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Invasion: Book One of the Secret World Chronicle Mass Market Paperback – Dec 27 2011
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About the Author
Mercedes Lackey is the New York Times best-selling author of the Bardic Voices series and the Serrated Edge series (both Baen), the Heralds of Valdemar series, and many more. Among her popular Baen titles are The Fire Rose, The Lark and the Wren, and The Shadow of the Lion (with Eric Flint and Dave Freer). She lives in Oklahoma.
Steve Libby was born in Cincinnati, Ohio. He has worked as a graphic designer, a teacher of computer graphics, a web designer, and occasionally plays guitar with a seven-piece funk band.
Cody Martin is originally from Scottsdale, Arizona, and currently resides in Florida where he's a self-described anarchist and avid gamer.
Dennis Lee was born in Seoul, Korea and grew up in Canada. He has a degree in pharmacology and is a cell biologist when not writing.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
And if you like super heroes as well as 'urban fiction', you will enjoy this. Because of the background that needed to be filled, there were some slower areas, hence the 4 star rating instead of 5 stars. But I am looking forward to reading more of this! When is the next scheduled publishing?
Echo is an organization of metahumans fighting criminals and other villains among the transformed. Founded by a nephew of Nikolai Tesla, Echo was run by the metahumans Yankee Doodle and Dixie Belle. Echo is most powerful within America, but has branches throughout the world.
In this novel, Bella Dawn Parker is an EMT and touch healer. She works for the Las Vegas Fire Department. Belladonna Blue is the rookie at her firehouse.
Victoria Victrix Nagy is a romance writer and a techno-mage. Vic has panic attacks from a fire incident. Her cat familiar is Greymalkin.
Ramona Ferrari is a detective in Echo Support. She works within the Echo headquarters in Atlanta.
Natalya Shostakovich is the second Red Saviour after her father. Nat is a dedicated communist and a metahuman.
John Murdock is a drifter and a metahuman. He is running from the Program.
Red Djinni is a limited shapeshifter, able to reform his skin. He can take on any face with a few minutes of concentration. He is a petty criminal trying to avoid notice by the Echo organization.
Seraphym is an agent of the Infinite. Sera can see the hopes and fears within a person and all their possible futures.
In this story, Heinrich Eisenhauer surrenders himself at the metahuman detention center within the Echo headquarters in Atlanta. Eisenfaust claims to be a Nazi warrior, but appears to be in his twenties. Echo authorities lock him in a cell.
Echo schedules an interview with Eisenfaust by Ramona, but the visit is delayed. When Romana arrives, the invasion forces are already striking the detention center. Eisenfaust is killed during the battle.
Ramona is shot by the Nazis, but her armored vest limits the damage to broken or cracked ribs. She plays dead and watches the Nazi troopers. She sees Eisenfaust talk to another prisoner. When the Nazis blast Eisenfaust, she sees Slycke escape from his cell.
Vic is working her way to the store to restock on food and kibbles for Greymalkin. She has convinced herself to step out of the car when the invasion starts. Gigantic antigravity war machines fold their way out of trucks in the store parking lot and armored troopers appear. She is so terrified that she overcomes her fear and causes the ground to buckle under the troopers.
Belladonna Blue gets a call from her mother warning of the invasion. Then the station klaxons go off. The vehicle doors open automatically and Bella sees nine foot tall armored suits in the street shooting energy from cannons built into their arms.
A horde of people are crowding into Red Square to demonstrate against the Red Saviour. Natalya is being chastised by the directorate for her political insensitivity, but her attention is elsewhere. She is watching Delex trucks park within the Square. Then metal figures burst out of the trucks and point their weapons at the crowd. She runs outside to face the invaders.
Red Djinni is working on a heist. His team is trying infiltrate the Vault. But some dumb thugs are robbing a bank in the same building, setting off the alarms.
John Murdock is drinking in a bar when the invaders come to New York City. The frontage is blown in, killing several patrons. John herds the survivors out the back door. There he meets a youngster who has just gained the ability to make fire.
Seraphym and her siblings are fighting against the invasion. The All has decided that divine intervention will be the only possible way to save humanity. She stabs a flying war platform with her fiery sword and it goes down.
This tale develops a world of super powers and advanced technology in the midst of a society much like the postwar culture of the 1940s. The villains are Germanic thugs in armored suits and vicious attitudes. The heroes are very good looking and graceful. Reminds one of World War Two propaganda posters.
This novel is based on a pod-cast series: The Secret World Chronicles. It is firmly rooted in the comics and radio shows of the past century. From Superman to The Shadow, superheroes and supervillains have been passed down into the contemporary era. The proximate influence for these series was probably the Wild Cards books.
I have only a passing interest in comic books and old radio shows, but I was intensely interested in such things during my teen years. I have also read some of the Wild Cards books, but not many. So I was not really expecting to enjoy this novel, but I was pleasantly surprised.
The metahumans drive off the main invasion, but small raids continue. The next installment in this series is The Hunt. It will probably be out in 2012.
Recommended for Lackey fans and for anyone else who enjoys tales of superheroes, invasions, and deep secrets. Read and enjoy!
-Arthur W. Jordin
(For anyone who is wondering what "MMORPG" means on the front cover, I believe this stands for Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game)
The world of "City of Heroes" diverges from ours in about 1935, when Hitler's propaganda rallies becan to show off people with superhuman powers - the nazis called them "Ubermenschen" (that figures) and the rest of the world called them metahumans or "metas" for short.
When World War II started only the bad guys had these super-soldiers, and at first the Nazi, Italian Fascist, and Japanese metas enabled the axis to ahve things even more their own way than in the first year of the real WWII. But then, starting during the Battle of Britain, every time the "ubermenschen" were running wild on the battlefield one of the British, American or Russian opponents would suddenly develop similar powers. So the axis supervillains and allied superheroes more or less cancelled out and the war had pretty much the same ending as in the real world.
After the war was over, an organisation called "Echo" was established in the USA to provide a role for Meta veterans and others who showed similar powers, mostly in security and law enforcement, which was needed because those metas who couldn't fit into such a role mostly became supervillains. Similar bodies were established in other countries: in Russia, which does not appear to have had analogues of Gorbachov or Yeltsin and is still very much a soviet state, the equivalent of Echo has an acronym whose Cryllic letters appear to Western eyes as CCCP and is lead by a Commissar called "Red Saviour"
Then in the early 21st century a German meta called Eisenfaust, who was believed to have died in the final battles of the war in 1945, shows up at Echo's Atlanta headquarters, asking to speak to the people in charge. He hardly appears to have aged in the intervening sixty years - we're told he says it hasn't been sixty years for him, so presumably he's either been in suspended animation or has spent much of that time travelling at close to the speed of light. Doubtless we will find out which in a future book. Eisenfaust is trying to warn the peoples of 21st century earth that they are about to be attacked by an organisation called the "Society of Thule" from which he is defecting.
Unfortunately, when he shows up, looking like a man in his twenties, and claiming to be someone born well over eighty years ago and thought to have died sixty years ago, the Echo leadership initially assume that he's a nutter and throw him in a cell.
Will they listen to him in time for his warning about the forthcoming invasion of earth by an army of what appear to be nazi metahumans to do any good? You'll have to read the book to find out.
The chapters are written by various combinations of the four co-authors, which results in some minor changes of style and emphasis from section to section of the book, but I didn't find this to be a problem.
The story style is pretty much a slightly more sophisticated and updated version of a marvel or X-men comic book: loads of action, hosts of heroes and villains most of whom are at least to some degree morally ambiguous but will fight for humanity when the chips are down.