SFF: Cold War

Cold War by Adam Christopher, The Spider War Sequence #? 

Dropped on a frozen planet under suspicious circumstances, a group of marines struggles to discover the true objective of their mission. “Cold War” is set in the same universe as Adam Christopher’s novel The Burning Dark.

It is only this year that I got read my first Adam Christopher book. Yes I know shame on me. His debut, Empire State, got a lot of rave reviews but I never had the time to get around it. My first introduction was earlier this year with Hang Wire followed up by the first book in The Spider War Sequence, The Burning Dark (which I very much enjoyed). And by chance while I was browsing the short stories on Tor.com I came over one of Adam Christopher, Cold War and if luck would have had it, Cold War is a short story that features in the universe of The Spider War Sequence! 

Since I read The Burning Dark earlier this year I already have some pre-knowledge about several aspects that Adam Christopher highlights in his The Spider War Sequence. And actually I have to admit that I think that reading Cold War after The Burning Dark gave just the same impression as I had with A Spell of Vengeance. It sort of recaps everything you already know but gives a lot more information about the series itself and the world wherein it takes place. 

In Cold War you follow a group of marines that have been dropped on a frozen planet. They have been tasked with a simple Search and Rescue mission. A previous squad of Spec Ops marines that was dropped on Hrostar or according to the Fleet Warworld 3663, this planet is just one big ball of ice with frigid winds blasting and numbing you where ever you go. Due to the unknown events that caused the previous Spec Ops squad to loose contact the status of Warworld 3663 was updated to Ω status (Omega meaning "danger unspecified"). Even though using such a cryptic naming to the status of Warworld 3663, the SAR marines all know what it really means. The Spiders have come to Warworld 3663... If you have read The Burning Dark I don't need to brief you on what the Spiders are but if not... they are trouble, they are the alien race that the Fleet is fighting against time after time, they need to be eradicated from the galaxy. Ok but back to the story. As the group of marines slowly make their way through knee deep snow in search for the missing ones, unexplainable things start to happen; marines start to disappear, making the other even more edgier than they already were. There is an escalation of events nearing the ending of a story where you learn the real reason why the marines were sent out on the SAR mission. There was this bit of funny part, if you can call it that, where the marines protested that this wasn't a SAR mission, that they were lied to. Where the Captain countered with that they were actually sent on a SAR mission but that the marines weren't told everything. Maybe with this you already make up your mind a bit as to what the ending will possibly be... 

One part that makes Cold War and interesting read is how Adam Christopher shows the marines. They are led by First Sergeant Furusawa who darn well knows the reason they are on Warworld 3663, but plays ignorant for his squad. Fleet Marine Private Katarina Grec readily leads the story. It's by her perspective that you see all the events unfold, Adam Christopher shows her character as more than just a simple army grunt, from the first moment you read her thoughts you see that she will be a well developed character. Her personal experience readily help establish this, Grec looks more after her squad mates than she does for herself. I think in itself it is quite a feat to be able to create such a strong character lead in only a few pages. Great job. 

Added to the above comes the threat of the Spiders. I know just how nasty they can be and when Grec and the others encounter them it leads to an all out battle. Again what Adam Christopher does here defenitely helps to set the right setting about the Spiders in general. How they look, how they react and fight it will give you goosebumps just reading and thinking about it, and will leave you wanting to find out more about them nasties.

With Cold War, Adam Christopher has written a great introduction to his The Spider War Sequence, showing already just how dangerous of a threat the Spider are to the Fleet and just what they can do... if this doesn't want you to pick up The Burning Dark I don't know what will. Oh and by the by, the second book in The Spider War Sequence, The Machine Awakens, will be published in early 2015.

You can find the complete short story by this link


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