Embedded by Dan Abnett [Book Review]

Hemingway meets Bogart in Embedded

We are on Eighty-Six, a planet with a peace-keeping operation that might be the first real war in an interstellar cold war. Lex Falk is an acclaimed and seasoned war correspondent and he sees straight through the stonewalling from the military. Determined to find out the truth he allows himself to be embedded in the mind of one of the soldiers fighting the insurgency. But the soldier takes a bullet under the eye that scrambles his brain and the only thing keeping him alive is Falk who has to survive the ambush and get them out.

I enjoyed how the military tried to control the media and Falk’s inner commentary as well as his interaction with his fellow journalists. There are some obvious contemporary commentary embedded in this novel about the military and the media. He comes across some old friends and he rekindles his friendship with them in a way that makes me want to know more of his previous life and paints a picture of the universe in an elegant way without using info dumps. There is also this initially annoying but tenacious young rookie out on her first assignment that we see evolve as the story goes along.

Falk himself has a serious case of ennui in the beginning but as the going gets though he gets going. His character reminded me in some ways of Humphrey Bogart or someone out of a Hemingway novel. Falk is reasonable competent as a soldier and his personal flaws make him human. He has to keep up appearance with the soldiers he comes across while he brings his man home from enemy territory. Layer after layer of what is going on is revealed as they hike. The military action is up personal and you keep guessing what is really going on and when you think you know you are wrong. I had all kinds of theories up until we saw Embedded revealed.

Dan Abnett is an author that knows his craft and the story is easy to read and I had trouble putting the book down. Now I don’t know why I haven’t read anything of him before because this was really good. I have this general principle of not getting involved in TV or game tie-ins but I am seriously considering Dan’s Warhammer 40k novels.

Embedded has character, personality, action, combat, mysteries and a love interest. It fulfills my high expectations and makes me hungry for more. This is a standalone novel and the ending is conclusive but I can’t avoid wishing for more stories about Falk and the universe herein. I wonder if Dan Abnett has written any more stories in this universe.


Title: Embedded
Author: Dan Abnett
Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Angry Robot (2011)
Copy: Review copy
Order from: Amazon US | UK

The stunning military science fiction novel from the New York Times bestselling author of Prospero Burns.

The colony planet of Eighty-Six looks as dull as all its fellow new worlds to veteran journalist Lex Falk, but when a local squabble starts to turn violent, and the media start getting the runaround from the military high command, his interest is seriously piqued.

Forbidden from approaching the battlezone, he gets himself chipped inside the head of a combat veteran – and uncovers the story of a lifetime. When the soldier is killed, however, Falk must use all his resourcefulness to get back home again… and blow the lid off the whole damn thing.

FILE UNDER: Science Fiction [ Future War | Breaking News | A Dead Host | Long Way Home