Sunday, February 4, 2018

The Bookwyrm's Review of Agent G: Saboteur by CT Phipps

Author: C. T. Phipps

Length:  213 pages/ 6 hours, 30 minutes (Audio)

Publisher: Amber Cove Publishing

Release Date: January 4, 2018/ October 23, 2018 (Audio) 

Narrator: Jeffrey Kafer

As I've said before, with a second book, the second book in a series, especially with a really good book like Agent G: Infiltrator, can sometimes be a letdown just because the first book set such a high bar. In this case, that's not the case at all, since Agent G: Saboteur is fantastic, an original story that expands on the characters and story from the first book but takes it to the next level.

After Agent G broke the back of the International Refugee Society, the secret murder for hire group he was created by (yes created, since he's cloned cyborg), he has been working for a secret black ops team of the US government trying to finish off the remnants of the society, as well as get a hold of their staff and assets. This is where the book starts, as G para-drops onto the mountain base of one of the Society's remaining leaders. His parachute malfunctions, and he is forced to improvise a landing he can survive in an amazing hair raising scene. This pretty much sets the tone for the rest of the book, as he fights his way through the defenses of the fortress and completes his mission with extreme prejudice, which includes getting the the Society's revolutionary AI and one of their best technicians.

Returning to the local airfield, G confides to his handler that his equipment was sabotaged, and he knows he cant trust anyone. After figuring out who on his strike team betrayed him, he interrogates him, finding out that G's ex wife, S, a deadly letter assassin herself, was responsible. This starts a wild series of events, since there is betrayal after betrayal as G and his team try to get the last of the Society finished off. What they don't know is there is a mysterious group opposing them, led by a face from G's life he never expected to see, that can derail all his plans.  This leads to the penultimate showdown with this threat, where more than just G's life is at stake. In fact, at the end of the book, events happen that change the world forever!

Like the first book this is a very character driven book. The various letter assassins, all trained the same, are nevertheless very different people (well, cyborgs). G's story comes full circle, as he goes from brainwashed Bioroid cyborg (that term comes into play in Mr. Phipps Lucifer's Star series) to free thought revolutionary. His act at the end of the book that changes the world as they knew it shows just how divorced from that life he had become. The various character interactions, the dialogue, is all crisp and well thought out. It just feels natural. These characters just feel real, even if the do the most fantastic things. The villains are excellent, especially the surprise villain at the end. You really get to loathe them and what they stand for, which is what any author should hope for. 

The narration, as with a lot of his books, is ably handled by the talented Jeffrey Kafer. As with his other work, he brings each character to life, making them each have individuality through tone, pitch, cadence and accent. his narrative pacing is some of the best in the business, and is a pleasure to listen to.

The settings, whether a mountain fortress in South America, a set of high rises in Asia, or a ranch in Texas are all well thought out and described. You really get a visceral feel that you are there, on the ground, right in the thick of things. You can almost feel the heat of the ranch, smell the blood and gunpowder. This is common across his books, so it's no surprise.

 This leads to the plot, which is intentionally steering the series from sci-fi spy thriller to cyberpunk. Its a good shift that flows naturally from the decisions made throughout the books roller coaster action scenes. It will be interesting to see where he takes the series from here. I highly recommend this series as a great representation of the author's work. You should definitely check it out!

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