John Mangan. Into a Dark Frontier. Longboat Key FL: Oceanview, 2017. Print.
Into a Dark Frontier defines the page turner. There is one problem and one conflict after another. It becomes almost surprising where the novel ends up. While most international thrillers are formulaic, this novel is unpredictable.
The first few chapters are fast but fuzzy. A bunch of things happen to our protagonist, Crawford Slade, but it is hard to fathom why, and so we are left somewhat puzzled. There were several articles on the TV show 24 which said that if anyone had experienced the injuries Jack Bauer sustained in less than twenty-four hours, they would probably be dead and certainly not still chasing terrorists.
That is the way we felt after the first few chapters. Some of Slade’s feats seemed nearly impossible. This makes Into a Dark Frontier closer to something written by Ken Follett than, say, Tom Clancy.
However, once the preliminaries are over, the plot begins to make a little more sense and we begin to understand what is happening. And Slade begins to sound more realistic.
The novel takes place in the near future when Africa and other parts of the world have been literally decimated by nuclear war and other violence. The United Nations is taking over and becoming the one-world government.
Ex-GI Slade has been hired by an Amish-type religious community called the Judeans to be in charge of security for them while they move from the United States—whose government is now demanding politically correct conformity in behavior—to somewhere in the depopulated African continent to begin anew. While their appearance and practices are reminiscent of the Amish, the Judeans are not pacifists. In fact, Slade is impressed with the arms and armor they purchase when they arrive in South Africa.
Without going into too much detail, Slade goes from South Africa to Mozambique to Malawi to Kenya having a variety of adventures. The main story really begins in Nairobi after Slade is recruited by an off-the-grid American army colonel to find out about the organization that is attacking settlers in Africa including the Judeans.
Much of Nairobi has been burned out because of the chaos in the preceding decade, but it does have a semblance of government and people come there for the relative safety and the opportunity to begin again. Slade asks the right questions and understands urban warfare and strategies. With the help of some Australian soldiers of fortune, he is able to not only find out what the American colonel wants but to do his part to bring some order to the region.
While Into a Dark Frontier is a suspenseful plot-driven piece, it peripherally brings up a number of significant issues: religious liberty, nationalism, open borders, progressivism, human trafficking, and the great fear—fear of death (see Hebrews 2:14,15).
This book is published by a small publisher that specializes in suspense and thrillers. It could be more carefully edited. I found four spelling errors; three were relatively trivial but the fourth was confusing enough that I had to read the sentence three times before I realized what was going on.
One could make a case that Mangan ought to be picked up by a big New York publisher. They would have caught the spelling mistakes, but I am not sure they would have done much with the book because of its political incorrectness. In Into a Dark Frontier, government and internationalism are the problem, not the solution. Such a concept is not popular among the Big Apple elite, but it resonates among many people in many places. This book will resonate with them.