Virtues Of War
Spot the ironic title
Release Date: 26 June
448 pages | Paperback/ ebook Author: Bennett R Coles Publisher: Titan Books
A new author kicks off
a new trilogy, a military space epic set in an alien- free universe where war rages between Earth and its colonies. Virtues Of War tightens its focus to four Terran personnel – two men, two women – and their tensions and rivalries as the conflict heats up. Unfortunately, the war is envisioned more impressively than the characters.
The book starts on a provocative note, with one of the quartet – a female Lieutenant called Katja – striking into enemy territory and blowing the head off an unarmed civilian to terrorise the locals. This has the risky effect of getting much of the readership to root against Katja and her comrades ( it’s certainly not clear that their war is just). But it’s also one of the few interesting character beats, as the plot plunges through bloody heroics and soapy love- triangles. Some of the confrontations are more like afternoon TV catfights than gritty war drama.
Virtues Of War is most impressive in its big- canvas prose spectacle, whether on the ground or in space, with titanic kaleidoscopes of burning starships, killer droids and raining fire. ( There’s also a bit of stuff with higher- dimensional weapons, although the “Eureka!” moment which sparks it is unfortunately laughable.) But even in a space opera, there’s a limit to how long you can applaud the scenery when the story in front of it just isn’t that exciting. Andrew Osmond Author Bennett R Coles certainly has the CV to write military fiction – he served 15 years as an officer in the Canadian navy.