Iron Wolf is the latest in the long series of military thrillers from prolific author and former Air Force Captain, Dale Brown. This particular story is reminiscent of Tom Clancy’s Red Storm Rising, continuing the fine tradition Mr. Clancy is credited with inventing, the techno-thriller. Iron Wolf is crammed with military hardware, deployed in great and quite accurate detail. The foundation of story itself is ripped from the headlines of the recent Russian invasion of Ukraine. Mr. Brown uses that aggressive act as the starting point for the DNA of his novel.
In Iron Wolf, Mr. Brown envisions a world where actual world leaders are replaced by fictitious caricatures, and the facade of politics and political correctness is swept away by direct actions. In Russia, Vladimir Putin is played by Gennadiy Gryzlov with the same megalomaniac vigor as the original. Here in the U.S., the leadership is represented by President Stacy Barbeau, embodying the sclerotic effects of leadership-by-opinion-polls. The heroes of the story are a group of true Americans who belong to an extra-governmental band of techno-mercenaries led by former President Kevin Martindale.
In Mr. Brown’s parallel universe, the story begins with Ukrainian rebels opposing the Russian separatists in the eastern part of their country. Out gunned and out manned, the rebels concoct a last ditch plan to change the course of their war. The rebels’ desperate gambit is designed to draw NATO into the conflict, with the belief that once the massive inertia that holds the alliance back is lifted, surely the Russian invaders will be repelled.
The first step of their plan has the desired effect, convincing Russia that the attacks are directly supported by Polish troops. Gryzlov sends his forces into Poland seeking massive military retaliation for the rebel attacks. He issues an impossible ultimatum to the president of Poland, surrender the rebels or face invasion.
The president of Poland, the stolid Piotr Wilk, requests assistance from his NATO allies (which is exactly what the Ukrainian rebels envisioned), however he is rebuffed after President Barbeau is cowed by Gryzlov’s back channel threats. Abandoned by NATO, the desperate Wilk is approached by the mysterious Kevin Martindale, once a great American president, now the head of an amazing company of highly advanced mercenary forces. His company, Scion, is soon hired by Wilk to not only defend Poland, but to rock Russia back on its heels through a series of brilliant surprise offensive victories.
Martindale’s company, unfettered by the bureaucracy of the U.S. procurement process produces fantastical military hardware with unrivaled power and technology. The stars of Scion’s arsenal consist of a pair of CIDs (Cybernetic Infantry Devices), half man-half robot and all bad ass. The twelve foot tall fusing of man and machine packs sophisticated futuristic software and the offensive firepower of a mechanized brigade into a war machine that can hide in plain sight and run like a cheetah.
The CID ground force is backed up by an aerial armada consisting of drones and highly refurbished, remotely piloted F-111s. Designated XF-111s, the planes sport F-35 radars and other sophisticated hardware and software transforming them into super advanced fighter-bombers.
Using their superior technology and tactics, the tiny yet brave forces of Scion engage the Russians in the name of freedom loving people worldwide. Mr. Brown is a master at raising the stakes, both military and political. The initial victories of the Scion mercenaries bloody the nose of Gryzlov, enraging the unstable Russian leader who is forced to commit more and more tanks and planes into the fray, all the while further turning the screws on Wilk and Barbeau. He is a frighteningly realistic madman with unlimited firepower.
Once the battle has begun, it is impossible to stop turning the pages. This summer, Iron Wolf will be as invaluable in your beach bag as sunscreen and a good hat.