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New book: Infiltrator (Dropzone #6)

Infiltrator is the sixth instalment of the Dropzone series of military sci-fi books. It continues from directly where Notorious (Dropzone #5) , Derelict (Dropzone #4)Shadow Puppets (Dropzone #3), Parasite (Dropzone #2) and Fleet Rats (Dropzone #1) left off, with the same characters.

The Dropzone series is set in the same universe as my previous sci-fi books – Conversations With Droids, The Kassini Division and Rise Of The Exiles – but it takes place in 2841, a half-century before the events of the other books.

Here’s the blurb for the latest instalment:

When your droid goes crazy…. send in one that’s even crazier.

Accidents happen in every workplace. But when an experimental battle droid escapes from a Federation Robotics laboratory, it’s a very bad day at the office.

The Agency sends our intrepid squad to a faraway jungle planetoid to capture it before anyone else does. Along for the ride is another experimental droid, who specialises in sarcasm and hunting his own kind.

Can the squad keep the enemy off his back? Can the infiltrator really be trusted?

Find out in the nailbiting, talon-chewing sixth instalment of the Dropzone series, part of Esa Ortega’s Kassini universe, for fans of classic sci-fi including Aliens, Starship Troopers and Old Man’s War.

The excellent cover artwork was again created by Kat Bastow.

Infiltrator is the sixth of a series of 10 books following the exploits of Virgil Lovell, the Sleeper Agency and Hoffman’s Revenants. The story goes…

A Federation Robotics Facility on an out-of-the-way jungle planetoid sends a distress beacon. The Agency is first on the scene to investigate, but when their squad reaches the lab, they run into trouble in the shape of a fearsome experimental battle droid that has gone rogue.

An infiltrator droid is assigned to the battle zone to find and subdue the errant robot; Hoffman’s Revenants are sent along to escort the droid and engage anyone who stands in the way of its seek-and-destroy mission.

Unfortunately for the squad, a cutting-edge Federation robot is a valuable prize. So by the time they arrive, the planet is teeming with rivals all intent on getting their hands, claws and metallic grasping appendages on the trophy…

Here are some inspirations that fed into the book:

1] Chickenhawk by Robert Mason (1983)

Mason’s unflinching account of his time as a Huey pilot in the US Army during the Vietnam conflict contains some of the most visceral and well-written accounts of the chaos and insanity of warfare when experienced up close and from within. The clear-headed, vivid description of the Vietnamese jungle setting, plus the stories of his unit dabbling in unofficial sidelines, both made an impression on me when I was writing Infiltrator.

2] Jacob’s Ladder (1990)

Another story with links to the war in Vietnam, this underrated psychological horror movie features Tim Robbins as a veteran attempting to understand why he’s losing his sanity to hallucinations and destabilising PTSD-like symptoms. It’s a claustrophobic and at times disturbing watch, but it engages with the psychological harm warfare unleashes on surviving soldiers and also explores how low desperate nations at war are willing to stoop to conquer.

3] Neighbours (1985-present)

Not all of Neighbours… just specifically the famous episode where Jim and Doug accidentally consume magic mushrooms on a camping trip and start hallucinating in the lowest-budget manner possible.

4] Runaway (1984)

This none-more-80s sci-fi actioner stars Tom Selleck as a cop specialising in neutralising malfunctioning robots in the far-flung future of… 1991. His nemesis is Gene Simmons from KISS, which gives you some idea of what we’re dealing with here, but the premise of domestic robots turning into dangerous, rebellious killers makes for some compelling scenes as Selleck and his partner investigate the first robotic homicide.

5] Predator (1987)

Think jungle and sci-fi and you think Return Of The Jedi. Then you shake the images of moody little bears out of your mind and conjure up fond memories of this classic instead, packed with timeless Arnie and Carl Weathers moments and of course, one of the most menacing and believable badass aliens in the whole of SF.

On balance, I think I actually prefer to rewatch the sequel, starring Danny Glover and Gary Busey, despite obviously knowing that it’s clearly an inferior film.

Want some candy?”

Here are some quick reads with more info about Fleet Rats (Dropzone #1), Parasite (Dropzone #2), Shadow Puppets (Dropzone #3), Derelict (Dropzone #4) and Derelict (Dropzone #5). I hope you enjoy them… and if you’ve read and enjoyed my Kassini books, I strongly suggest you give the Dropzone series a whirl, as there are many shared aspects you’ll instantly recognise.

If you enjoy these or indeed any of my books, tell your sci-fi-loving friends and please leave a positive review on Amazon.

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