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Reviewed by JC Minnaar for Readers' Favorite
War changes people. Nothing is more apparent than in James Fox’s second book of the Sol series, Retaliation. Ed McAaron has a lot to come to grips with such as his father being murdered by the corrupt Protectorate/UNIC government and becoming the leader of the Resistance fighting against this government. Keith Brennan, former general of the Protectorate, wastes away from a guilty conscience believing himself to be the cause of the lives lost during the Red Massacre. Lisa Colt, fighter pilot for the Protectorate, is out from under her mother’s wing and needs to prove that her accomplishments don’t stem from being the Admiral’s daughter. Lisa, however, cannot shake the gnawing suspicion that Jonathan Spalding’s dishonorable discharge has a foul scent to it. Hard choices lie ahead as the war for Mars’s independence rages on to a point of no return.
James Fox’s Retaliation left me shellshocked more than once as the Resistance takes one heroic step forward just to be crushed two steps back by the Protectorate military. My nerves were on a rollercoaster as warfare constantly moves from boots on the ground action to fleets shooting it out in space. The rich detail of James Fox’s writing is absolutely stunning; from detailed descriptions of how military equipment looks and operates to the environmental hazards of Mars. It's apparent that a lot of research went into Retaliation’s writing. I realized that soldiers are tough but civilians aren’t soldiers. Retaliation paints a grim portrait of the struggles, physically and mentally, of ordinary people needing to adjust to military life. Mars, along with its people, are forever ravaged and changed by politics, mysteries, and warfare going into book three of the Sol saga, Revelation.