Blood Ivory is the fourth entry in the Black Eagle Force series, detailing the super-team in their super-VTOL aircraft as they face terrorist poachers and cruise ship hijackers.
It’s also where the series simply collapses like the Hornets did in one infamous 2009 playoff game. Almost everything good and distinctive about it isn’t there, and everything that’s bad and derivative about it is. The names get even worse, and the politics (particularly at the “climax”) go from “stupid, wish-fulfilling, and strangely charming” to “stupid, wish-fulfilling, and creepy”.
But those are the least of its problems. There are two bigger ones.
- The fundamental flaws with the rest of the series are there, and made even worse by a descent into jumping technothriller plots.
- Substantially worse, the central “more Mack Maloney than Mack Maloney” gimmick is tossed aside almost completely. Past BEF books, particularly the first two, had opponents suitable for the super-VTOLs. This one just doesn’t.
What’s left is what amounts to two intertwined fourth-rate “small unit thrillers” that have, you guessed it, most of the weaknesses and few of the strengths of that subgenre. They’re too silly to be good “serious” thrillers by far, and they’re too mundane to be good “goofy” thrillers.
It’s uncommon to have a book series misfire so dramatically in one entry, especially one without excuses like editorial pressure (this series is self-published) or changes of writers (not evident here). But this book misfires indeed. It’s like the time Captain Beefheart tried recording “normal” music, taking something where the eccentricity was the biggest draw and leaving only mush.