Unable to help myself, I jumped straight into another novel set in the shared world of Terminator Salvation. Splitting the action between ‘Judgement Day’ in 2003 and the future timeline setting of the fourth movie in 2018, Cold War shows what the war against the machines entails away from the central figure of John Connor. Divided between the perspectives of Russian nuclear sub captain Dmitri Losenko and Alaskan park ranger Molly Kookesh, the story gradually intertwines the two narratives into an all-out conclusion.
For those familiar with the films, Losenko is one of the Resistance’s top generals that Conner meets on a sub during Terminator Salvation. In Cold War we see the captain forced to commit nuclear Armageddon on Alaska as Moscow orders a retaliation for what is first thought to be an American attack (but which is later understood as Skynet’s opening salvo). As Judgement Day falls, Losenko and his crew are isolated and alone in their sub. Yet soon enough they discover the true damage and horror that has befallen the world.
Meanwhile, in Alaska, 2018, Molly is leading a rag-tag bunch against the machines in an effort to both survive the war but also bring down the enemy in any way she can. Losenko and Molly are tied by the events of Judgement Day and, in the end, the Russian comes through to help the Alaskans as they attack a vital Skynet supply line.
Greg Cox does well to fill in the bigger picture of the wider world struggling against the machines. Fleshing out the events of 2003 and the horror the submarine captain feels at following his orders, as well as the guilt of being implicated in Judgement Day, Losenko is an interesting character. Molly is equally a great foil to describe the damage wrought against nature and humanity as she struggles against all odds to make a difference.
Whilst the story pumps along at a great pace and the action is balls-to-the-wall, there is little feeling to the narrative. Characters are built up and cut down without a second glance and some of the motives and actions of the side players are a little one dimensional. That is until the epilogue when we are actually shown a very touching and poignant moment. Perhaps the author meant to leave out any emotional connection to illustrate the relentless and unforgiving war in which humanity is engaged with Skynet.
All in all, Cold War is an entertaining read. It reminded me of books I read as a youngster (that with some parental guidance I probably wouldn’t have got hands on), but that’s a post for another time.
Published by Titan Books