cover image Edge of Battle

Edge of Battle

Dale Brown, . . Morrow, $25.95 (418pp) ISBN 978-0-06-075300-9

Action junkies for whom characterization is not a priority will zip through this near-future techno-thriller from bestseller Brown, a sequel to Act of War (2005). The elite American unit known as Task Force TALON continues to battle a Russian terrorist group known as the Consortium, whose leader, Yegor Zakharov, seeks to exploit the porous Mexican border to infiltrate the U.S. and has allied himself with a mysterious Mexican smuggler of drugs and people. When U.S. Border Patrol agents are massacred, the National Security Agency adviser proposes such radical steps as using robots and nanotechnology to protect the border with Mexico. Some readers may find the lack of any radical Islamic threat in 2007 a bit hard to swallow (even with this imagined universe's capture of Osama bin Laden), while the escalation of tensions with Mexico, exacerbated by that country's naïve president who has jumped to politics from a career in television, also takes quite a bit of suspension of disbelief. (May)