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I have been an avid reader from as early as I can remember. Since becoming a Christian in my early 20s, my passion for reading led to specifically Christian fiction and this has developed into reviewing them on this blog. I love reading new author's novels or author's who have not had many reviews or exposure and giving them much needed encouragement where appropriate.   
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Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Raptor 6 (The Quiet Professionals, Book 1) by Ronie Kendig

Raptor 6 (The Quiet Professionals, Book 1)


Captain Dean Watters keeps his mission and his team in the forefront of his laser-like focus. So when these two things are threatened by hackers, Dean’s Special Forces training kicks into high gear. Failing to stop the hackers from stealing national security secrets from the military’s secure computers and networks isn’t an option. Zahrah Zarrick is a missionary teacher to Afghan children in Mazar-e Sharif. And a target. When Zahrah is captured because of her expertise in quantum cryptology, endangering the US national security, Dean is forced to crack the lockbox around his heart—a move that might come at the highest cost.



Review: 

Once I started reading this novel, I found myself in one relaxed state like you do when you return to familiar ground. It was so good to be back in the world of the military that Kendig so masterfully creates. 

This is a new series that has characters from the A Breed Apart trilogy. In this novel, Captain Dean Watters is the main character whereas in the aforementioned trilogy, he plays a small supportive role to the main characters of the A Breed Apart team. I liked him in that trilogy and I like him even more in this new series. Seeing that the next books in this series will be centred on some of the other team members mentioned briefly in the previous trilogy, Watters will be back to playing a minor role in each. 

Kendig has depicted Watters as a man of integrity and strong character. I am sure he is based on either one particular soldier in her military knowledge or on many. So I reckon with the other members of Raptor 6's team as well. Reading more of him in this novel, I am very much in admiration of his character, dedication to the military, his passion for it and what he can contribute. He definitely shows this in being the Captain of his team and in his dealings with Zahrah Zarrick, the latter more so, even if he has personal feelings for her. 

As in the previous trilogy, Kendig depicts the rapport and relationship between the team members as it would be in the military from what I know of the military and have read in other military novels, despite having not be in the military myself. This team is unified and operate as a well-oiled machine. They respect each other and they know how each other operate, each other's strengths and weaknesses. They have each other's backs. This is one of the strengths of novels like this, the depiction of realism especially when it is based on what the author knows from the reality experienced from real military personnel. 

I liked the inclusion of the anonymous character who sneaks in every few chapters or so and gives a running commentary in the first person narrative of his efforts to undermine everyone in the Raptor team and the American Military hierarchy, being the mole that he is, reporting back to his superiors who are desperate to have the stolen computer hacked into leaving the security of the American military undefended and extremely vulnerable. Every cynical and bragging narrative of this character increased the level of suspense and kept you guessing who he is and how much more he has thwarted and kept at bay the efforts of Watters and his team to retrieve the computer and bring the perpetrators to justice. Very clever of Kendig to include this and it is very effective. Seems this character is going to also be in the next instalment! 

Some readers criticise those authors of military fiction who include romance in their plots as they see it as a distraction from the action and suspense of the nature of the military and warfare aspects of this genre and see this inclusion as making  the flow of the plot disjointed. Some also criticise as having too much romance and others too little. However, I find that in the previous A Breed Apart trilogy and now in this series, Kendig seems to have struck a healthy balance between the two, military and romance. I reckon they have a happy marriage in her novels and this is from a reader and reviewer who does not read any romance and avoids this genre as much as he can! But in Kendig's novels, this, for me, is quite an attraction. I loved the attraction of Watters and Zahrah and the friction this generates between them for all their personal and spiritual reasons. Kending blends this very well and it adds to the construction of the plot, characterisation and suspense of the novel, including how the torturers manipulate and abuse this relationship to their torture techniques.  

This story shines, or should I say, Kendig shines, in the second half of this novel. What consists in the first half comes to a head in the second. Watters' attempt to protect Zahrah and the advice he gives her become a self fulfilling prophecy and threatens to destroy both of them. This second half showcases Kendig's best writing, plot construction and suspense. I had tachycardia for this entire second half! Her description and depiction of Watters and Zarrick captivity, torture, their coping mechanisms, the evilness from their captors, the questions about God, Zahrah's faith, Watters failings and not being able to let go of his past are all captured by Kending in many chapters of beautiful writing and structure. Very captivating and entralling. The spiritual message that she delivers through the faith of Zahrah and all the events in this second half really touched my heart and challenged my faith. It is writing like this and the message carefully interspersed throughout, that again reinforces in me that Christian fiction does not just entertain but can minister to one's spirituality and not only educate in spiritual/biblical principles but edify the Christian and the Body of Christ. And it shows a great heart towards God in an author who can do this so masterfully as Kendig does. 

I consider this to be the best of Kendig's novels I have read, which is those of the A Breed Apart trilogy. I just wish I had read her Discarded Heroes series previously. I do have Dead Reckoning I picked up as a free kindle offer a few years ago so have to get into this one! 

I highly recommend this new novel of Ronie Kendig. She has crafted a great, memorable story. Don't pass on this one!  

Disclosure: I was given a copy of this eBook by the publisher, Barbour Publishing, Inc., through NetGalley blogger program for review. I was not required to write a favorable review nor was I compensated for my review. The opinions in this review are my own.

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