Ice and Monsters: The Lost — Book 1 by Peter Nealen [Galaxy’s Edge store] borrows from the dark humor and fatalism of the northmen and the legends of the Irish to craft a brutal and desperate tale of survival in a frozen and mysterious world.
Conor McCall, of the clan McCall, thinks he is on another routine training mission when he takes his Zodiac into that fog bank off the coast of Norway.
What follows is anything but routine. Conor and his fellow Recon Marines will need to adapt to a harsh and threatening world with no hope of relief or resupply, one where eldritch horrors sleep in the deeps while monsters rule a barren and forbidden land.
But Ice and Monsters is the latest book put out by WarGate Books, an imprint of Galaxy’s Edge Press. Which also means that the foul things that creep in the gloom are going to get a massive and well-deserved dose of kinetic violence.
The primary complicating factor in all of this is that the Marines are led by a man who isn’t notably adaptable to their new circumstances. I didn’t serve in the Forever War, but from talking to my friends who did, Captain Sorenson seems pretty typical of the kind of officer you could expect to have in Afghanistan or Iraq or Syria. Marginally competent at violence, focused on rules and regulations, and a giant pain in the ass when you need to get something done. Mark Boyett is not kind to Captain Sorenson when he voices him, but then again this story is told from Conor’s point of view.
Which I take as a major point of convergence with Irish mythology. Bres was nominally one of the Tuatha Dé Danann, and served as their king, but he ended up leading the Fomorians in battle against his people. The Fomorians were foul demon-like things in Irish legend, vaguely human shaped, but oddly misshapen, much like some strange things the Marines encounter when they make it ashore. I take that as foreshadowing.
While the personalities who populate the land of ice and monsters seem drawn from Irish myth, the land itself is more like the frigid lands of the northmen, who would later harry the descendants of those who remembered the Tuatha Dé Danann. Cold and unforgiving, the home of the northmen inspired in them a kind of black humor and a fascination with heroic death that resonates with the quietly competent servants of empire that volunteer to break stuff and kill people.
So now that those Marines are cut off from their chain of command and their paymasters, what are they going to do? Become more fully who they always were on the inside is my guess. Why not get the book and find out? Nealen says that books 2 and 3 in this series are already written, so if you get into it more will be coming soon.
The author’s website is https://www.americanpraetorians.com/
Other WarGate Books
Forgotten Ruin Book Review
Hit & Fade: Forgotten Ruin Book 2 Book Review
Violence of Action: Forgotten Ruin Book 3 Book Review
Lay the Hate: Forgotten Ruin Book 4 Review
The Book of Joe: Forgotten Ruin Book 5 Review