Orbital

This is the Future of War

Fiction - Military
412 Pages
Reviewed on 05/25/2020
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Stefan Vucak for Readers' Favorite

The Russian economy is on the brink of collapse, and the only thing that could save it is an increase in world oil prices for its exports. To bring that about, the Saudis need to drastically reduce production, which they refuse. In retaliation, the Russians cripple a major Saudi processing complex using one of their kinetic weapon satellites blanketing Earth. The plant is obliterated and everyone pretends it was done by a meteor shower. This was not enough for Russia, and they destroy a Chinese gas distribution hub. The American Space Force seeks to neutralize this threat by Russia, but the weapon satellites have defenses, which the Space Force and the British suborbital fighter find out the hard way. Russia does not want an all-out war with America, but China and the physically and emotionally scarred Chief Scientist, designer of the Russian weapon satellites, have agendas of their own. War threatens the world when Cape Canaveral is obliterated, forcing America to unveil its own secret space weapon. Will the ICBMs fly? And what has China to gain from an exchange?

With Orbital, FX Holden plunges the reader into his superbly written techno-thriller from the first page. Blinded by a meteor strike as a child, Anastasia Grahkovsky becomes the designer and Chief Scientist of the Russian kinetic weapon satellites. It is her creation, her baby, and nothing will stand in her way to protect it, even her superiors. The Russian Energy Minister entices the lovely Italian-born Roberta D’Antonia to be his personal strategic advisor and help him become the Defense Minister. However, Roberta has another master, and it does not take the Russian secret service long to uncover that she is a Western spy. FX Holden handles the interplay between his characters with deft skill, but the focus of his novel is unmistakably on military action sprinkled with a wealth of acronyms techno-thriller readers will devour with relish. Tom Clancy and Dan Brown stand aside. Orbital is a gripping story of possible warfare in space that forces readers to keep turning the pages. The ending is somewhat forced and rushed, but lovers of this type of genre will hardly notice this with their eyes focused on space.

K.C. Finn

Orbital: This is the Future of War is a work of fiction in the military and science fiction genres and was penned by author F. X. Holden. Written for adults due to scenes of warfare and devastation, this is a complex, intriguing, and action-packed look at the dangers of the potential militarization of space. The action is catalyzed by a meteor shower in the year 2034, one which devastates the world’s largest oil processing facility. What results is an intriguing look at the economic and global impacts of disaster and the question of whether such devastation was brought about by an act of God or the folly of man.

Author F. X. Holden has crafted a superb and high octane story that speaks on a global scale and a small scale at the same time. In the detailed action scenes, we see plenty of exposition and suspense played out, which will be sure to please fans of tense military thrillers. The descriptive choices play out with a cinematic feel, building on the danger and atmosphere throughout the tale. Then, on the wider scale, an intelligent and perceptive wider plot emerges which asks important questions both within the text and beyond it into our modern world. The dialogue is sharp and provocative, with its layered implications delivered in such a way that they will leave you thinking long after you put the book down. Overall, Orbital: This is the Future of War is a highly recommended read for fans of military thrillers and effective, thought-provoking science fiction.

Lesley Jones

In Orbital by FX Holden, in 2013, Chelyabinsk, Russia, 9-year-old Anatasia Grahkovsky is injured along with 1200 others when a meteor falls on their village. By 2032, Anatasia becomes the chief scientist of the Russian Aerospace test center, overseeing a research program called Groza. Groza's capabilities cannot be matched by any other superpower in the world and the Russians intend to use them to gain maximum military and economic control. In 2033, the US military discovers that the satellites the Russians have deployed to protect Earth from dangerous meteors are not what they seem. When a Saudi oil facility is destroyed, many believe it is an innocent act of God in the form of a meteor. However, when further attacks take place, the US and its allies join forces to stop the Russians' deadly plan, before World War III begins which could destroy the planet.

Orbital by FX Holden is an extremely well-written and realistic plot with multi-layered areas of interest. The main characters are all compelling and the author has included some great backstories within the story which make their motivations and actions believable. There are some excellent strong and intelligent female characters too, which I loved. The whole concept of the story is quite a frightening thought in the disregard for human life and military sanctions which are set to keep us protected. The plot moves at a fantastically exciting pace and the areas of conflict were superb. There were many clever twists and revelations throughout the main storyline and sub-plots. The author includes so much detail, you actually feel the emotions of the characters. I was not able to put this novel down because I had to know what would happen next. The ending was explosive, ingenious, and really thought-provoking.