Written by Adam Hamdy
the three cents.
The debut prose novel from graphic novelist and indie film producer Adam Hamdy is a blistering political techno-thriller, a fast-paced plot loaded with hard action that fiercely looks ahead to where national and global socio-economic and geo-political trends insist on leading us. Set approximately twenty years into the future, Scott Pierce heads the American imports division of a worldwide terrorist cell run by the mysterious man known only as the Spider. But before his rise in the criminal underworld, Pierce was a Special Forces vet who would later become the youngest regional chief for the FSA- the Federal Security Agency, the compartmentalized task force comprised of the previous FBI and CIA. Following the death of his wife, Pierce abandons his life and career and disappears into the network of the Brotherhood, redefining himself with fewer and fewer allies and a growing list of enemies. What’s his game, and what the hell is he playing for?
Hamdy honestly writes a true page-turner, with a huge cast and a story that jumps all over the world, dealing with “torn from the headlines” subject matters in a climate full of desperation and terror. His characterizations are so intense at times, painting the portrait of Pierce as always on edge, wistful of the past while dreading the future all in one punch. The cast of characters is well-populated with glimpses into a stunning range of walks of life, with each and every one offering another side to the greater scheme of things, sort of like what Emmerich and Devlin try for in their movies but fail to ever convincingly accomplish. The story itself is suspenseful and compelling, with themes of economic desolation and ecological depletion sneaking their ways into the greater plot of government bureaucracy and militaristic bravado run amok. In this vein, bravely asked are such questions as how individual a thing can patriotism possibly be? And in a world painted with more shades of gray than either black or white, who or what are the real threats? And what exactly is threatened, anyhow?
And while there are science fictional elements in Battalion, the book is obviously more of an action-adventure yarn ala Don and Laura Pendleton’s Executioner novel series by way of the movie adaptations of Robert Ludlum’s Jason Bourne novels. I just hope Tom Cruise doesn’t read this book and get any wacky ideas, as it’s far better than that. How the technology is utilized is very well-considered though, with energy over-dependence resulting in fuel shortages and the development of Graviton tech, making long distance travel far more expensive but far quicker and more efficient. This branches down into such smaller details as how late-night driving is affected in a world where electricity has grown too costly for many. Most chilling of the political plot points is the concept of three in progress wars creating the lack of soldiers on domestic soil, so security contracts for individual cities are competed for by Blackwater-type organizations of mercenaries. In this world, security stop points staffed with armored and armed soldiers and tanks at major intersections is commonality, whereas corporations no longer see the need to hire guards for their own property. Lots of interesting and logical details give weight to this narrative, just as the savage emotional core unleashes itself more and more throughout. If you were one of the millions letdown by the plot holes and poor grammar of Glenn Beck’s debut political thriller, this book is the fair and balanced for the literate.
I will say this is a thinking-man’s action story, and although the work is drenched in a political atmosphere, it is not necessarily partisan either which way. It is a tale of vengeance and the hunt for retribution and validation and closure on a stage so clustered with misplaced intentions that few can hold their respective heads afloat. Just as in the real world, heroes are rarely who they claim to be, and neither are the villains. Look for it NOW in print and digital formats.