I have to admit this book was kind of a struggle to get through. It’s not a bad book by any means so I do encourage you to read it, especially if you gotten through the other four books. This one is still about the exploits of a young linguist turned Army Ranger and then flung ten thousand years into our future. Nothing radical, right! Well, it is, but that’s the way the story goes.
Young Private Walker a.k.a. Private Talker is definitely lost starting off in this book. And it’s his own fault. He’s taken to the Ranger Creed like he’s supposed to so when he see Sergeant Joe fall into the Mouth of Madness and that violent river, he knew he had to do something. That something was to jump in voluntarily because Rangers don’t go alone. And that was it. He wasn’t about to let Sergeant Joe head out on his own even if it had been an accident for him to fall into the river and now Private Talker jumped in on his own. Yet, he finds himself separated from Sergeant Joe and his mysterious ruck sack that they both had been holding onto during those first few minutes in the river. But, somewhere along the second or third rapids or waterfall, he let go of the ruck and it and Sergeant Joe went elsewhere. Now Private Talker is in the dark somewhere down deep.
Now this is where the story gets kind of tedious. Private Talker is also a writer or so the thinks. He’s taken to record the Ranger’s exploits on this never ending mission that is ten thousand years in our future and one that looks like something J. R. Tolkien. Yeah, this place he’s at is weird. It’s Earth, no doubt about that, but Earth has turned into one huge monster pit. Private Talker thinks he’s just about at the bottom of that pit and he knows there are monsters in the dark somewhere around him. He doesn’t have his weapon with him either! What he’s got is the basic survival stuff that any Ranger better have with them; a lighter (flame), a knife, and a Sharpie. Fortunately, he finds a shield down in the deep dark. He’s using it to do what he does, he’s writing down what’s going on so when the other Rangers find his bones they’ll be able to read his story. Not much good that will do him now, but it keeps his mind busy and that’s a good thing right now.
So, eventually he has to move on and start figuring how to get back to his unit. He needs to find Sergeant Joe, if that’s possible, and then make a plan on how to go from there. That’s what most of the book is about. Him teaming up with Sergeant Joe and following a plan on getting back to his Ranger unit. It won’t be easy, but along the way he finds that Sergeant Joe is one hell of a Ranger and that he, Private Talker is keeping up with him! That’s startling because Private Talker doesn’t really think of himself as a Ranger. He’s a linguist, master of many languages and that’s what he does for this Ranger detachment. He talks to all the weird things the Ranger detachment meets in this weird world. So, he knows he has a purpose, he’s just not sure he’s a Ranger. And that’s something Sergeant Joe is going to change. Plus get them back to their Ranger unit.
The first part of the story was interesting after I remembered what had happened to both guys. I knew they had fallen into some river that was leading underground, but only at the start of this book do we find out where the landed. Private Talkers story about getting himself moving to go find Sergeant Joe, well, that part is pretty boring. There’s not much fighting going on, just Private Talker running from stuff since he ain’t got no weapon. Oh, he does use his shield on occasion, but that’s also because he’s got no other weapon and he’s written on every square inch of it. The story doesn’t get really interesting until he does team up with Sergeant Joe. From there on they are Rangerin’ like they should. Lots of bad guys to kill and they got Sgt Joe’s ruck that’s filled with all sorts of wonderful items, until it’s empty and they are out of ammo!
Looks like there’s a book six, “Lead the Way” coming out sometime around 1 April 2022. I’m putting it on my list. I suggest you do to unless the middle part of this book just bores you to much. It could do that if you let it! Sorry, just writing what I think.