Title: Edge of Battle
Author: Dale Brown
Brown, Dale (2006). Edge of Battle. New York: William Morrow
Date Updated: April 29, 2015
Violence and tensions along the U.S.-Mexican border have never been higher, sparked by battles between rival drug lords and an increased flow of illegal migrants. To combat the threat, the United States has executed Operation Rampart: a controversial test base in southern California run by Major Jason Richter and TALON, his high-tech special operations unit. Their success is threatened by a drug kingpin and migrant smuggler named Ernesto Fuerza. In the guise of Mexican nationalist “Commander Veracruz”, he causes a storm of controversy on both sides of the border, calling for a revolution to take back the northernmost “Mexican states” – the Southwest United States. His real intention is to make it easier to import illegal drugs across the border.
Action junkies for whom characterization is not a priority will zip through this near-future techno-thriller from bestseller Brown, a sequel to Act of War (2005). The elite American unit known as Task Force TALON continues to battle a Russian terrorist group known as the Consortium, whose leader, Yegor Zakharov, seeks to exploit the porous Mexican border to infiltrate the U.S. and has allied himself with a mysterious Mexican smuggler of drugs and people. When U.S. Border Patrol agents are massacred, the National Security Agency adviser proposes such radical steps as using robots and nanotechnology to protect the border with Mexico. Some readers may find the lack of any radical Islamic threat in 2007 a bit hard to swallow (even with this imagined universe’s capture of Osama bin Laden), while the escalation of tensions with Mexico, exacerbated by that country’s naive president who has jumped to politics from a career in television, also takes quite a bit of suspension of disbelief.