Shadow Ops: Fortress Frontier by Myke Cole

The Great Reawakening did not come quietly. Across the country and in every nation, people began to develop terrifying powers—summoning storms, raising the dead, and setting everything they touch ablaze. Overnight the rules changed…but not for everyone.

Colonel Alan Bookbinder is an army bureaucrat whose worst war wound is a paper-cut. But after he develops magical powers, he is torn from everything he knows and thrown onto the front-lines.

Drafted into the Supernatural Operations Corps in a new and dangerous world, Bookbinder finds himself in command of Forward Operating Base Frontier—cut off, surrounded by monsters, and on the brink of being overrun.

Now, he must find the will to lead the people of FOB Frontier out of hell, even if the one hope of salvation lies in teaming up with the man whose own magical powers put the base in such grave danger in the first place—Oscar Britton, public enemy number one…

Myke Cole’s Control Point was one of my favourite debuts last year. It had action, a sophisticated magic system and most importantly characters that you care about. Now with the sequel Fortress Frontier, Cole has done the impossible and produced an even better novel. Not only are we introduced to a new lead character Colonel Alan Bookbinder, which I’m sorry to say has overtaken my love for Oscar Britton, but Cole has also greatly expanded the world as well as enhanced the magic system.

The thing that annoyed me the most in Control Point was Oscar Britton’s indecisiveness. One moment he would root for the US government and next he would condemn them for their actions. For a soldier, he sure doesn’t like to follow orders. However with Bookbinder, you have a true war hero. Cole does a marvellous job painting Bookbinder as a reluctant leader, an unlikely hero that brings people together in times of need. Colonel Bookbinder has never seen any action as he’s been pushing paper his entire career and when the Colonel suddenly finds himself in charge, he does the only thing he can which was to fake it until he made it. In the end the base was saved because of Bookbinder’s decisive actions.

Oscar on the other hand is on the run with his group after wrecking the Forward Operating Base and cutting it off from the Home Plane. While Oscar’s transformation in this book is less spectacular than Colonel Bookbinder, his need to do the right thing and his sense of honour is still very admirable. Even though his character takes a backseat in this book, Oscar still lights up the scene whenever he appears on the page.

In Fortress Frontier we learn that Americans are not the only force to have a presence in the Source. The Sahir Corps, India’s counterpart to SOC has also established a base in the magical plane. Bookbinder’s suicidal trek across the Source to the Indian base allows Cole to reveal all sort of creatures that he has been hiding from us. When you get the book, remember to pay attention to the gorgeous map drawn by Priscilla Spencer.

A sequel that focuses on an entirely new character would put the fear in most authors. Will it confuse the fans? Will this new character hold its weight? With Fortress Frontier Cole proves that he has the skill and ability to pull it off. I’m sure anyone reading this book would come to love Bookbinder in the end.

Fortress Frontier is a superb follow up to the series and like its predecessor, full of non-stop action and entertainment. Based on these two outstanding books I have complete faith the Cole will continue to do a brilliant job in the next book Breach Zone.