- File Size: 806 KB
- Print Length: 262 pages
- Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
- Publisher: Post Modern Pulp Books; Revised edition (July 30, 2012)
- Publication Date: July 30, 2012
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B008SWHKSW
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #107,786 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Operation Arrowhead (COMMANDO Book 1) Kindle Edition
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Please Note: the author provided me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
In the summer of '41 a group of British Commandos were sent across the English Channel into Northern France. The goal was to meet up with French resistance fighters of the area and attack small German enclaves and destroy supply depots. As with any clandestine war mission such as this, the 'fog of war' can rear its ugly head... this tale is no exception to that occurrence.
Some thoughts on "Commando: Operation Arrowhead"...
1.) an interesting WWII tale written in the style of many of the great sixty and seventy war movies. i.e. The Dirty Dozen, The Guns of Navarone etc. where the good guys survive despite some poor management, unlikely enemy decisions or a sprinkling of some bad/good luck.
2.) poor (often hopeless) situations are frequently saved by some unexpected intervention or stroke of good fortune.
3.) some of our group can be severely injured or killed, although this doesn't seem to apply to the 'main' characters.
4.) some intense and up-close, personal confrontations. Graphic and gory at times.
5.) some/many of the conversations came off as somewhat stilted and contrived.
6.a) the typical British sense of fair play and the 'stiff upper lip' attitude rang load and clear throughout this work.
6.b) but in fairness, the author says in his end notes... "if these men come off as a bit caricatured, well, I hope it elicits a chuckle rather than a groan." So the apparent intent was to write an entertaining war story rather than one featuring the brutal realism found in such works as "A Band of Brother" or 'Saving Private Ryan". Fair enough.
I liked this work, and more so once I became aware and comfortable with the realization that the good guy would always prevail, albeit at significant cost.
It was the type of tale that I could conjure up images of Anthony Quinn, Telly Savalas, Charles Bronson or maybe even John Wayne saying 'Listen here, Pilgrim', strolling across the screen, if this were ever to become a movie.
A WWII tale, that while maybe a bit unrealistic when detailing some of the action and encounters but was still an enjoyable read. And this was the effect that the author intended.
A story I was eager to get back to if I had to stopped reading for a while.
As it is... 4 1/2 Stars
Bring it on, sez I!
Though the author has a small handful of primary characters, the hero is Corporal Thomas Lynch (some relation, I'm sure, to the protagonist in Killer Instincts) who volunteers to slip back across the Channel into Fortress Europe after the humiliation at Dunkirk. He does this as part of an elite unit (3 Commando) put together for unconventional warfare/special operations behind enemy lines. In this particular mission, they are to work alongside a cell of the French Resistance, led by a former schoolteacher so hellbent on revenge against "the boche" that his trustworthiness quickly becomes suspect.
As you can imagine, a scenario like this is overflowing with potential fun for the reader; and Badelaire exploits that potential. One beautiful aspect of WWII is that everybody accepts that the Nazis were evil. There's no need for moral ambiguity if the author doesn't want to explore all those rabbit holes. Show us readers a soldier in a black or gray uniform with a stahlhelm and a Mauser, and we will beg the good guys to ventilate him--no questions asked. That said, Lieutenant Price's "proper British gentleman" attitude was a nice touch, as he pulled the reins in on his men rather than let them sink to the level of barbarity the Nazis are infamous for.
Badelaire does his homework on history, and especially weapons. Firearm buffs will probably be induced to smile at some of the details, though the author never engages in "gun porn" as some others in the genre have done (myself included). The rough spots for me were in some of the interactions between officer and men. Whereas most of the dialog is suitable for post modern pulp (Badelaire's term for the men's adventure paperbacks, including military fiction, of which he and I are both fans), in a couple places it struck me as more appropriate for Nick Fury and His Howling Commandos. But, to be honest, I really enjoyed those comics, as well as Sgt. Rock, The Losers and some others.
The characters of Commando: Operation Arrowhead begin to hit their stride in the last third of the book. Sgt. McTeague, though a familiar type to any reader fluent in the genre, is strong enough that he just may steal the show in future stories. Lieutenant Price provides a nice contrast, and hopefully will remain part of the unit. The characters are set to really shine going into the next adventure.
My favorite part? The Spitfire sortie against Stuka dive bombers. That was a supremely entertaining segment that favorably represents post modern pulp. Not that there isn't plenty of other old-fashioned fun adventure between the covers. And Jack may compare his WWII story to schlock war flicks, but nobody grabs their chest when shot, spinning around before falling. Nope, in a movie adaptation of Operation Arrowhead, the effect director would need squibs--and plenty of them. The violence doesn't drift into the macabre, but it does approach the brutal level of the old John Mackie (Len Levinson) Ratbastards combat-fests.
One last point: In reading this, my education on British slang has begun to undergo a honing process. I previously assumed "Kraut" was a uniquely American euphemism for a German, while Brits preferred "Jerry" or sometimes maybe "Hun."
I am baffled as to what "cack" refers to, and am unclear about the verb "sod." What does it mean to sod? Why the sodding cack doesn't this Badelaire bloke include a bloody glossary for the daft Yanks? Ruddy blighter can go sod himself with a parcel of cack weighing two bleeding stone. Eh, wott?
Henry Brown is the Two-Fisted Blogger and author of the paramilitary adventure novels Hell & Gone and Tier Zero.
Badelaire writes masterful action sequences and since 80% of this brisk novel consists of action sequences, that makes this book masterfully written. It's also written for a fairly specific audience--those who prefer quick, violent action rather than protracted character studies--but for that audience, this is really good stuff. If you're a member of the demographic Badelaire is targeting, you should be gobbling up anything the man writes.