cover image Pandora's Legion: Harold Coyle's Strategic Solutions, Inc.

Pandora's Legion: Harold Coyle's Strategic Solutions, Inc.

Harold Coyle, Barrett Tillman, . . Forge, $24.95 (331pp) ISBN 978-0-765-31371-3

In this promising first of a new series about the resurgence of the second oldest profession, the mercenary, in the guise of PMC (private military contractors), bestseller Coyle (They Are Soldiers ) teams with aviation historian and novelist Tillman (Warrior ) to chronicle the exploits of one such PMC, Strategic Solutions Inc. An eclectic assortment of ex-military action junkies and civilian specialists, the group is headed by a retired admiral who has the trust of certain elements of the current administration. When an American convert to Islam turns up at London's Heathrow Airport with a lethal and highly contagious disease, epidemiologists backtracking his itinerary uncover a jihadist plot to send biological time bombs among the infidels to spread disease, death and disarray. Problem: the plot's source is in a sensitive region of Pakistan where American troops can't go. While the characters never really come alive as in other Coyle novels, the description of how a PMC operates, with all its strengths and limitations, is engrossing and believable. (Feb.)