The Infernal Game: Cold Warriors (book 1) by Rebecca Levene (book review).
‘Cold Warriors’, Rebecca Levene’s first book in the ‘Infernal Game’ series of supernatural thrillers, starts with a prologue set in 1988. We are taking part in the funeral of Tomas Len, who as a member of the so called Hermetic Division of the SIS, agreed to be buried alive in a voodoo ritual and to be resurrected three days later as a zombie. The ultimate qualification to get around heat sensors and electrified fences in those days, it seems. In the second part, we are witnessing a man impregnating a woman and then directly after that hanging himself. The prologue is the origin story of our heroes, as will get obvious later on.
The actual plot kicks off in the middle of the latest mission of MI6 agent Morgan Hewitt. During the mission, he accidentally kills his partner, who is only the last in a line of partners this unfortunate agent has on his conscience. In the eyes of his superior, he seems to emit mortality and so Morgan is quite surprised when he is sent on a new mission for the SIS.
Morgan gets partnered with Tomas, who just has been resurrected, twenty years later as originally planned because his death occurred just a day before the end of the cold war by the reinstated Hermetic Division. Tomas and Morgan are sent to capture one of the Ragnarok artefacts in Budapest, which is the reason why the Division has been founded in the first place. As is not uncommon in spy thrillers, the partners don’t really know anything about one another, so Morgan dreads the day when he will kill his newest partner. You can guess these two are the perfect match.
As the avid reader might expect, the mission doesn’t turn out as planned and Morgan and Tomas are soon on the run from Russian bodyguards. They get help from two agents, one CIA and the other BND, who also have supernatural abilities, get hold of a book which seems to be the key to the Ragnarok artefacts and try to hunt down the real players in this game of shadows. All the while, they are being chased by enemies.
On their way to Berlin, where they want to consult with the superiors of the BND agent, the book gets stolen and the group is separated. The two splinter groups make their different ways to the place where the final showdown happens. In the end…but read for yourself.
The reader is entertained with diverse spy-fi and supernatural tropes. From car chases, ninja attacks, train journeys with proper chases through the train as well as on its roof, double agents (quite literally), a demon possessing a child’s body, reanimated bodies and ghosts, revenge and a plan to destroy mankind, agents with various supernatural abilities to a boat chase, the novel doesn’t give the reader much time to get his breath.
Rebecca Levene not only describes the action scenes adequate, she gives her protagonists enough characterisation so that the reader can feel for them and understands their motivation. The author also easily evokes a cold war atmosphere despite most of the novel taking place in the present. ‘Cold Warriors’ is a novel which tries to entertain its readers and entertain it does. I read it with great pleasure and think it will appeal to fans of espionage with a supernatural touch or dark urban fantasy.
(pub: Abaddon Books. 295 page small enlarged paperback. Price: £ 7.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-906735-36-4)
check out website: www.abaddonbooks.com