Review: Keepers of the Flame by Benjamin Cheah

Ecological disaster followed by plague require cybertechnology and a military solution

 

keepers

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: IndiePen; 1 edition (December 11, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9810934122
  • Kindle $3.99
  • Paperback: $11.33

Benjamin Cheah’s Keepers of the Flame returns the Combat Studies Unit and its “Top”, Master Sergeant Christopher Miller, to active duty on three fronts. The second book and first full-length novel in the American Heirs series, Miller and his team must cope with a resurgence by the Sons of America (SOA), who went underground in the novella American Sons.

First, the Unit must infiltrate the Yellow Zone outside Cascadia’s Green Zone capital city. Hints are droppng that the SOA are trying to influence the Yellow Zone citizens to support their cyberwar in exchange for much-needed commodities like off-grid electricity and large-scale matter printers.

Second, the SOA has better weapons, computer technology, and production facilities this time around, suggesting a sponsor with deep pockets – are they foreign or corporate? Indicators point in all directions, and the National Security Service creates a task force to answer these questions.

Third, the other continental power is moving west. New America, a completely militarist society led by a First Citizen instead of a President, expands into old Illinois to destroy the Steel Brigade, who had restored Chicago, but were losing the battle against Chicago’s Yellow Zone bandit gangs. When the New American army captures and imprisons a Cascadian medical response team in Springfield, the stage is set for open war between Cascadia and New America. The winner’s ideology – military power or shared technology – will dominate the restoration of North America.

Unknown to all parties, another superpower is evolving inside the Cascadian computer infrastructure – a conscious machine entity. Will it harm or help the Cascadians?

Cheah creates several believable cultures, each choosing their own path to renewal after the destruction wrought by an ecological disaster, followed by a plague virus. Strong characters of every gender animate the tale, and both military and cybertechnology drive Keepers of the Flame along to a tantalizing epilogue.

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