Friday, April 28, 2017

“Fields of Fire” by Marko Kloos –The Iron Fist of Humanity Strikes Back

Fields of Fire by Marko Kloos (fron cover)

Marko Kloos Takes the Fight to the Enemy

While our weapons and tactics may change throughout the ages, it's quite arguable that the nature of war remains the same, plunging ultimately expendable masses into the heart of carnage and chaos. While wars fought between humans feel senseless and childish when viewed from an outside perspective (what other species moves so eagerly towards its own extinction?), knowing the art itself is a necessity... for there may very well come a day when our greatest enemy won't be amongst us, but will rather descend from the skies, as it did in Marko Kloos' acclaimed Frontlines series.

In the latest addition to the series, titled Fields of Fire, we pursue the story right where it left off, with the Lankies in firm control of Mars and humanity preparing to strike back. It's been a bit over a year since the conquest of the red planet, and while the earthlings aren't as ready as they would like to be, they see the moment as their best chance to regain what was lost. And so, with many of Earth's ships rebuilt and new soldiers trained, everyone is pooling all they've got for this great assault meant to show the Lankies who's really the boss in this galaxy. However, the enemy is far from being easily shaken and they are prepared to do whatever it takes to keep Mars under their control.

More Action in Spades

If you've read the previous books in the series (and chances are high that you have) then you certainly have some high expectations for this novel, and let me reassure you that it doesn't disappoint in the area where former novels shone bright: the action. There are plenty of vividly-described and enthralling battles taking place in all kinds of different environments with enough diversity to make every instance of conflict feel fresh and unique to itself.

Kloos is a true master of writing these action sequences, sucking you in with the use of small but impactful details that carry weight and make you feel the severity of whatever is happening. He makes the reader worried about the outcome of every battle and eternally curious as to how humanity will overcome a force far greater than itself. While the concept itself may not exactly be new, the author still finds ways of putting a few surprising twists on things. Additionally, the two forces doing battle are internally distinguished and contrast with each other in rather interesting ways.

Diversity on Both Sides

For starters, the human side isn't just made up of English-speaking public, but includes many nationalities found throughout the world, driving home the point that it's a combined effort with every country doing its part. There are some humorous comparisons between the mindsets and approaches taken between the different nations, but they always remain in good spirit and serve more as a welcome comic relief than anything else. We are given a good understanding of their technologically-advanced equipment, and while it remains in the realm of science-fiction the author manages to give it an air of realism and authenticity.

On the other side of the action are the physically-superior Lankies, boasting every conceivable advantage over the human race. Understandably, we know less about them than about humanity, but with every book there are some interesting new bits of information that make them feel horrifying, powerful and cruel. More specifically, in this book we get to see the giant Lankies in action and learn more about their powerful abilities as well as their intentions for the remaining human survivors on Mars.

Room for Fun and Thought

By its very nature, the Frontlines series will always be more focused on actions and events rather than characters or insightful monologues. However, that is not to say that it completely lacks any depth as we constantly witness the growth and transformation of the main characters throughout the books. There are some amusing as well as insightful moments where things slow down for a bit, giving us the chance for a much-needed breather before the pace picks up again. These little moments of respite help by adding some heart and character to the story, by helping you relate to the people in it and making their fates feel important to you.

Final Thoughts

While some book series suffer from a drop of quality as things move forward, that is definitely not the case with Marko Kloos' Frontlines. As a matter of face, I'd say that each book manages to improve on the last one, defying the readers' expectations every time by bringing original, fleshed-out and well-written plots. Fields of Fire builds on that fantastic tradition and once again exceeds expectations by being a masterpiece in the genre. If you've enjoyed the series so far, even remotely, then I urge you to pick up this fifth instalment; few science-fiction series are as poignantly-written and memorable.

Marko Kloos

Marko Kloos is a freelance novelist and writer, as well as being a father to two children. Kloos’ primary area of literary expertise is science-fiction, and perhaps fantasy as well. He is the kind of writer who knew what he wanted to do ever since he set foot in a library, which resulted in some acclaimed books such as Terms of Enlistment and Lines of Departure.

More of the Marko Kloos' book reviews:
Lines of Departure
Terms of Enlistment
Angles of Attack
Chains of Command

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