Noah Chinn Reviews: Decision at Thunder Rift by William H. Keith

I recently wrote an article about a fan made update to the classic wargame Battletech, which rekindled my interest in the game. It also rekindled my interest in the lore, and made me want to take a deeper dive into it.

At its core, Battletech is “Game of Thrones IN SPAAACE!” You have a setting which had a distant golden age that is now the stuff of legend, various powerful houses vying for control and all the intrigue that comes with it. Unlike something like Warhammer 40K, which is grimdark to the point of parody, there’s something about the core lore that feels real, even if it’s not realistic.

And that, in essence, is what covers the first official Battletech novel, Decision at Thunder Rift. The first of the Gray Death Legion novels, this series would go on to create a defining point in the game’s world-building, as they are ultimately responsible for some world changing events that affect the game later on.

Books tied into games are nothing new, but I was always wary of them as a kid. However, as I’ve said many times in past reviews, I was a dumb kid who made dumb decisions. I dismissed game tie-in books as fluff and assumed I wouldn’t get anything out of it other than some pew-pew-boom-boom. I dunno, maybe I assumed they weren’t written by “real” authors?

I kind of have to have an open-mind about game tie-in novels these days, considering my latest SF novel, Lost Souls, started life as a tie-in to the game Elite Dangerous… until they chose to stop making those and I decided to make my own SF universe for it (with blackjack and hookers).

Decision at Thunder Rift is written well, though it’s definitely a product of its age. If you think of military fiction of the 80s (written or filmed) aimed at an adolescent or young adult audience, you’ll know what I mean. Not necessarily a bad thing, but something to be aware of…

Read more at: Noah Chinn Reviews: Decision at Thunder Rift by William H. Keith

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