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Defenders Paperback – May 13, 2014
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"What makes Defenders such an incredible novel is McIntosh's pure elegance, the beauty of its simplicity. Each element of the novel, the characters, the situations, the world, the results of the world's actions, organically feed into each other as the novel progresses."―SFFWorld
"This military science fiction novel offers fast paced action."―Publishers Weekly
"McIntosh's novels often blend unlikely scenarios and genre tropes in ways that make you rethink them. Here he's brought together the classic veterans' "coming home" story with telepathic alien invasion and issues around what it means to have been genetically engineered for one purpose. It's a posthuman scenario that McIntosh is exploring in all its messy complexity."― io9.com
"McIntosh tells a more global yet still deeply personal tale about life during wartime and its aftermath... McIntosh has his finger on the pulse, again."―Kirkus (starred review)
"An emotional story of love, loyalty, and forgiveness amid the stark realities of war."―Booklist
Top Customer Reviews
When you read Defenders, look for the forest, not the trees. Just as you weren't supposed to pick apart the minutiae of cryogenics in Love Minus Eighty, I realized very early on that I shouldn't get too hung up on the logistics of an alien invasion or the ins-and-outs of bio-engineering a whole new warrior race. This science fiction novel isn't so much about the "science" than it is a thought-provoking social fiction piece exploring how humanity might approach an "us vs. them" situation. Needless to say, if you enjoy "what if" stories, this would be the ideal book for you. But even in the face of implausible circumstances, Defenders was an enthralling and sometimes terrifying read, given how the speculation always remained grounded in human nature. Humanity has essentially created an army of living, breathing killing machines with only a swift and decisive victory against the Luyten in mind, and now they must live with the consequences of their actions.
What makes someone a friend or foe? Who can put a price on the cost of freedom? As ever, the scenarios in McIntosh's stories are enhanced by his characters; they are the ones who help expand our understanding of the dire things happening in the world, very important in books such as these. And in Defenders, that's no exception.Read more ›
It is written like a series of short vignettes that take place over a period of decades (following no less than 3 wars), every short chapter focuses on a character, much like the Game of Thrones books. Mcintosh does the personal & relational parts very well, you become invested with the people and their desperate struggles.
It begins (no real spoilers here) with a well written and suspenseful alien invasion theme, yet while most books would stop with humanity's successful answer to the threat, it is the aftermath that makes Defenders so interesting, the story explores the consequences and responsibility of creation. It is interesting to wonder if enemies are bad because they behave like we engineered them to be. Similarly the enemy's woefully inadequate attempts at art are a sad consequence of their character.
It's these well worked out implications that set Defenders apart from generic military SF and in my opinion turns it into a compelling read.
I must say though that towards the end I got a bit tired of all the warfare, for me the book could have been a bit more concise there and at the same time it could have expanded the final aftermath in more detail. Hence a solid 4 stars.
In this dark, seemingly final days a group of humans resorts to desperate measures to turn the tide of war.
But some doors should not be opened, and sometimes, the cure can be more dangerous than the sickness.
If you are looking for an alien invasion book that focuses less on the explosions and more on how humans cope with this kind of disaster, this is a book for you. It lacks the mystery of unknown approaching the earth - the book begins in the middle of an invasion already underway for some time, enemy is known. There is very little "Independence Day" vibe in this book, it's more akin to "War of the Wolrds" or "Falling Skies" - small groups of humans trying to survive and not large armies and nukes defending the Earth.
The book is quite well written, the characters are interesting, deep and certainly not two-dimensional. Psychology of the aliens and humans is believable and it's a real pleasure to experience how the story as well as individual character arcs develop.
There is a part of the book - a turning point, in fact - that slightly breaks the suspension of disbelief, and is sketched rather vaguely (possibly just to not draw the reader's attention to the weak part). It's not something major or breaking the book, but noticeable.
I recommend this book - with its depth, disillusioned and mature take on human psychology and social dynamics as well as the believable characters you should enjoy the read.
Best of all, McIntosh has left the door wide open for a continuation of the story, and hopefully, he will re-visit the characters and tell us what comes next. Yes, there is a palpable denouement at the end of "Defenders," but at the same time, the door is more than cracked for a sequel. Here's one reader who hopes that it is written sooner rather than later.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Good read with a very unique story plot. The descriptions of the various battles was superb and realistic albeit somewhat short. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Uwe Mueller
What a journey! One week ago I'd never heard of Will McIntosh and since I've read 5 incredible books. Read morePublished 4 months ago by M. Stevens
I had a hard time reading the book for more than a few minutes at a time, I would just get so bored. I ended up making it my toilet book just so I could finish it.Published 8 months ago by Austin Hannigan
Would make a great movie. Very unusual species interactions. Science fiction doing what it should, allowing us to examine ourselves in heretofore unimagined ways.Published 10 months ago by J. Mueller
This is an exceptionally well crafted story that pulls no punches. It felt completely real, and the author adeptly navigates a complex world with empathy and grace. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Abe
It’s hard to write an alien invasion story that hasn’t been already written. They’re like westerns. It would seem that so many variations have already been tried that there’s... Read morePublished 14 months ago by Glen Robinson
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well I didn't hate it and it killed sometime that is better then most these daysPublished 16 months ago by HS8541