The year is 7200 and the galaxy is ruled by the Fourth Empire. A ship crashes on Fools 6 and the two survivors are rescued by a mysterious man. Hawk Hunter has no memory of his past life. He found himself on this isolated planet and built a ship using parts from crashed vessels. Erx and Berx the two survivors never seen such a man or his odd ship. Yet it is the fastest thing they ever saw. When an empire ship comes to rescue them, they tell the captain who decides to draft Hunter and enter him in the Earth Race. This race held once a year is a very prestigious event. Hunter and his ship easily win it and receives a promotion in the Empire. He has an exploration ship and heads off to the five arm. There he helps the moon of Zazu-Zazu from being wiped out by mysterious attackers. At the end he finds clues to his origin from the Freedom Brigade mercenaries that were wiped out.
This has to be the wildest reboot of a series I ever saw. Maloney changed his whole Wingman series into a space opera science fiction. He mysteriously gets transported to this future with no memory. He manages to rebuild his F-16 into a super advanced spaceship with old parts from a Keon Bombardment cruiser. How he accomplished this? Don’t know. You just have to go with the fact that Hunter is the most brilliant man that ever existed.
The book is actually a fun read. He creates this vast empire with its intrigues and goofy ass technology. I think it really works for Maloney’s style of writing. He can just make up all kinds of bullshit and past it off as futuristic. Despite the setting it is still basically a Wingman book. He still has his trusty F-16. He can basically do the impossible and is the greatest pilot that ever lived. It you like the Wingman than this series won’t disappoint.
Hawk Hunter has successfully dropped the atomic bomb on Honshu Island. This bomb was so big it literally sunk the island. Fortunately that island in this universe was cleared of civilians and only the military were killed. Naturally this ends the war but the B-2000 has disappeared. So Agent Y mounts an expedition to find the fate of the plane. On a huge amphibious transport they fly to the Pacific. Along the way they hire some air mercs and steal an aircraft carrier from some pirates. The trail takes them to Vietnam where they help out some French mercs and find clues including an aircraft that the B-2000 was carrying. The trail takes them into Thailand where they find that Hunter and crew abandoned their bomber for a train. This train takes them to Afghanistan.
In this world Afghanistan was colonized by the British and retains a very distinct British culture. A civil war is being fought between the Reds and the Blues. The Blues or the blue blood aristocrats against the red blood commoners. They have the Red’s princess locked up in a tower in the capital city of Kabul Downs. Hunter has joined the Reds and battles against the Blue’s jet biplanes. Soon they have to face a massive mercenary army and it is up to Hunter to defeat everyone and rescue the princess who is none other than his love Dominique.
Now this was a very weird book in a very weird series. The first three-fourths doesn’t even have Hunter in it. It consists of Agent Y and his band having adventures in this goofy world. They find Hunter in a British Afghanistan with jet biplanes. Oh and Victor who is also in this world has amnesia but is a good guy. He somehow finds his way into the mercenary army and helps out Hunter. At the end Hunter, Victor and Dominique go back to the Falklands where in the secret research facility they have a portal to our world. It goes to the north Atlantic and the three parachute in but Hunter doesn’t go home.
I get the feeling in this book that Maloney knew it was being cancelled by Pinnacle and was just writing something to fill his contractual obligations. He had a definite plan for Hunter but was going to save it for a new series with Ace. Something that we will look at next.
America has won it’s 58 year war with Nazis Germany thanks in large part to Hawk Hunter. Yet in this alternate universe there is also a militaristic Japanese Empire. It decides now is the time to attack. So on December 7, 1998 it launches a massive sneak attack on Pearl Harbor. Using giant submarines that are combination aircraft carries and troop transports they devastate Pearl Harbor and five of the six megacarriers. A gas attack and follow up invasion captures the Panama Canal. Soon after they land in South America and with the help of some of the continent’s governments soon control everything except Brazil.
Hunter must now organize another war. He secretly sets up an airbase in the mountains of Peru. Guarded by fierce native tribes this base launches attacks on the occupying forces. Soon America has built up it’s forces and with Brazil plan to launch an invasion. This is only a distraction to the real goal. One of the atomic bombs that Hunter recovered from Germany is being worked on. Made into a superbomb that Hunter must drop on Japan using a massive B-2000 bomber. Only the Japanese have discovered this plan thanks to some traitors in the OSS. An invasion force is headed to the Falklands where a secret research base is located. Hunter has to almost singlehandedly defeat this invasion to carry out his bombing run.
The second book in this goofy alternate universe. This time he now fights the Japanese. If you didn’t think this series could get more weirder than hold on. We got giant over a mile submarine/aircraft carriers. Weird science that Maloney just pulls out of his ass but I guess that’s OK. After all he makes up the rules to this universe. There are also ghosts in this reality and the besieged forces in the Falklands kill one of their own soldiers so his ghost can go and get help. I will say that he definitely succeeded in giving this series a total makeover. Still the same lovable Hawk Hunter and he meets some counterparts from his other world. Yet it is a completely different world. You have to admire his ability to keep his writing fresh when so many other post-apocalypse series from this time didn’t last.
The last time we saw Hawk Hunter he was taking the Zon space shuttle to destroy a comet headed to Earth. Now he finds himself still alive and floating in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of America. He gets rescued by an American destroyer before a Nazi cruiser comes along. Hunter soon finds out he is in an alternate world. A world were the Nazi never lost WWII. This war has actually been going on for over 58 years. The war heated up in 1987 and now America in on the verge of winning. The Nazis though picked up a person from the ocean too. One who has revitalized them and now after a sneak attack during a peace conference are on the verge of winning. Desperate for pilots Hunter is drafted into the war effort and sent to a base in Iceland.
Hunter finds himself the only one in a fighter squadron that has to escort bombers on useless missions over the occupied British Isles. Hunter assesses the situation and of course takes charge of the whole operation as only Hunter can do. He reorganized the squadrons and soon is launching devastating attacks on Germany. His fame eventually lands him on a mission to destroy a massive dam on the Rhine to stop an imminent invasion of America. He succeeds and finds atomic bombs that the Germans developed. He gets them out of the country and uses them to end the war.
The last book left us with the feeling that it was the final in the series. Yet Maloney decided to take the series in a whole new direction. Hunter was mysteriously transported to an alternate world. A world the Nazis ended up conquering Europe. A world with giant forty engine bombers. Helicopters as big as jet airliners. Aircraft carriers over a mile long. Yet a world that never discovered atomic power. This whole story had a very surreal feel to it. I think it was a bold move to completely change the story. This was very weird but also very interesting. Yet it still retains the goofyness that made this series such a treat to begin with. Gives us a surprise ending on who was helping the Nazis. A great new direction for this series.