So far, it’s an intriguing novel with a lot of characters and situations–but, fortunately, not an endless sprawl of characters. The book kicks off by establishing the status quo of about 20-30 years from now. Its status quo is familiar, particularly at sea; America remains dominant and continues to escort freighters, fight off pirates, etc. China is transformed; an alliance of business and the military seized power from the communist party and is working closely to guide China into a bright future. Along the margins is Russia; a junior player to the other two.
Once the baseline is established, it’s kicked out. China eradicates the US satellite network; while in those first hours of confusion, Russia strikes at American forces and Japan, while saboteurs hit American ships in western Pacific waters and container ships unload concealed tanks and weaponry that seize Hawaii in a lightning strike. All of this is important but background; the crippling strike is that corrupted chips are everywhere throughout US planes and equipment–and it has mole routines that sabotage whatever they’re a part of… often subtly.
We skip ahead a few months, to the unsettled new normal. Much of the remainder is about the resistance in Hawaii, with parallel stories continuing in China, the pentagon, etc. Characterization remains strong; a few new characters come to prominence, but POV sprawl is limited. Unfortunately the stars begin to develop plot armor; as we barrel to the conclusion, fate goes well out of its way to spare a few people. The father/son dynamic that develops is good from both sides, with calcified resentment slow to erode.
Overall, it was enjoyable, particularly in the first two thirds, before the “against all odds” conclusion hits the expected notes.