Iraq, time travel and Vikings. Need more?

It’s lovely isn’t it, having an extra long, long weekend, complete with family feasts, chocolates galore and plenty of reading time?

My little family rarely goes away over the break, preferring rather to bunker down and enjoy some well earned down-time around the house. While the boys enjoy a few extra pyjama days, and some lengthy Playstation sessions, I  tend to make the most of the time and catch up on some reading and writing. This Easter break, I’ve got lots of books to read and quite a few reviews I’ve been looking forward to posting. Today’s review has been a long time coming.

Last weekend, I finally had the chance to pick up Keith Mcardle’s, The Forgotten Land. It has been on the reading pile for some time, but for one reason or another I kept getting distracted away from it. Now I’ve read it, I’m kicking myself that it took me so long to get to – it was a lot of fun.

Sergeant Steve Golburn, an Australian Special Air Service veteran, is tasked with a dangerous mission in Iraq, deep behind enemy lines. When Steve’s 5 man SAS patrol inadvertently spark a time portal, they are thrown into a place far more dangerous and lawless then modern Iraq. Join the SAS patrol on this action adventure into the depths of not only a hostile land, far away from the support of the Allied front line, but into another world…another time.

It’s probably true that you couldn’t get much further away than this, from the last book that I read (Putting Alice Back Together) and in jumping straight from chick lit to sci-fi action, I had to give myself a little bit of time to get used to the subject matter and the pacing. Once I got into the flow of this novel, it was quite a ride.

Mcardles’ novel is precise, technical and action packed. At first I thought it an unusual combination – military adventure meets time travel – but then I thought again. It’s not actually that unusual a mix, and as I read on, sci-fi staples such as Stargate and Battlestar Galactica come to mind. It also reminded me a bit of John Birmingham’s Axis of Time trilogy, albeit a little less tongue in cheek.

The Forgotten Land features all the usual suspects, the fearless leader, the sharp shooter, the loose cannon:

“What they didn’t know was that he was a fearsome fighter with a short temper and could become very agressive, very quickly. One unfortunate soldier found this out the hard way and spent the best part of a week in hospital as a result. Will McDonald loved deception, particularly when it came to fighting and was a fan of Sun Tzu’s The Art of War. He had never lost a fight. Will was respected by those who knew him.”

The story itself starts out military; secret deployments, harsh Middle-Eastern conflicts, and weapon specs and equipment inventories. Nonetheless, it doesn’t take long before the plot takes a turn to the strange:

“The crystal in Steve’s palm emitted a powerful glow. On closer inspection the light thrown from the crystal was pulsating slightly, almost like a heartbeat.”

In short, this crystal causes no end of trouble, and Steve and his boys find themselves in ancient Denmark with a whole new battle to wage.

Mcardles story is intriguing and action packed. There are definitely a few guys I know who’ll probably nag me to borrow this book, and I think they’ll really enjoy it. What’s not to enjoy when it comes to hand to hand combat and Viking battles to the death.

If you’d like to find out more about The Forgotten Land, you should visit Keith’s website here.

Join us:   Facebook  and  Twitter
Sign up for TBYL Book Club here…