Reviews for 2034 : a novel of the next world war

Kirkus
Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

A frightening look at how a major-power showdown might race out of control.Its 2034, and the Chinese are sick and tired of the U.S. Navy violating their territorial waters with freedom of navigation patrols. Near the Spratly Islands and Mischief Reef, a Navy ship stops to aid the incapacitated trawler Wn Rui. But theres something fishy about the boat (hint: electronics), so the Navy holds it. Thousands of miles away, an unknown force takes control of the F-35 piloted by Maj. Chris Wedge Mitchell over the Strait of Hormuz, and he becomes a prisoner in Iran. China will arrange for the F-35s return in exchange for the trawler, but what they really want is a confrontation and uncontested control of the South China Sea. They put a cyber stranglehold on the U.S., cause a nationwide blackout, and sink several American naval vessels, believing the conflict will be limited and Chinas victory will be total. But murder a few thousand people here and a few thousand there, and pretty soon you have a needless war in which the dead number in the millions. And this is only with tactical nukes. This novel starts out like a Tom Clancy thriller, but whether Wedge Mitchell is more like Jack Ryan or Dr. Strangelove is for the reader to decide. Maybe Wedge just wants to live up to the military legacy of his Pop and Pop-Pop and then go light up a celebratory Marlboro. Better that than lighting up the Chinese coast. Among the colorful cast of characters are a Chinese admiral with an American mother, an American security official with family in India, and a female U.S. president who, despite a fair number of references, is never named. Finally, an elegiac coda describes an aftermath wished for by no one. Unlike with the never-ending Clancy series, its hard to imagine a sequel to this dark warning about human folly and miscalculation.This compelling thriller should be required reading for our national leaders and translated into Mandarin. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.


Kirkus
Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

A frightening look at how a major-power showdown might race out of control. It’s 2034, and the Chinese are sick and tired of the U.S. Navy violating their territorial waters with “freedom of navigation patrols.” Near the Spratly Islands and Mischief Reef, a Navy ship stops to aid the incapacitated trawler Wén Rui. But there’s something fishy about the boat (hint: electronics), so the Navy holds it. Thousands of miles away, an unknown force takes control of the F-35 piloted by Maj. Chris “Wedge” Mitchell over the Strait of Hormuz, and he becomes a prisoner in Iran. China will arrange for the F-35’s return in exchange for the trawler, but what they really want is a confrontation and uncontested control of the South China Sea. They put a cyber stranglehold on the U.S., cause a nationwide blackout, and sink several American naval vessels, believing the conflict will be limited and China’s victory will be total. But murder a few thousand people here and a few thousand there, and pretty soon you have a “needless war” in which the dead number in the millions. And this is only with tactical nukes. This novel starts out like a Tom Clancy thriller, but whether Wedge Mitchell is more like Jack Ryan or Dr. Strangelove is for the reader to decide. Maybe Wedge just wants to live up to the military legacy of his Pop and Pop-Pop and then go light up a celebratory Marlboro. Better that than lighting up the Chinese coast. Among the colorful cast of characters are a Chinese admiral with an American mother, an American security official with family in India, and a female U.S. president who, despite a fair number of references, is never named. Finally, an elegiac coda describes an aftermath wished for by no one. Unlike with the never-ending Clancy series, it’s hard to imagine a sequel to this dark warning about human folly and miscalculation. This compelling thriller should be required reading for our national leaders and translated into Mandarin. Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.


Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Former Marine and National Book Award and Carnegie Medal nominee Ackerman (Red Dress in Black and White, 2020) and Stavridis, a four-star admiral who served as Supreme Allied Commander at NATO, joined forces to write this chilling yet compulsively readable work of speculative fiction. The year is 2034, and a series of seemingly uncontrollable escalations are set in motion after a U.S. naval ship is inexplicably sunk by the Chinese during a routine patrol around the South China Sea. Viewed through the perspectives of various figures in the national security departments of America, China, India, and Iran, within a narrative structure reminiscent of that in Max Brooks’ World War Z (2006), the action in this near-future world is grounded in contemporary events. For instance, a pact between China and Iran was formed after the coronavirus pandemic; America’s two-party system has collapsed under the weight of its own dysfunction, and recent military miscalculations haunt each page. The story focuses not only on the decision-makers, but also on the soldiers asked to carry out each mission, humanizing the horrors of war. Ackerman and Stavridis have created a brilliantly executed geopolitical tale that is impossible to put down and that serves as a dire, all-too-plausible warning that recent events could have catastrophic consequences.


Publishers Weekly
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

In this sobering near-future novel from Ackerman (Waiting for Eden), a former Marine, and Stavridis (Sailing True North), a retired U.S. Navy admiral, a number of incidents across the globe build toward war between the U.S. and China. American war ships in the disputed waters of the South China Sea come upon an incapacitated trawler carrying advanced Chinese technology. The plane of a Marine pilot testing new stealth capability is remotely hijacked and delivered into Iranian hands. A Chinese defense attaché on assignment in the U.S. executes a plan to decimate the American Navy and cripple the nation’s cyber infrastructure. A U.S. deputy national security adviser at odds with his superiors must use his ethnic connections to negotiate a peace, even as an ever-escalating series of attacks engulfs American and Chinese cities in nuclear fire. The authors do a fine job depicting the human cost of geopolitical conflict, though they avoid the hardware emphasis of most military thrillers, and some of the potentially more exciting scenarios occur offstage. Those seeking a realistic look at how a future world war might play out will be rewarded. Agents: P.J. Mark, Janklow & Nesbit (Ackerman); Andrew Wylie, Wylie Agency (Stavridis). (Mar.)


Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Former Marine and National Book Award and Carnegie Medal nominee Ackerman (Red Dress in Black and White, 2020) and Stavridis, a four-star admiral who served as Supreme Allied Commander at NATO, joined forces to write this chilling yet compulsively readable work of speculative fiction. The year is 2034, and a series of seemingly uncontrollable escalations are set in motion after a U.S. naval ship is inexplicably sunk by the Chinese during a routine patrol around the South China Sea. Viewed through the perspectives of various figures in the national security departments of America, China, India, and Iran, within a narrative structure reminiscent of that in Max Brooks’ World War Z (2006), the action in this near-future world is grounded in contemporary events. For instance, a pact between China and Iran was formed after the coronavirus pandemic; America’s two-party system has collapsed under the weight of its own dysfunction, and recent military miscalculations haunt each page. The story focuses not only on the decision-makers, but also on the soldiers asked to carry out each mission, humanizing the horrors of war. Ackerman and Stavridis have created a brilliantly executed geopolitical tale that is impossible to put down and that serves as a dire, all-too-plausible warning that recent events could have catastrophic consequences.

Back