Rules of Engagement, David Bruns and J. R. Olson

I am a big Tom Clancy fan, and while I haven’t read his entire collection of work, I’ve read enough to know it’s fast-paced, intricate, and heavy on military jargon. If all those things appeal to you, Clancy, fast-paced action, intricate plot, and military jargon, this is the book for you.

The book follows a series of characters but the basic premise is this: a North Korean defector makes contact with the “Russian Brotherhood” to cause cyber mayhem, the only stipulations being no war. Pak, the defector, enrolls the help of the most wanted terrorist in the world who helped bring down the entire east coast power system. The mission is simple: infect the Chinese and Japanese military with a cyber virus to create mass chaos. The book traces all the players in this conflict as well as some unsung heroes: several midshipmen from the Naval Academy who demonstrate incredible prowess in the cyber world. When the action comes to a head, world leaders are thrown onto the brink of WWIII as they desperately try to stop the virus that has cascaded the major military powers of the world onto each other.

For the most part, this is a well-written book. Clancy never delved deep into the cyber aspect of war. As this component is becoming more and more prominent on the world stage, the authors do justice to this forgotten sector. This is tied with more conventional warfare sections, where everything from aircraft carrier, helicopters, SEAL’s, and submarine’s are involved. There are even some elements of hand-to-hand combat that break up the monotony of sitting behind a desk examining code. In this regard, the book reads very well as part-war part-spy thriller that you can’t put down.

If I had one critique it would be the presence of the Navy. The authors are both Naval Academy graduates and prior-Navy service members. While I appreciate this, the story had everything to do with the Navy and nothing to do with the Army, Air Force, and Marines. If such a conflict happened in our modern world, no doubt there would be other players involves.

Minus this, the authors have written a superb book. 5/5

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

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