Friday, August 12, 2011

Miles To Go by Amy Dawson Robertson

Publisher:               Bella Books

Good first novels usually feature a well-told story with a few weaknesses, but they also show the author's potential for the future.  Seldom are they strong in every category.  Amy Dawson Robertson apparently didn't read the rule book about first novels because she has produced a powerhouse with Miles To Go, the first volume in the Rennie Vogel Intrigue series.

Rennie Vogel achieves the impossible through torturous training and determination.  She is the first woman even chosen to be on an FBI international counter terrorism team.  Most people think she's a product of affirmative action and will destroy her team, but Rennie is determined to prove that she's as good as any man on the squad.  She prepares until she is a lean, instinctive operative totally focused on their mission and stripped down to the bare essence of her soul, with no personal life and no need for one.  When the team is given an impossible assignment to assassinate a terrorist leader, Rennie is ready to play her part.

When the assignment is disrupted by one disaster after another, Rennie is determined to carry it out to its conclusion.  What she didn't count on was rescuing Hannah Marcus, an American journalist who had been held by the terrorists for two years and was presumed dead by most of the world.  Surviving the completion of her assignment had always been questionable, but surviving it with Hannah in tow seems impossible.  As they flee through the hostile territory of Tajikistan pursued by members of the terrorist band, Rennie has to deal with two issues she hasn't trained for.  She has to depend on someone else and she develops an attraction for Hannah.  Even if they survive, secret dealings of the American government will probably keep them from having a future, but they have to try.

The first question the reader is going to have after reading this book is whether Robertson herself has ever been an agent for the government.  She includes tremendous detail about the training that agents go through, the way they think, and the way that covert missions are organized.  She also shows an intricate knowledge of how intrigue within the government works, how agencies interact and how they cover up what they don't want known.  Robertson demonstrates more insight into international politics than the average citizen and creates a story that contains so much realism at times the reader will have to remember that it's fiction and not a telling of factual events.

The other strong part about this novel is the way it's written.  There are no extraneous scenes.  Each one has a purpose and adds to the flow of the story.  The characters are well developed, but at the end of the book you still won't know everything about Rennie or Hannah.  There is enough revealed to move this story, but there are aspects of both women that can be developed in later books.   

The real beauty of the book, however, is the language it's written in.  The prose used in the book almost comes out as poetry.  At times the reader can get lost in the way the words are used and their descriptive quality.  You can taste the sweat, feel the heat and smell the blood.

The only fear is that Robertson may have shot all of her ability in her first book, but that doesn't seem likely.  Time will tell.  For now, Miles To Go is a must read for anyone who likes a story full of adventure, thrills, and intrigue that comes straight from current events.  It's also for the reader who likes an exceptionally well-told story.

No comments:

Post a Comment