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Monday, February 20, 2012

Task Force Intrepid by D. R. Tharp

I am chipping away at my TBR (to be read) pile. Will I ever completely finish said pile? Highly doubtful. In any event, I was stoked to find yet another new paramilitary action novel available as an e-book, and set in a rather fascinating part of the world.

Ironically (because I reviewed Dark of the Sun not long ago) there are strong similarities in Gold of Katanga to the Wilbur Smith novel originally titled Road to Katanga: Both are about white mercenaries operating in the Congo, in Katanga Province, and involve missions to rescue missionaries. With those ingredients for a shoot 'em up adventure in common, each chef diverges into his own recipe (as they must, since the respective time periods are 50 years apart and the conflicts significantly different).

Dan Tharp's military experience was in the Navy, yet his research was obviously dilligent. His depiction of land-bound operators is plausible, as is his African backdrop. Where he really hits his stride, though, is during the action sequences.

I regret I was unable to read this book in a couple sittings. More like 250 mini-sittings. That's no way to read a book. Still, this is a promising kickoff to a new paramilitary series in the tradition of The Hard Corps and Soldier for Hire (also somewhere in my towering TBR pile), if not Able Team and Phoenix Force.

Task Force Intrepid is not a government-sponsored secret team of shooters, but a Private Military Company. An altruistic PMC, of course. Rest assured that moral ambiguity was not a goal of the author's, so you will have no trouble distinguishing who to love and who to hate.

US-based (but Afrikaaner-led) TFI's mission is to recover a couple gold mines captured by the bad guys. An additional objective is later added to rescue what is left of a missionary group now hostages of a cutthroat jungle gangster.

The plot and themes are timely; the technical details are well-researched, and the action flows like blood from a major artery. Stalwart men's adventure, here.

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