A few of my loyal readers (I think I have two or three of those) know that I enjoy reading but lately I have only been reading video game inspired novels. Some of my favorites are the Halo, Gears of War and Mass Effect series, but today I finished one a little bit closer to real life.
The book, Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Combat Ops, is the second book based on the Tom Clancy Ghost Recon universe. I read (and blogged about) the first one simply titled Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon. Both are penned by David Michaels, a ghost writer for Berkley Books.
“David Michaels” is a pseudonym for the authors of novels in the Splinter Cell, EndWar, H.A.W.X. and Ghost Recon series, all of which were created by Ubisoft Entertainment. Author Raymond Benson and Grant Blackwood have published books under the name David Michaels, but the current author is unknown.
A Ghost Writer for the Ghost Recon books – seems fitting.
Whoever the author is, they either did their homework or have previous military experience because their description of everything from Afghanistan and the Taliban to military operations and government politics was extremely accurate and detailed from a “boots on the ground” perspective. The back of the book summarizes the story and reads:
Captain Scott Mitchell and his Ghost Recon team are in the heart of Taliban-controlled Afghanistan, on the hunt for terrorist leader Mullah Mohammed Zahed. And after years of government abuse and corruption, the locals trust the Taliban more than any promises from America. With enemy attacks increasing, Mitchell must maneuver his way through a mine- field of bloodshed and politics if Ghost Recon is to accomplish their mission. But one fateful decision may cost Mitchell and his team their honor – and their lives.
I thoroughly enjoyed the story and its place in the Ghost Recon universe. Despite its cover art depicting a soldier from Future Soldier, Ubisoft’s newest edition to the Ghost Recon universe, it was more akin to the original Ghost Recon released nearly 10 years ago.
Over the years, Ghost Recon with its Advanced Warfighter and Future Soldier titled video games, has evolved to a setting rich with futuristic technology based weaponry and equipment. Fans of the game seem to be split on this approach, but this book relies more on the traditional translation demonstrating the skill and expertise of the Special Forces operators and less on the high tech gear.
The U.S. Army’s Special Forces are known for their highly specialized training and courage behind enemy lines. But there’s a group that’s even more stealthy and deadly. It’s composed of the most feared operators on the face of the earth – the soldiers of Ghost Recon.
The story does an exceptional job articulating the real world struggles the military has in Afghanistan earning the trust of the locals while combatting the enemy forces. It also includes a couple of surprise twists and turns full of shock and awe. The biggest flaw with the story is by the end it seems to feel rushed, as if the author was up against a deadline or reached the page limit, so they tidied everything up before turning it in to the publisher. The middle of the story was gripping as the “Ghosts” find themselves in a somewhat messy situation that, in the end, seems to resolve itself a bit too easily. Otherwise, I thought it was a great tale.
Combat Ops witnesses the return of Captain Scott Mitchell as the main character. Many fans of the Advanced Warfighter series where Mitchell makes his debut always felt like he was a bit flat and somewhat of a boring character, but the book certainly seemed to add a lot more perspective and insight into his personality. I felt the book’s representation of Scott Mitchell provides a lot more depth and personality into his character and makes him seem more believable (and likable).
Of the two books, I thought the second book had a better story but strayed from the overall feel of the “Ghost Recon” theme. The first book used a lot more of the futuristic technology and weapons reminiscent of the video games than the second book.
In the end, if you’re looking for a good military read or you’re a fan of Ghost Recon, then you would probably enjoy this book as much as I did. It doesn’t offer any new ground breaking story, but it does provide a very real and believable account of a soldier’s life in Afghanistan.
You only see them once, then you never see anything again.
Find the book on Amazon.com or other popular book retailers for about 10 bucks or less.