Outriders is Book #1 in a new outer-space, military sci-fi series by Jay Posey. His name may ring a bell because we reviewed all of his novels in the dystopian, post-apocalyptic, sci-fi Duskwalker trilogy – a trilogy I absolutely loved. I can assure you that Jay has brought his unique spin to outer space in the same way that he brought it to a post-apocalyptic Earth. Now that I’ve read Outriders, I can’t wait for Book #2 in this new series. If you like fast-paced space traveling sci-fi with a military theme then read on.
Captain Lincoln Suh, a special ops officer, volunteered to become part of a new type of experimental special ops unit. No one who volunteered knows much about it, except that the military is testing a way to help make its soldiers immune to severe injury and even death. Yeah, right – like that’s going to work. Still Lincoln is career military and he’s always up for a challenge. If the experiment happens to work, it will be fantastic for soldiers who otherwise would have seen their lives lost or irreversibly changed.
The tests he’s put through are bizarre and incredibly invasive but he sticks with it. Surely it will be worth it in the end, right? He sees other volunteers drummed out left and right as the tests get more and more difficult to bear, but he’s not a quitter and he’s determined to see it through to the end. He will make the team, no matter what.
Lincoln is at the top of the heap going into the final interviews, interviews held after they’ve gone through the last procedure – a procedure they’re told mimics death, although he figured out that was a lie. It’s a procedure that captures and stores their brain’s contents so they can be reconstructed in case of actual death – that’s what they were told.
“Captain Lincoln Suh had three minutes to live.
Two minutes, fifty-seven seconds to be exact. He wasn’t supposed to know that, but he did because in the double-paned glass separating him from the observation room, he could just make out the ghostly numbers, reversed in reflection. Numbers, ticking down…There wasn’t much else he could clearly make out in that elevated observation room; shadows, blinking lights. But he could see that timer, counting down the last seconds of his life.”
“Lincoln couldn’t stop his mind from soaking up all the details, from formulating plans even though he knew he wasn’t going to escape…No, he wasn’t going to escape. Lincoln would have shaken his head at himself if he’d been able to do so…He’d spent so many years finding his way out of touch spots, it was impossible to turn it off even when he wanted to. He took a steadying breath and reminded himself that this was what he’d signed up for. More or less.”
The truth? Each person who went through the procedure actually died and was brought back with the brain dump stored for them. Lincoln has to admit that he’s sweating this final interview step, but he’s come so far and he’s determined to get through it.
And then they come to a question during the interview that he knows he aces, but something somehow must have gone wrong because he’s thanked and told his services will no longer be needed. What?! He failed?!? That’s impossible, he thinks as he’s shown the door. After all of that, he got booted for the answer to one question?
As he’s wondering what the hell he’s going to do now, he’s approached to join a top-secret special ops unit – one so secret that he’s never heard of it. And the first surprise? They want him to lead the group, the 519th Applied Intelligence Group – nickname Outriders. He thought he was in shock before – now he doesn’t know what to think. Then he gets his second surprise. He didn’t flunk the test – he passed. In fact, everyone in this small top-notch Outriders group has been through the same experimental testing marathon.
As Lincoln works diligently to get up to speed on the Outriders’ group dynamics, the details over its overall mission, and to catch up on the physical training needed, he is suddenly thrown head-long into a mission that could literally destroy or save the planetary alliance. Right – no pressure there. He doesn’t even know his own group members well yet, much less who the bigger and more mysterious players are at this level of intelligence and counter-intelligence. How the hell is he going to pull this off? Oh, and did I mention he’s going to have to pull off this miracle in outer space?
Someone suspected of being a mole, a woman known as Mother, is killing off special operatives no one should even know exist. And she’s doing it so well that no one is the wiser…at least they weren’t until a pattern began to emerge. That many agents dying one right after the other of “natural” causes and “accidents” began to set off alarm bells. The Outriders are charged with finding the woman behind these masterful assassinations and stopping her once and for all.
How do you hunt an enemy no one can identify – an invisible enemy who seems to strike at random? And how to do you stop someone who may be so highly placed that they know where you’re going and what you’re doing before you’ve gone there or done anything? Even for a super-secretive unit like Outriders, no one operates completely in a vacuum. And it’s Lincoln’s first mission – great – NOT!
How is he going to pull off the impossible without getting himself and his new team killed? Even if their brain contents are stored, he’s determined to not have that be even a remotely possible fallback position. He wants his people intact and alive, thank you very much! The only question is how to keep them that way and do what has to be done…small detail…
Lincoln Suh is not just highly intelligent, he’s got a firm set of values he lives by and he refuses to compromise those values. He’s the kind of leader who’s likeable and gets things done while caring for his team as if they were his family, which they are in many ways. I haven’t talked about the other Outrider team members; however, they are each outstanding in their own unique ways. The dynamics among them all make for a wonderful camaraderie that is a joy to read about. I grew to like them all immensely, which made the nail-biting events in the novel more personal and scarier. The villains? Now that would be telling. Let’s just say Lincoln’s intellect has met its match, coupled with a lack of humanity and compassion…and that’s putting it mildly.
I knew Jay Posey was brilliant at world building from his Duskwalker trilogy, and he’s continued that tradition with his new series. The on-planet and off-planet venues are completely realistic and believable. The equipment used makes perfect sense and falls into those classic technology examples which you know are going to show up in real life sometime down the road – yep, they’re that good. The conspiracy, spy, covert, political aspects and the militaristic aspects of the novel are universal and timeless. Anyone who’s been even remotely or peripherally involved in any of those will be nodding their head going, “Yep, that’s exactly how it works and probably always will.”
I literally bit my nails to the quick from the non-stop, mind-bending action and tension – Jay Posey, you owe me new fingernails, but I forgive you that along with the lost sleep. It was well worth every minute of it. This is classic interplanetary outer-space sci-fi in the grand classical tradition and I ate it up! I really can’t wait until Book #2 is ready to read – so get writing already – those are your marching orders, Mr. Posey! And for you sci-fi fans out there, I highly recommend Outriders!
Can’t wait to read it? Outriders is available in all formats from your favorite online bookseller. Click on the link below and you can have it to read immediately!
I’d love to get your comments on Outriders, Jay Posey and/or his other work, and/or this review.
Click on the Authors Reviewed tab at the top of the page and then on the links found with Jay Posey’s name to read our reviews of all of the novels in the dystopian, apocalyptic, sci-fi Duskwalker trilogy. Those novels are (in order) Three, Morningside Fall, and Dawnbreaker.