Some of my friends supplied me with some great man fiction whilst I was in hospital, the first of these was Battle Born by Dale Brown. 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 dream weapons. Brown takes pains to frame his reality with all the necessary details; he begins with an extensive 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 story 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.
As head of a new B-1B Lancer tactical strike unit based in Nevada, USAF Brigadier General Patrick McLanahan and his men target and destroy enemy missiles. With their Top Gun dramatics, the Lancer unit seems to disregard safety guidelines to get the job done. While this seems a bit too fantastic at times, Brown’s battle dialogue maintains superb detail.
If you haven’t read a Dale Brown novel, and like the technothriller genre, then try this, I guarantee you won’t be disappointed.