THE GUARDIANS DEATH CHARGE BY RICHARD AUSTIN

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Copyright 1991.

Tom Rogers is in Hawaii for a government experiment. They are testing the effects of magnetic fields on the human body. While he is strapped in a chair being subjected to these fields a group of Hawaiian separatists attack the compound. It causes an explosion that makes the entire compound invisible and Rogers is also invisible. The separatists were hired by an agent of Iskander Bey who survived the laser assassination from a previous book. Iskander was worried that this experiment could lead to an alternate energy source and make his hold on Mideast oil worthless.

So Rogers as an invisible man makes it to the ship of the agent Moheb Nazrullah an Afghan trained by the KGB but now in the service of the Pan-Turanians. There is some hijinks between the two that sees Rogers captured and then feed to the sharks. But Rogers manages to escape and continue after Nazrullah. Meanwhile in Washington Maggie Connolly the chief of staff misinterprets the President and thinks she is supposed to have Rogers assassinated. She sends Rogers former lover to do the job. She lands in Hawaii and gets kidnapped by the separatist and gang raped. She eventually manages to escape and kill her captors. The other Guardians meanwhile are also searching for their friend. It all comes together on the big island of Hawaii.

So this is the final Guardians book and it goes out with a whimper instead of a bang. The whole book just doesn’t feel like a Guardians book. It really suffered when Victor Milan left the series. Tom Rogers is usually the strong quiet type but here he seems so out of character. He is a regular chatty Cathy. He also is constantly moping about the loss of his girlfriend. Now that has some potential to have him in a relationship but it was just handled so sloppy.

Then there is the whole invisible man thing. Just hokey beyond belief. The whole first part of the book with him and Nazrullah capturing each other is more of an Abbot and Costello movie then a Guardians book. Indeed the Hawaiian islands seem untouched by the nuclear war with tourists still coming in. The whole way Connolly gets the wrong idea to assassinate Rogers and sends his former flame just makes no logical sense. The other Guardians have a very limited role in the whole book.

Now in 1991 the Soviet Union collapses and so did most of these books with it. But if this was the way the series was going it would have most likely died, even if the Soviets were going strong, with such horrible writing. This was a sad ending to what I think was one of the greatest of the post-nuclear war series from the eighties. I think it deserved a better ending.

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