So, how does one categorize The Red Cliffs of Zerhoun?
In my opinion, you simply can’t.
Anyone taking a cursory glance at Amazon’s current fiction novel listings will confirm what many folks may have already surmised. The past few years have seen an explosion of what is commonly now referred to as “dystopian fiction”.
In the typical dystopian tome, a lone protagonist or group sets out on a quest for survival in what was once the world as he, or she, knew it.
I will cut right to the chase. Matt Bracken’s latest novel is not a work of dystopian fiction.
The Red Cliffs of Zerhoun is a fascinating amalgam of today’s news headlines and long-term economic collapse.There are the very real horrors of jihadist piracy, and sexual slavery. Stir in a healthy dose of Bracken’s trademarked attention to accurate detail,. Add several shocking rapid fire plot twists, and stunningly up close and personal tactical action. This could only be penned by a man who knows what it’s like to have trained and worked with those guys who swim in, do really dangerous stuff with weapons, and then back swim out.
If you’ve been in the military, especially in the Navy, Marines, or Special Ops, Bracken’s unique portal will catapult you right back into pitch black night forced marches, monster swell sea-states, and the muscle memory weapons familiarity that never completely leaves, even with the passing of the years.
Never served? It doesn’t matter. Matt’s worldly and fascinating cast of civilian and military irregulars will be dragging and pushing you along for the ride of your life!
The men and women in this book are unique and thoroughly fleshed out. Matt takes a slightly slower and more detailed start off in this novel to introduce them. Trust me, you’ll actually care about these people. The action will come, and when it does, you’ll be right in the middle of the hell-storm with people who have transcended the printed page and become living, breathing, flesh and blood in your mind.
The Red Cliffs of Zerhoun works as an adventure novel. Man alive, does it work.
It also goes much deeper than that. I won’t reveal just how.
Red Cliffs is Matt Bracken’s best book. That alone should be all you need to hear.