Publisher: Bold Strokes Books
Sophia Kell Hagin has created a story in Whatever Gods May Be that is supposed to be set in the near future, but her information about military technology and the future of geopolitics makes it clear that it isn't that far away.
Jamie Gwynmorgan went into the army to escape a miserable childhood and ended up as an expert sniper and assassin for the US government. Her past and her job have left her extremely efficient at her job, but unable to trust anyone. The rise to power of China has caused a destabilization in Asia and Jamie is sent into a war in Indonesia. After she is captured and tortured, a Red Cross mission led by Senator Lynn Hillinger shows up in the camp and ends up being taken hostage. Only Jamie's skill makes it possible for them to escape and those same abilities are all that stand between their survival and death as they flee through the mountains towards a hoped for rescue.
Hagin shows a great deal of knowledge about the interplay that is already going on between China as a rising super power and the United States. The scenarios she creates for war and conflict are totally imaginable to anyone who studies current affairs. The most interesting aspect of the book is the technology she employs. This is described in such detail that the reader will suspect that much of it already exists. From the biouniforms that are full of sensors and camouflage a body with a changing array of colors to the high tech communication gear and weapons, it's obvious that Hagin has tapped into what soldiers will soon look like, if they aren't already there.
Whatever Gods May Be isn't a typical lesbian novel. There isn't any romance in this book. It's a straight adventure story starring a flawed but appealing character. Jamie is also scary in what she represents. That soldiers like this exist and are in fact needed in today's wars is undoubtedly true. What they are capable of is admirable and terrifying. One question that occurs is what can be done with these people after they have finished their service for the government? They aren't people you would necessarily want living next door to you, yet they're needed to keep the country safe. Can they be woven back into society or will they stay outcasts for the rest of their lives?
This book is intense. There's no levity to alleviate the tension that grows throughout the book. It's an intriguing story, but not one for someone who is looking for casual reading.