Title: Changing of the Guard
Author: Steve Perry
Perry, Steve (2003) and Larry Segriff. Tom Clancy’s Net Force: Changing of the Guard. New York: Berkley Books.
Date Posted: June 4, 2013
I have read several books in the Tom Clancy’s, Net Force series. As a somewhat core fan of the two Net Force series (the regular novels and the younger Net Force Explorer series) I was more waiting to see what the latest installment would bring for the future’s Net defense team. After reading the latest I was a little disappointed by the story but still hopeful that with all the new additions to the team future volumes will definitely keep up the good work.
The title refers to the fact that several prominent characters from past Net Force books make their last appearances as members of the Net Force, including Alex Michaels, the Commander in the first seven books. He hands down the title (hence “Changing of the Guard”) to Thomas Thorn, while the field unit is handed from General Howard to Abe Kent, a former Marine. I can see that the novelist tires of characters and wants to explore new lines, but I will miss all of the old ones, and it soured the book for me to see them dismissed.
Not too soon after the changeovers does Net Force find itself involved in a case where a disk containing the names of former Russian spies falls into its hands. The disk leads to an attempted kidnapping of one of Net Force’s top computer agents, Jay Gridley. We learn that the attempt was perpetrated by a hitman assigned by a multibillionaire who is afraid the disk’s information will reveal him to be a former spy himself and will stop at nothing to make sure that the info never sees the light of day. But when the kidnapping gets bungled and Gridley ends up in a coma, Net Force has to stop the attacker and find out what is hidden on the disk.
The story is a seeming partial re-treading of a previous Net Force story that also sent Gridley into a coma, but this time it isn’t as engrossing as before. As for the new Net Forcers (Thorn and Kent), they get a rough first start in the mission field but hopefully their next adventure will definitely give them time to flesh themselves out to the reader.
Overall, this was an acceptable chapter in the Net Force legacy, but not all that satisfying to those who have been with it since book one.