Friday, March 24, 2023

The MI6 Files, Book One: Burning Lance - Brent Towns

I bought this series when I was still at Rough Edges Press, but other than that I had nothing to do with it. So now I get to read it as a fan, rather than an editor. Which is good, because I really enjoyed it. THE MI6 FILES is a spin-off from Brent Towns’ extremely popular Team Reaper series. The protagonist, former Royal Marine Commando Richard Todd, previously appeared as a supporting character in some of those books. Todd, now working for MI6, England’s foreign intelligence service, takes center stage in BURNING LANCE.

The title refers to a Russian-designed and built laser weapon meant to be launched into space and capable of destroying entire cities from there with one pulse. However, it’s stolen from the Russians before it can be launched. The identity of the thieves is a mystery. The leaders of MI6 know that such a weapon can’t be trusted in anybody’s hands, so they assign Todd the job of finding the Burning Lance, recovering it, or destroying it if he can’t get it back.

He won’t be working alone, though. The Russians have decided that the weapon is too powerful and should be destroyed, too, so Todd is teamed up with a beautiful female Russian agent in his search. Before you think that you know where that’s going, as it turns out the Russian agent is a lesbian and not interested in Todd romantically. But they do become friends and comrades-in-arms as their mission turns into a globe-trotting adventure with a somewhat surprising conclusion as it’s revealed who has the Burning Lance and what they intend to do with it. This is a high-stakes game, with the fate of millions resting on Todd and his Russian partner.

To put it simply, this is a wonderful book, part James Bond and part Man From U.N.C.L.E. It also reminded me very much of one of the early Nick Carter, Killmaster books in which Nick was teamed with a Russian agent. The writing is smooth and terse and a very welcome contrast to so many current thrillers that are bloated beyond belief and often pull their punches when it comes to the climaxes. The big finish to BURNING LANCE is very satisfying, as is the brief wrap-up that follows.

I always felt a little funny about praising books that I edited, but as I said, that doesn’t apply here. BURNING LANCE is one of the best books I’ve read this year, another winner from Brent Towns, and if you’re an action/adventure fan I give it a very high recommendation. As usual, it's available in e-book and trade paperback editions. The next book in the series is coming soon, and I’m looking forward to reading it.

1 comment:

Lawrence Person said...

That cover illustration of (presumably) the main character sort of screams "I'm a complete tool."