Sometime last year, John Ringo’s The Last Centurion came on my radar. I added it to my wish list and months went by. Finally, I pulled the trigger at what seemed to be an opportune time.
The novel starts in the year 2019 and narrated by a U.S. Army office known as Bandit Six. He is a Minnesota farm boy working his way up the officer ranks. Bandit Six is currently a captain, reassigned to S-4 (quartermaster) in his battalion which is sent to Iran. The U.S has fought a war in Iran and occupies it along with fighting mujahedeen, roadside bombs, you know the story. While in a staff meeting, they are briefed on a new virus, H5N1 that has emerged in China.
“In a town called Jungbao, a lot of people suddenly got sick, Really, incredibly sick. Dying sick. The local medical boss, who was a WHO reporter, contacted Beijing with his estimate that H5N1 had become human to human transmissible, and had, possibly become more lethal. He wanted to report it to the WHO. He was told to hold the fuck on . . . They did not want to admit that bird flu was breaking out and things were going to change.”
Of course, H5N1 gets out and spreads around the world. The president is female, President Warrick. She likes to have a conversation with the country. She is also an incompetant. You know who Ringo based Warrick on. President Warrick monkey fornicates distribution of the vaccine, so it does not get out to everyone. 30% of the country dies from the bird flu.
While this is going on, a mini-ice age gets started. Not only do you have dead farmers; food can’t grow in the northern portion of the country the way it used to. The government seizes property and moves a whole lot of “tofu eaters” to grow food. That goes over real well.
The U.S. military is recalled from around the world to deal with problems at home. A company is left behind at a huge depot near Abadan in Iran. Bravo Six ends up a de facto commander as he is left behind to mind the depot. The small contingent take in a group of Nepalis left behind by the British Army. They hold out for so long as pressure mounts to get back home.
Bandit Six and his convoy fight their way through Iran, Iraq, and Turkey to Greece. The Kurds give some help along the way. Lots of weapons porn in the fighting with Styker vehicles, M-1 Abrams tanks, Bradley fighting vehicles, anti-tank rockets etc. The novel is a retelling of Xenophon’s Anabasis as you can probably tell. Can’t improve on a good story.
Bandit Six will take time out to talk about certain topics: flu vaccine distribution, organic farming, global warming theory, the mainstream media, the Middle East, and tofu eaters. Bravo Six invents a food bar that will keep you alive but tastes horrible. The idea is you eat it only if you have no other food and starving.
The book is a real page turner and very funny at times as good humor has an element of truth to it. A very satisfying novel. I had snow on the ground two weekends ago while we are in partial lockdown due to a Chinese virus. Talk about a book hitting close to home. This would make a great mini-series, but it is too politically incorrect as it would bruise way too many sensitive egos. Buy this book for that annoying self-righteous relative or co-worker. Watch their head explode if they read the book.
I will be reading more John Ringo in the future.