While I’ve read some books in Gavin Parmar’s Unseen Warriors series before, it was only very recently that I actually read his debut. As an early independent novel, it has issues but manages to be better in context.
Who and What
A group of what appear to be ordinary American soldiers suddenly and quickly find themselves in a “Black Ops” unit. The main protagonists are sent to “Black Ops”, which has a camp in Russia, as a form of semi-punishment after getting in a fight in Seoul.
Then from there it’s a disjointed mess of action that involves everything from nuclear blasts (multiple ones over the course of the book, similar to Dale Brown) to firefights to dogfights to infantry-vs-tank. This is a first independent novel, and it shows in the prose with inconsistent descriptions and grammatical issues-the most obvious is referring to martial law as “Marshal Law”.
In terms of characterization, it ends up being clunky cheap thriller characterization but still earnestly tries-something that can sum up the entire book very well.
DEEP HISTORY OF TEM
Unseen Warriors starts with an infodump on how the US military adopted a version of the G3 rifle for their own use after the 5.56mm rifles [that they’d used for decades] somehow proved unsatisfactory. It continues in this style throughout the entire book. As an example, it has Mi-35s (export Hinds) referred to sometimes as Mi-34s (a real but totally different helicopter).
Pretty much the entire book (and the later series) has their heavy hand. Tanks appear everywhere and ignore logistics and concealment. The main characters just go into a “Black Ops Unit” like that. Terrorists can have gigantic arsenals that no one noticed before, even with stuff that would be hard to conceal and raise lots of red flags. Nuclear bombs are treated very cavalierly and continuously used. The jumping around plot doesn’t help.
The action is well-intended (see a pattern?) but suffers from several big problems. The first is its constant repetition (including the gore), the second is the clunky prose, and the third is that it’s hard to tell the exact context sometimes thanks to the careening, weaving plot.
The Only Score That Really Matters
Judged purely in isolation, this book and series are not the best. My first impression while reading one of them long ago was that the writing style was poor, the action repetitive, the premise and plausibility ludicrous, and thus it was hard to get into.
However, as an early earnest effort, it feels better. After all, I’d rather have a sincere amateur effort (and Parmar has improved in later Unseen Warriors books, especially in terms of flow and pacing) that was clunky and zombie sorceress-heavy than a cynical commercial effort that was also, as many 2000s technothrillers were, clunky and zombie sorceress-heavy.