BLUE WARRIOR by Mike Maden

Blue Warrior
Mike Maden
Putnam
Oct. 2014

Blue Warrior by Mike Maden is another novel involving drone technology. Besides being a techno-thriller his book includes politics, power corruption, and a backstory about his former romantic interest. He is able to weave into the storyline the legal/political implications of drone warfare, privacy issues related to surveillance technologies, and China’s desire to monopolize Africa’s rare earth element deposits.

The book is set in the remote Sahara Desert, where a recently discovered deposit of strategically indispensable “Rare Earth Elements” (REEs) ignites an international rush to secure them. Standing in the way are the Tuaregs, the fierce tribe of warrior nomads of the desert wasteland, who are fighting for their independence. They not only are fighting their own government but the Chinese who are working behind the scenes. Maden remarked about this region of the world, “I am fascinated with the amazing ancient African warrior. The men wear the veils, not the women, to hide their identity. When they sweat the blue dye washes up on their faces, thus the name. The theme of this book includes what it means to be a warrior. Mossa, the leader of the Tuaregs, reminds Troy Pearce that he has a responsibility to serve his people.”

Troy Pearce is a Wyoming mountain boy that used to work for a CIA Special Operations Group in Iraq and Afghanistan. He now runs a private contracting company that specializes in the deployment of “remotely piloted vehicles,” which allows him the discretion to choose jobs that are consistent with his moral compass. Pearce still loves his country but hates politics. As a consequence, his loyalty to former U.S. President Margaret Meyers, along with a desire to help friends in need, draws him into a complicated web of international business, political intrigue and nontraditional conflict.

With the second book in the series it becomes evident that Maden distrusts large government. His characters, former President Margaret Myers and Troy Pearce, battle the moral hypocrisy in government and partisan politics. Myers is a popular character for her toughness, fairness, and her desire to put her country ahead of any political interests. To counter Myers point of view is the character Cella who does what is in her own best interest, thinks borders are silly, and that everyone should go along to get along.

Maden commented, “I see fiction as a way to tell the truth, Americans are crying out for the anti-Hillary Clinton and the anti-politician. In this book I introduced a character, David Lane, who will be front and center in my next book, Drone Command. He is a Kennedy type politician who quotes and believes in the phrase ‘Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.’ I specifically link Lane to Kennedy to bring back these ideas. Myers, Lane, and Pearce all believe in more personal responsibility and less government except for national security. They believe in securing our borders, balancing the budget, standing up to countries like China, and having fair trade.”

Blue Warrior has characters whose views would impress the Libertarians of the world. Through the plot, in very subtle ways, Maden shows how power corrupts. There are many action intense scenes which keeps the plot moving at an accelerated pace.

Elise Cooper

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