Bennett R. Coles: Ghosts of War

Ghosts of War Cover

I received a free physical copy of this book from the publishers in exchange for an honest review.

The Terran military has defeated the invading fleet, but the war is far from over. As a covert agent embeds himself on Earth, advanced Centauri technology enables him to pry into the military’s most secure files, accessing secrets that could lead to millions of deaths.

Lieutenant Commander Thomas Kane, Lieutenant Katja Emmes, and Sublieutenant Jack Mallory again find themselves at the forefront of the planet’s defenses. Yet terrorism isn’t the only threat they face. Given what they’ve experienced, their greatest challenge may be defeating the memories of war.

Ghosts of War is the second in Bennett R. Coles ‘Virtues of War’ series (the review for the first book can be found here!). Ghosts of War follows on from the events within the first book, taking on a completely different tone that highlights the treatment provided to war veterans following a tour. The more common theme within this novel is mental health and how it affects each of the characters differently alongside how they are treated following their actions from the war in space.

I am glad that Bennett R. Coles is highlighting such a theme, and bringing an awareness to an illness that many people may not fully understand no matter how many times they hear about it. It was interesting to see the way all the characters were affected differently but also how they themselves dealt with this issue outside of the help provided for them.

I found Ghosts of War to be slower than the first book, with the majority of this novel set upon Earth and focusing on the aftermath of the war. Though it is a direct follow on and the novel clearly will not go by without a serious action, it was a bit more mundane in the tasks and scenes we saw. Considering this, I found myself enjoying this book far more. It may have been that I knew the characters better and what they had been through, but it also could have been knowing that everything was going to lead up to one big point towards the end.

This book ties up any loose ends left behind at the end of the last book as well as solidifying the relationships between characters. We meet characters previously mentioned but never seen and begin to understand how these characters influence our main protagonists and antagonists. We also get to meet characters from the previous book that were civilians/militia on the Centauri planet being bombarded from space by the Astral Force and their thoughts and feelings towards events taking place.

Everything being said, this book was by far my favourite out of the two within the series and really solidified my investment within the characters and events yet to come. The narrative played out really well and was satisfying in all the right places, though did appear rushed a little in some – something that didn’t hinder my pleasure of the book.

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