to use its reserve of nuclear warheads to take on the USA and even the might of China in order to preserve its sovereignty. Enter McLanahan's raw, audacious team, sent into the fray both to protect United Korea and to stop it...
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Dale Brown, himself a former air force captain, knows that a good techno-thriller succeeds by its careful blending of the hard realism of modern warfare with the fantasy of sci-fi's best alternative reality stories. In Battle Born, Brown takes pains to frame his reality with all the necessary details. He begins with an extensive, international cast list; three pages of contemporary excerpts from newspapers that address the instability of the Korean peninsula; and finally, an explosive battle simulation in the Nevada desert, rich with the techno-speak of modern warfare: "'Radar altimeter set AUTO, bug set to 830, radar altimeter override armed,' the copilot announced on the interphone. 'Both TFR channels set to one thousand hard ride. Wings full aft. Flight director set to NAV, pitch mode select switch to TERFLW, copilot.'"
As the novel unfolds, we learn of a people's revolt against the Communist leadership of North Korea. The South Koreans, already in possession of their first nuclear weapons after the failed kamikaze run of a North Korean pilot, take advantage of the weakness and destroy key tactical sites in the North, forcing a stunning surrender of the Communist leadership and the reunification of Korea. Now in possession of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons, the once fractious Korean peninsula poses a serious threat to China, and the world seems poised for World War III. Enter USAF brigadier general Patrick McLanahan. As head of a new B-1B Lancer tactical strike unit based in Nevada, McLanahan and his men target and destroy enemy missiles. With their Top Gun dramatics, the Lancer unit seems the only safety between stability and global annihilation as Korea and China face off.
While all this seems a bit too fantastic and fast-paced at times, Brown's battle dialogue maintains a narrative intensity that keeps it all fun. He does seem to underestimate the impact (pun intended) of using nuclear weapons in warfare, though; the book is premised on a history that involves the Chinese having used them in strikes on Taiwan, and this new tale treats the subject with somewhat less gravity than might be imagined. That said, one can't help but return to those opening newspaper clips from time to time and wonder if the seeds of Brown's world are indeed contained in the ominous tea leaves of current events. --Patrick O'KelleyFrom the Inside Flap:
Performance by David Purdham
Four Cassettes, 6 hours
Patrick McLanahan is back. The veteran navigator-bombardier and brigadier general in the U.S. Air Force has been sent to a B-1B Lancer unit in Nevada to develop and train a tactical strike unit designed to seek out and destroy enemy missiles. He has his pick of the most aggressive Type A personalities in the flying game, though it may take years to pull this bunch together as a team.
Then time runs out. The fragile peace in Asia is shattered when what was supposed to be a joint U.S.-Japan-South Korea mock bombing raid turns lethal. Instead of hewing to the script, South Korea fighter-bombers destroy several North Korean special forces and secret police centers in support of a people's revolt against the communist regime. To the world's surprise, the raids are a success. The borders are thrown wide open and ther United Republic of Korea is born.
Thus begins a conflict that threatens to embroil Asia. Enter McLanahan's raw, audacious team. Sent into the fray both to protect United Korea and to stop it from touching off World War III, Patrick's small but potent bomber force has the world's newest, most powerful nonnuclear weapon at its disposal-if its aces ever stop fighting each other long enough to start fighting the enemy...
Relentlessly paced, filled with the you-are-there feel of supersonic flight, Battle Born delivers the technology, action, and drama that Brown fans savor. It is this marveleous storyteller's most exciting and satisfying story yet.
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