Sirk TV Book Review: ASSASSIN’S CODE [St. Martins/Griffin]
Moving the necessities of a war story through into the natures of Holy War and supernatural textures is no small task. “Assassins Code” [Jonathan Maberry/St Martins-Griffin/432pgs] tries with dexterity to balance the two in the angle of a modern technical world and succeeds in many instances while overplaying the angles in others. The book follows the actions of a highly secret military tactical force led by the volatile but effective Cowboy [aka Joe Ledger]. He leads his team into Iran to rescue some hikers whom the government in the Middle East country deems as spies. The progression seems quite normal until a high ranking official alerts him to a secret plan to detonate nuclear weapons hidden on soft target platforms around the world (including Iran). After his team is transferred out, Ledger must start to figure out what is going on without any technical support. Concurrently, two stories are running with a vampire-type cult based on select breeding working underground in the Middle East while a think tank outside Washington disperses information that effects this soldier and his team on the ground in Iran. The vampire cult has fashioned themselves as super beings that can withstand the radiation that would be caused by a nuclear blast. Ledger has an interaction with one of these soldiers and almost loses his life because the being is faster and stronger while still only his same size. Add into this scenario a group of women battling against the cult who once enslaved them or their kin in breeding pens against their wills. It is one of these women: Violin who protects Cowboy at distinct points that drives the backbone of the story. Joe is literally stumbling from safe house to safe house battling vampire killers as well as the demons themselves but always with a John McClane sense of humor though he himself reflects on the deep psychological harm his job has had on him forming three distinct personalities that drive him to achieve his goals. The functionality of the plot plays a little far fetched but not anymore than the standard superhero flick at the theaters. The novel though does asks the reader to take distinctive leaps of faith within an uncertain world. The aspect of a two sided villain in the essence of Vox creates an interesting subplot of manipulation and religiosity that ties the story to the Inquisition, The Dark Ages and The Crusades and functions with distinctive coincidences. The eventual pang towards resolution resounds in an all-out fight which is hopelessly one-sided but interestingly enough uses elements of mythology to prove its point: being able to live to fight another day despite how unfathomable it might be.