cover image Iron Angels

Iron Angels

Eric Flint and Alistair Kimble. Baen, $25 (273p) ISBN 978-1-4814-8256-1

Alternate history coauthors Flint (the Ring of Fire series) and Kimble switch genres for a sci-fi thriller with plenty of twists and turns but little real novelty. FBI agent Jasper Wilde is sent to Chicago to investigate a series of disturbing incidents including a kidnapping and horrific murders. When Wilde and his team begin to dig deeper, they find that the perpetrators are in a cult that’s bent on summoning and sacrificing people to the biblical nephilim. Wilde partners with Temple Black from the Scientific Anomalies Group to investigate Chicago’s unnerving underbelly, and they realize that humankind is involved with something entirely alien. Wilde and Black both exhibit standard gritty secret agent traits (Wilde is a hardened divorced man, Black an uptight agent who hardly comes out of her shell), but they eventually break out of these molds and become three-dimensional characters. However, the authors’ many references to other works in the genre are distracting and invite unneeded comparisons. Secret cults and otherworldly entities have been explored expertly by others in the past, and, though this tale is energetic at times, it remains a retread through familiar territory. (Sept.)