Book Review: The Red Cliffs of Zerhoun by Matt Bracken

By Dean Weingarten

Book Review: The Red Cliffs of Zerhoun by Matt Bracken

Dean WeingartenArizona -( Matt Bracken continues to please. I have read all of Matt's books, and consider him a friend, even though we have never met in person.

The Red Cliffs of Zerhoun is a dystopic novel of the near future. There have been no significant technological advances. The world's economy has crashed, with large parts of the world torn by local wars. Electricity in most areas is either missing, or highly localized.

The action takes place near the coasts of Ireland, mainland Europe, and Africa, if we consider “near” to be within a couple of hundred miles.

Matt knows his weapons, and how they are used. He knows sailing and boats, and shows a real understanding of interactions in the black market. While I do not share Matt's life experiences, I have been overseas. I have been in some mildly exotic and interesting circumstances, off the beaten track. I know a bit about shooting, hunting, military culture, and defensive tactics.

This is the best book from Matt Bracken to this point. His technical details are correct. That is important for anyone who is willing to set aside disbelief over the future history part of the book. His reading of people and their interactions is believable, especially his understanding of high performing military culture. I found my self nodding, this is right, this is the way it often happens. The believability of the technology and personal interactions overcome the initial assumptions needed for a broken and dysfunctional future world.

The result is a Tom Clancy like novel of serious technical competence wrapped around a page turning action/adventure thriller. Entwined with the action are geopolitical insights and historical knowledge.

I recommend the reader set aside a weekend. Do not start this novel on a Sunday evening, unless you have the next day free. I only took a small break out of a nine hour straight reading jag.  Now I am reading it again, savoring the small nuances that I may have missed the first time.

The book is refreshingly politically incorrect.  Matt uses history as a guide to human behavior. It is the best guide we have. In the book, Christianity and Islam are in conflict, as they have been throughout the vast majority of their mutual existence.

There are no superhuman characters in the book, though numerous characters believe that something more than chance has brought them together.  Under stress, people will pray.  People who are not religious often become more so.

It is a common human reaction. It adds reality to the  story.

If you want to be carried away on an adventure with believable motivations, high drama, and action that does not involve super-heroes, this book is an excellent choice.

I highly recommend The Red Cliffs of Zerhoun for recreational reading. At the end, there is a handy reading list for those who wish to delve into the subject matter in greater detail.

The Red Cliffs of Zerhoun is available on Amazon for $19.95 in large format paperback, or on Kindle for $7.99. To try out the novel, you can read a hundred or so pages here for free.

©2017 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.

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About Dean Weingarten:

Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of constitutional carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and recently retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.

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John Glatthar
John Glatthar
2 years ago

I,too, have read all of Matt’s books, and enjoyed them all. I am looking forward to reading this new one.