“Falcon” by Ronie Kendig

51l06l3OONL._SX326_BO1,204,203,200_ From the desert night combat zones of Afghanistan to the intricacies of interpersonal interaction, come on an adventure where the international stakes run high and the emotions run higher.

First of all, Falcon was a fun read. It’s been a while since I’ve enjoyed soldiers, spies, and special operations goodness. There’s nothing like sneaking through exotic high-rises with your night-vision goggles or analyzing digital data to try to find a hacker.

This isn’t just about boots in the dust and stocks to the shoulder, though. Intense passions fill the pages as the characters struggle with each other. Anger roils, longing roils, lots of the things roil (like fury, dread, confusion…). Mrs. Kendig pulls no punches in socking her characters right in the gut with whatever they’re facing, often emotionally, sometimes physically.

This book has completely convinced me that our military should be monosexual (is that the word?) – not coed. The problems caused by male/female tensions frequently distracted from the mission at hand, and although our heroes (/heroines) eventually got the job done, I can’t help referring to C. S. Lewis: “War is ugly. It’s even worse when women are involved.”

This is plainly demonstrated in the lead couple of the tale. Their messy shared history is so overpowering it interferes with keeping their heads in the game – which in turn causes them even more problems, of course. Although this whole thing would be less complicated had they not gotten involved with each other, that’s the point: poor choices lead to unhappy consequences, and often our poor reactions to those consequences lead to more punishing circumstances.

Although some of the characters talk about God, it’s not clear whether or not they’re exactly Christians. They don’t seem to think deeply about what God might want for their lives, and seem mostly concerned with satisfying their own hearts.

This is the third book in the “Quiet Professionals” series. Since I hadn’t read the other two, it was a little confusing sometimes who was who and what their significance was. Most things, however, were explained enough for me to follow the plot.

Nevertheless, the beginning scenes were a little confusing in the way they skipped from viewpoint to viewpoint (much like a C. J. Cherryh novel), even including a first-person viewpoint that never appears again in the rest of the third-person book. The text contains plenty of military “shop talk”, like slang and abbreviations, that are mostly explained in the glossary at the front of the book. A list of pertinent characters is also included – very useful.

A few cautions. Naturally, the subject matter of covert warfare is inappropriate for younger children. Though none of the injuries sustained are over-the-top graphic, the themes, trauma, and struggles of the characters would best be understood and handled by teen-to-adult readers. As for the sexual content: nothing is explicit or graphic, but the “unsavory” mistakes of characters – and their consequences – are plain enough for story purposes.

Which leads to another element. For a Christian author, Mrs. Kendig doesn’t make a strong statement on the modern concept of the role of romantic love – physical/emotional/sexual attraction – being paramount in marriage (or soul-mating, as it were).

She honestly deals with the complications of not letting marriage (and God) dictate our romance(s), but since the primary characters spend most of the book pursuing their romantic fulfillment and longing for the satisfaction of their “true love” – as it were – the message reached me as somewhat muddled. Again, the characters didn’t seem to contemplate “God’s will” for them very hard; which is not necessary for realistic characters, but it makes a statement.

All in all, Falcon was an intense, action-packed read of international schemes, potential betrayals, broad-reaching stakes, and people running face-to-face with the results of their past mistakes.

You can find Falcon, and the other books of the “Quiet Professionals” series, HERE. Ronie Kendig’s website is RonieKendig.com (here).

Note: This ebook file contains Digital Rights Management (DRM) software. Although intended to protect authors’ intellectual property, it frustrated me as I tried to conveniently read this book (meaning the copy I bought with my own hard-earned money). To read a fuller discussion of DRM and how it hurts readers, check out Calibre’s page explaining DRM.

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