Writer of Horror Fiction

Review of Peter Cline’s “Ex-Patriots”

Those who have read Ex-Heroes know the scoop from that first book.  Peter Clines has created a world with his own flavor of superheroes, led by The Dragon (St. George), Zzzap, Stealth, and Cerberus, who reside in “The Mount”, a barricaded movie studio in L.A.  They live there protecting the bulk of survivors in the city from Ex’s, aka zombies that have taken over the world.  I felt that the author created a wonderful and highly detailed group of heroes and villains, using the writing technique of going back and forth in time, from ‘now’ to ‘then’ and back again, revealing only what the reader needs to know about each character-their origins, what brought them to where they are now, their motivations, etc.-until absolutely necessary to the plot.  I loved the twists in the first book, which gave us a surprise ending I thought was quite a zinger.  The heroes are unique, complex, and entertaining-there are no cookie-cutter duplicates of other heroes we already know and love.

Ex-Patriots introduces the military to the equation here in the second book.  But not just the regular military, a group of super-soldiers created by a government scientist named Dr. Sorenson, who has turned them into physical specimens capable of great feats strength and speed.  They are led by Captain Freedom (his actual real last name), though he isn’t draped in the American flag throughout the book.  He is a physically massive soldier who is the strongest of the super-soldiers and also the most moral of the military men the reader is introduced to here.  The military, huddled at a secret base in Arizona, makes the trek to the Mount after discovering the barricaded safe haven.  Despite an introduction filled with missteps, the heroes agree to make the trip back to Arizona to discuss mutual survival plans with Colonel Shelly, the top army officer still alive, and Agent Smith, the only representative on hand representing the U.S. Government.  Naturally, more conflict between the military and heroes occurs, with the military wanting the large, robotic Cerberus machine and official control over the Mount, claiming that Marshall Law is still in play.  This despite serious questions as to whether the U.S. government even still exists, given that the ex’s seem to control most of the world.

New villains are revealed here, as well as new heroes, and the author does not disappoint with his efforts to provide fresh twists and turns to the plot, both with new characters and old.  He uses the same format of ‘now’ and ‘then’ to divulge choice details, which leaves the reader guessing on particular details until the moment is just right.  The action is on par with the first book, and the relationships between the different superheroes and the soldiers are solid.  I particularly like the slow burn that is going on between St. George and Stealth-the two hero leaders who can’t seem to figure out what type of relationship they’re supposed to have.

Like the preceding book, this was a well written tale and it leaves plenty of room for more twists and mysteries in the final book in the trilogy.  Villains that are complex and despicable, heroes that may seem indestructible yet are very much human in how they react and respond to the people and challenges they face…Mr. Clines has created a compelling world filled with fascinating characters.  I look forward to seeing where it all leads.

Ex-Patriots  can be found here: http://www.amazon.com/Ex-Patriots-Peter-Clines/dp/1934861871/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1321937132&sr=8-1

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