Monday, January 2, 2012

Sixth Column-Robert Heinlein

Sixth Column

Robert Heinlein

Baen, Jan 3 2012, $13.00

ISBN: 9781451637700

Major Whitey Ardmore arrives at the Citadel underground research facility to be met by numerous corpses. The six PTSD survivors claim that the invading PanAsian forces did not cause the mass deaths; instead they work on the Unified Field Theory that led to the lethal Ledbetter effect.

Ardmore takes command knowing he must keep his subordinates busy so they do not think of what the horror they just witnessed within the facility and what is happening outside across the country to their loved ones. The major assigns assistant cook Jeff Thomas to conduct outside surveillance. A former hobo, Thomas makes contact with the local hobo population where he learns and reports on the PanAsian reign of terror that targets civilians and that the American military cannot win. The Citadel Commander knows he must lead a counter insurgency using the enemy’s strict rules against them. Thus Ardmore and his team create a new religion of Lord Mota as the invaders allow public gathering for religious purposes. The rebels begin their quest for freedom by building their temple over their research center as the revolt begins.

Sixth Column is an intriguing clash of the cultures thriller, which in some ways feels obsolete but, written during the “Yellow Menace” era (Doc Savage tales), also makes a strong case that racism or any intolerant absolutism is a loser for everyone. The magnificent six is too perfect, but Robert Heinlein’s fans will enjoy East meets West in the States.

Harriet Klausner

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