Kirkus Reviews QR Code
RED METAL by Mark Greaney


by Mark Greaney & H. Ripley Rawlings IV

Pub Date: July 16th, 2019
ISBN: 978-0-451-49041-4
Publisher: Berkley

Russia launches war in Europe and Africa in this military thriller reminiscent of the late Tom Clancy.

A small group of Chinese communist special forces sneaks into Taiwan to assassinate a politician and provoke a war. This attracts intense U.S. attention—perfect timing for Russia to launch Operation Red Metal and “retain its proper place in the world.” The Russians' ultimate goal is to keep control of a rare-earth mine in Kenya, for which they need to wield “a scalpel through the heart of Europe” to destroy AFRICOM, the U.S. Africa Command headquartered in Germany. They kill Western satellites to take out GPS and make Europe deaf, mute, and blind. On Christmas Day, Russian trains disguised as civilian transport deliver offensive forces into Europe, unloading troops and tanks. They also attack in Kenya, where battles rage. NATO hasn’t detected this military buildup and is taken completely by surprise. A Russian general opines that the U.S. can’t fight a conventional force anymore, embroiled as it’s been in Afghanistan. Ha! Tell it to the Marines, like Lt. Col. Dan Connolly, who knows “this world’s a damn dangerous place” and figures out what the enemy is up to. The war lasts about a week, plenty of time for intense battle scenes and the distinct possibility of tactical nukes. Having produced well over 600 pages, Greaney and Rawlings, his Marine co-author, had a bout of logorrhea, but the collaboration has yielded plenty of realism. There are some good lines, as when an A-10 pilot strafes the ground while screaming “Die, Commie, die!” (He apparently didn’t get the memo about the USSR.) But the best line: “And as long as we get to pop a bunch of those Russkies, death ain’t but a thing.” Readers will be humming "The Marines’ Hymn” after finishing this paean to the U.S. Marines. Hoorah!

As with all of Greaney’s work, this is a fun read. If only all our wars were fiction.