DMZ

This is the Future of War (Future War Book 7)

Fiction - Military
Kindle Edition
Reviewed on 06/25/2022
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Pikasho Deka for Readers' Favorite

DMZ: This is the Future of War (Future War Book 7) is the latest installment of the series by FX Holden. Set in the year 2036, the book follows several characters caught up in a devasting conspiracy in the Korean Peninsula. The unexpected bombing of the village of Panmunjom derails the process of the Peace Accord, starting a series of events with catastrophic ramifications. Tasked with training South Korean pilots, Lieutenant Karen "Bunny" O'Hare suddenly finds herself in a battle zone as North Korea initiates a seemingly unprovoked attack. When two nuclear bombs detonate over the Sea of Japan, it is up to Lieutenant O'Shea Lomax, commander of the USS Cody, to find the rogue North Korean submarine. Meanwhile, Supreme Guard detachment commander Captain Jong-chon Ri must do everything to protect the Supreme Leader from assassins.

Fast-paced, action-packed, and filled with political intrigue, DMZ is a stellar culmination of the Future War series. FX Holden draws upon existing geopolitical rivalries to create a convincing scenario of war between superpowers, showcasing the men and women on the ground dealing with its consequences. Every action sequence seems believable, and you get the sense that this is what actual war might feel like. Holden gives the points of view of characters from all the factions involved, making the narrative all the more compelling as you find yourself rooting for your favorites. The stakes feel genuine, and no victory comes without our heroes making enormous sacrifices. If you're a fan of military thrillers, this is the perfect book for you.

Jamie Michele

Think peace between North and South Korea is impossible? Think again for now, because that is the lightning rod the novel DMZ by FX Holden stakes its claim on in the seventh book in This is the Future War series. There is always the “if we burn, you burn too” aspect of nuclear warfare, and this is unabashedly explored when a heart-stopping peace accord goes up in a mushroom cloud. Nobody is safe anymore, but nobody is more prepared to put themselves out in front to stop that from happening than the crew that Holden strings together to get us there. From North, South, East, and West, six unaffiliated individuals become important in the move to stop a mass global nuclear holocaust. Holden gives each one their several chapters of fame by bringing their roles to life through these six protagonists who are the point of view characters.

There's little else that is more exhilarating than an underdog saga and FX Holden continues to deliver quality novels without fail. DMZ is another fine example of how an author can mature in their craft with each subsequent release. I jumped in at book four, went back to read the ones I missed, and here I am, saluting at seven. Military fiction is so tricky because you cannot possibly know which audience you are writing for, especially when who is good and who is bad in the wide world of politicking is subjective at best. Holden does not cater to Western exceptionalism and instead wraps it all up as an effort. There are American heroes to tickle your GI Joe fancy but for us who are not just of the all-American variety, this is a standout. This is a rock shock of a ride and I loved being here for every page of it. Another well-done novel and hopefully there is not too long a wait for the next.

Asher Syed

Narrated through a trifecta lens that blends three clear compatriots aligned with different nations, DMZ by FX Holden is the seventh installment of the Future War series, preceded by Kobani, Golan, Bering Strait, Okinawa, Orbital, and Pagasa. DMZ highlights the fragility of peace and the mechanisms of disorder they have always been built on and does so through six individuals who could not possibly be more different from one another. As a peace treaty between North Korea and South Korea is finally arrived at, it is almost instantaneously destroyed and the threats that loom alongside the warring that flares up is the catalyst for what can and will become a nuclear showdown. An outright annihilation. Six characters. Six backgrounds, alliances, drivers, and motivating factors will work for or against one another in a do-or-die scenario where losing means the end of everything.

The biggest advantage FX Holden has over other authors I have read in the genre of military thrillers and Clancy-esque bells and missiles technicality is the ability to write prose that beautifully depicts what characters are witnessing. Lines such as, “Like bats hanging by their feet from the top of a cave, the Locust drones were arranged in neat vertical rows...” create visuals so a reader is not moving from one loquacious information dump to the next, because those dumps do not exist. From the standpoint of believability, Holden does not require readers to suspend belief for more than a fleeting moment. The wit is phenomenal and there is one exposition from Lomax where he is verbally coaxing the Cody to go just a little further and evokes a description that had me laugh so loudly the passengers on my train thought I was a madman. This is the series for readers who enjoy intelligent fiction that keeps you on the edge of your seat. Very highly recommended.

Tom Gauthier

As the leaders of North and South Korea sit down to finally sign a Peace Accord at Panmunjom Peace Village, planned to lead to the reunification of the peninsula, all the denizens of Hades are turned loose. FX Holden provides a group of protagonists and antagonists who keep you spinning as they seem to exchange roles in mid-battle. The politicians and generals may start wars, but it’s the ordinary men and women who place life and limb on the line to execute them. In DMZ, that execution makes for a reading whirlwind of action from page one until you either stop, exhausted, or push through to the last blazing page. The insufferable cum lovable Lieutenant Karen 'Bunny' O'Hare is joined by an equally eclectic cast of warriors served by a symphony of Artificial Intelligence devices. FX Holden tells the story of events around DMZ through the eyes of the ordinary soldiers trying to survive and the evil-doers seeking to thwart their efforts. From fighter planes and drones over Korea to ships and submarines in the Sea of Japan, from a maverick Marine teamed up with an equally maverick South Korean detective to the covert meddling of Communist China, DMZ delivers the best of the action and adventure we’ve come to expect from FX Holden.

From the very first page, we are thrown into action that puts us shoulder to shoulder with the characters in trying to discern who is friend or foe. And when the roles shift, we’re all trying to stay alive until we sort it out – which will be very near the end before you do. The plot is complex to the extreme, which is why the tale that Holden weaves around the Korean DMZ will keep your heart pounding from the first to the last page. What’s at stake is the potential reunification of the two Koreas. But power-hungry factions on both sides are attempting to stop the process in the most deadly and kinetic ways possible. One second you are under fire from the North Koreans and on the next page you are standing back-to-back with them against their own. This is what makes for page after page of breathless action, unpredictable, skillful, deadly, and for all of us readers of FX Holden, a delicious repast of literary voyeurism into the machinations of power politics without law or rules. DMZ is the last of FX Holden’s Future of War Series. It’s trite to say he may have left the best for last, but for its sheer action, it is hard to say otherwise. It’s a sad announcement for fans of his outstanding skills in writing the technically precise, humanly emotional, military science, just plain exciting stories of warriors in action. Thank you, sir, for the ride – especially as a pseudo-backseater with Bunny!

K.C. Finn

DMZ: This is the Future of War is a work of fiction in the military and action subgenres and is the seventh installment in the Future War book series. It is best suited to the mature reading audience owing to some use of explicit language and moderate references to wartime violence. In this newest book from author FX Holden, who really knows how to shake up the action in these futuristic conflict scenarios, the series concludes with the ultimate question: will Korea ever be united again, or will the North and South destroy one another in the process? What follows is a complex work with political intrigue, thrilling conflict, and the looming threat of destruction.

One of the things which never ceases to amaze me about reading war books by author FX Holden is that nothing is ever repeated, and it never feels similar from novel to novel. This is true of the highly original and exciting twists in DMZ, where we see the current contemporary issues of the Korean conflict extrapolated onto a much bigger and more devastating scale. As such, the story is also grounded in realism by the fantastic ensemble cast of characters, who offer a real hands-on perspective of life during this conflict and the difficult burdens they each have to bear. I particularly enjoyed Jerami’s development as he was really put to the test in hot water in Sejong. Overall, I would not hesitate to recommend DMZ to fans of the current series and FX Holden for any military fiction fan.