Cataclysm Protocol Red is another book in James Harrington’s Drakin series. This time, he delves into the difficult topic of biological and chemical weapons and how different people in power see their roles.
This book follows the events of Frozen Heart, putting it chronologically to the fourth place (for the time being), though the events of Froze Heart are mentioned only in small mentions. The main setting is the former Fort Charleston which became a biological laboratory in the first book and the base of Dr. Castillo, a typical evil scientist that would put Mengele to shame. The story sets up two characters – Lumé, a dragon scientist working on dismantling the lab, and Archer, a guard in the same place.
Discovering a hidden section of the laboratory quickly turns sour as an accident ends up trapping Lumé contained in this secret stash and even the biohazard suit will not provide her unlimited protection. When it seems that no one is too willing to get her out – and the systems set up to deal with a leak of potentially cataclysmic virus fail to activate – Archer tries to find help.
Archer’s best chance is Senator Qira Zall (the main character of books 2 and 3) – which makes it a challenge for Archer as he blames the senator for the strained marriage with Lumé – after all, Qira is the one pushing for the deconstruction of the lab and he blames her for the constant overtime shifts. However, it seems that she’s his only chance – and when they’re ambushed by trained agents, it’s clear there’s more going on than it seems.
Without spoiling much of the story, it clearly shows that there are many factions at play – secret government organizations who would like to preserve a world-ending disease in case of another major war (the fact that their fears about the Eastern Empire aren’t exactly unfounded show in books 5 and 6) and the moral questions tied to that – especially the balance of mutually-assured destruction insurance (with hints to Cold War) against the devastation potential of an arms race, this time with devastating biological weapons instead of nuclear. All with good shows how the sense of duty can go quite far in any direction, whether too militant or too pacifist, neither of which is good.
Read date: 31.1. – 4.2.2023
Amazon link (so far rated only by me, Goodreads link not included due to listing issues)
My rating: 95%
Length: 494 pages (Kindle edition)
My highlights – Goodreads seems to have some issues, can’t promise the link will work
The Drakin series became one of my favorites quite easily, and this book didn’t disappoint me. I admit I love serious topics with a mix of wholesome moments and a bit more adult approach to storytelling.
Good review, this isn’t the genre I usually read but I am looking to stretch out and try more books in different genres. I may have to add the Drakin series to my TBR list. Thanks for the recommendation
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If you try it, I hope you like it. The way James approaches some darker topics and the flaws of relatable antagonists is quite good IMO.