Warring capitalists prove the system doesn’t work–by unwittingly destroying it.
A mash-up of Blade Runner, Freakonomics and television claptrap, Night Soldiers begins with a pseudo-intellectual hypothesis about how money makes the world go round, and ends in apocalyptic fire. Between these extremes, the story is a mostly confusing blend of Tom Clancy-esque military intrigue, hard science fiction and an odd presentation of modern economics. The novel is set in the near future, after the world has endured five â€œMoney Wars,” which, though never fully explained, were far-reaching military conflicts between a series of absurdly wealthy corporate industrialists. There are plenty of overarching conspiracies and tactical movements by economic bosses across the world–in Russia, China, Africa and Mexico–but the myriad plots never coalesce into a coherent narrative. The protagonists, ostensibly meant to inspire suspicion and fear, are mostly just repellent–for example, James J. Buchanan, the â€œCapitalist,” whose rape and murder of children is passed off as some kind of abhorrent eccentricity reserved for the rich. Tuscarora fares better in setting up the rivalry between Quincy Daniels, a cynical everyman who’s starting to question his beliefs, and Dean Williams, an older-but-not-wiser comrade. They lead Buchanan’s division of the Night Soldiers, the competing private armies of high-tech super-soldiers. Their exploits, punctuated by bold deeds and fancy gadgets like the Popgun and the mechanical Wardogs, are far more compelling than the nefarious schemes of their employers. But, like a soulless Hollywood blockbuster, their story makes little sense either. The cliffhanger ending–in which the world is destroyed in a series of nuclear detonations–sets up a sequel that only the most determined readers will want to seek out.
The author claims that his book is â€œway, way out there.” He just should have put more in.