Oct 24, 2016

[Books] Battletech: Wolf Pack

Despite the many, many, many different books  that I'm reading or planing to read, I still make time for my explorations of the classic Battletech novels, which are called Battletech Legends books these days. It's nice to see that more of these books are returning to publication, at least on the Kindle Store and other online formats as they strip out older "unseen" content that can no longer be published under current licensing efforts.

Wolf Pack is another book focused on the famous mercenary company Wolf's Dragoons. They've always been a fascinating aspect of the classic Battletech universe and of course for the longest time they were the mercenary company that everyone wanted to be like or to become a part of.

Little did we know that it wasn't just as easy as enlisting for the group given their ties to the Clans and all that jazz. Ah the history of Classic Battletech remains as fascinating as ever. And it's such a joy to continue to explore theses stories through these books.

Synopsis: Battletech: Wolf Pack is a Classic Battletech novel that is set some time after the signing of the Clan Truce of Tukayyid. The book was written by Robert N. Charrette and makes reference to his other book, Wolves on the Border.

The book is largely told from the perspective of Brian Cameron, a newer Warrior from the sibkos of the Wolf's Dragoons. He is assigned to Colonel Jaime Wolf's team as his communications officer and he is in a unique position to cover the events of this book. What starts out with efforts to retrieve old Dragoon equipment extends to the complexities of integrating former Clan Nova Cat warriors like the Elemental Elson and eventually to all-out civil war within the ranks of Wolf's Dragoons itself. The thought of a civil war seem almost unthinkable, but then the book does well to illustrate just how things came to be.

What I Liked: I'm a sucker about almost any story that features Wolf's Dragoons as like I said before, they were the merc group to be. And this story really went deep in as we follow through the events of this key moment in their history, even if it wasn't exactly a great time for them.

The mech battles were pretty good, although most of the depictions were tied Brian Cameron as our primary POV character so we saw most of the action from his cockpit. We had some moments to see how things would be with different sides, but more often than not it's about Cameron. That gives the book great focus, but it also limits things.

What Could Have Been Better: The book had a lot to juggle between resolving the long-standing feud between House Kurita and Wolf's Dragoons, Brian Cameron's personal arc, and then the civil war of Wolf's Dragoons. With all these key elements to deal with, at times it feels more like Charrette was ticking off items off of his checklist in order to get to the end.

And I wish we had more of a closer perspective of what Jaime Wolf was going through in all this. We experience a lot of what he does but we don't get into his head. And I really, really wish he had been treated as a POV character as well.

TL;DR: Battletech: Wolf Pack is still a fun book and an important part of the history of the Inner Sphere. At the very least you get to cover a lot of the those key moments in history, but we also could have benefited from splitting things up and maybe creating more than one book about this. Thus the novel gets a good 4 surprise turns in the Dragoon's civil war out of a possible 5.

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