Sixteenth Watch

This title was previously available on NetGalley and is now archived.
Buy on Amazon Buy on BN.com Buy on Bookshop.org
*This page contains affiliate links, so we may earn a small commission when you make a purchase through links on our site at no additional cost to you.
Send NetGalley books directly to your Kindle or Kindle app

1
To read on a Kindle or Kindle app, please add kindle@netgalley.com as an approved email address to receive files in your Amazon account. Click here for step-by-step instructions.
2
Also find your Kindle email address within your Amazon account, and enter it here.
Pub Date Mar 10 2020 | Archive Date Feb 11 2020

Talking about this book? Use #SixteenthWatch #NetGalley. More hashtag tips!


Description

The Coast Guard must prevent the first lunar war in history.
A lifelong Search-and-Rescuewoman, Coast Guard Captain Jane Oliver is ready for a peaceful retirement. But when tragedy strikes, Oliver loses her husband and her plans for the future, and finds herself thrust into a role she’s not prepared for. Suddenly at the helm of the Coast Guard’s elite SAR-1 lunar unit, Oliver is the only woman who can prevent the first lunar war in history, a conflict that will surely consume not only the moon, but earth as well.

The Coast Guard must prevent the first lunar war in history.
A lifelong Search-and-Rescuewoman, Coast Guard Captain Jane Oliver is ready for a peaceful retirement. But when tragedy strikes, Oliver...


Advance Praise

"Cole weaves a fantasy world that feels comfortably familiar, then goes to places you’d never expect."

– Peter V. Brett, author of The Demon Cycle series


“Myke Cole’s novels are like crack: they’re highly addictive.”

– Buzzfeed



"Cole weaves a fantasy world that feels comfortably familiar, then goes to places you’d never expect."

– Peter V. Brett, author of The Demon Cycle series


“Myke Cole’s novels are like crack: they’re...


Available Editions

EDITION Other Format
ISBN 9780857668059
PRICE $15.99 (USD)
PAGES 432

Available on NetGalley

Send to Kindle (EPUB)
Download (EPUB)

Average rating from 67 members


Featured Reviews

In the not too distant future, Earth has expanded to the Moon and old conflicts are still a threat to people everywhere. Myke Cole takes a bold step by writing a book that’s not military science fiction, but could more accurately be called rescue science fiction. Focussing on the US Coast Guard instead of the Navy, or the Marines. Emphasising that wars are created by escalation, and that the past is for lessons to be learned, not for holding us back. The narrative is tight, going unexpected places and even manages to invoke what I like to call The Rider of Rohan moments. Those scenes when you are deeply moved not by the climax, but by the actions of the characters in specific moments that lead up to the climax of the story. This was a suspenseful read and I honestly hope that we will have more stories told, that focus on saving lives instead of ending them.

Was this review helpful?

I have read one of the authors fantasy books and have to say I much preferred this style of science fiction with military elements, the story moves along well with characters you are interested in, I'm not over familiar with coast guard operations but since this is set in space that is not a prerequisite, it's enjoyable and well worth reading

Was this review helpful?

Not your run of the mill MilSF - understands the military, but does not glorify it.

I was lucky enough to get an ARC of this book, and whilst I follow Myke Cole on Twitter, I hadn’t read any of his books before - after reading this book, I will be buying the rest.

I burned through this book in three sessions - it’s gripping, believable (the characters, the scenarios, and the science), and best of all, no bad guys/good guys, just people trying to be the best they can in shitty situations. I cared about the main characters, and felt for them when things went well/bad.

This reminded me, in parts, of the same style of MilSF as Marko Kloos’ "Frontlines" series - realistic, gritty, no unbelievable heroics, just good people in a bad situation.

The book leaves you on a bit of a cliffhanger, so hopefully there will be follow-on books (or at least one).

Was this review helpful?

3,5 stars

I liked this book. It was good with pacing and characterization. There were times when most of action was told by dialogues with a lot of military words that I didn't understand and that left me a little confused. But people who like military science-fiction will probably love this! I liked that the main character was an older woman and that there was place for more people above 40 years old. It was my first novel by Myke Cole but I'm sure to check his other works.

Was this review helpful?

Sixteenth Watch by Myke Cole- The first thing I thought when I started this book was, What is the United States Coast Guard doing on the Moon? Well, it turns out plenty. The Guard's main job is search and rescue, but when fighting between Chinese Helium miners and their American counterparts start over territory, it becomes a military action and lives are at risk on both sides. Enter Commander Jane Oliver of the U.S. Coast Guard. She's there to do her part, when she witnesses her Navy husband's ship destroyed during the fracas. She is shattered and no longer serves directly but rather spends her time teaching up and coming men and women the operations of the Guard. A new post is offered her, training the elite boarding squads for an upcoming competition between the other branches of the military to see who is the best. Along with it comes a promotion in rank that she can not pass up. So she's off to the Moon again and a difficult grueling task.
The author, Myke Cole, knows the ins and outs of the U.S. Coast Guard, being a Lieutenant in the U.S. Coast Guard Reserve as well as a gifted writer. He brings a lot of authenticity to the story and fills it with the walk and the talk of the U.S. Coast Guard. This is a very enjoyable kind of uplifting story that never strays from the duty that infuses the participants.

Was this review helpful?

Good book that refers to the moon and typical earth politics. It is little confusing at time but it is entertaining read.

Was this review helpful?

This is very well constructed scifi. It's more nuanced then most a lot of military scifi, but has good action and battles. Lots of acronyms and really well crafted characters, and lots of aspects that feel real. This is my first M Cole novel and it's a good one, showcasing a lot of talent.

Thanks very much for the ARC for review!!

Was this review helpful?

WHOA. This is a terrific book. I was lucky enough to have been granted an advanced copy of this by Angry Robot and it does not disappoint. If you like a brilliant military science fiction then you MUST get this one to read.

Coast Guard in space – why hasn’t it been done before? It is a brilliant concept. And the military technical language adds to the realism of the story.

I could absolutely image it being real (set not too far in the future) and the procedures, guides and mannerisms all invoke a long history of space travel, exploration, moon mining and opposing forces wanting control of a joint asset. What I really loved about it, was the link to modern times with the forced boarding competition between the defence forces, and the added twist of social media influence into the military mindset.

The action is gripping. The added element of instant death should a spacesuit be ruptured heightens this life and death struggle. If and when travel to the moon becomes more viable, I absolutely see this as a fallout. A little like Antarctica and the Arctic, the moon is a giant resource and governments are going to want to control it. Which means military involvement. Jane Oliver is a fantastic protagonist. Her motivations are completely understandable, and her devotion to duty and family cause natural opposing emotional stakes to propel the story forward. I loved Oliver’s XO and her team. I didn’t want the story to end.

Was this review helpful?

From Urban Fantasy to Fantasy to Science Fiction, Cole has proven he can write them all, and do it well. I can't wait for the next one.

Was this review helpful?

I've been excited about Sixteenth Watch since hearing about it months ago. I've thoroughly enjoyed Myke Cole's other work, both fiction and nonfiction. This is probably my favorite. In an era of incessant genre trilogies, when my attention is being demanded over ever longer time periods, it is that much harder to make me want to follow deeper into the world being built. Sixteenth Watch absolutely left me wanting more. More of the world he's built. More of the characters. More of the sense of duty & camaraderie. More of the nonstop action. I want more.

Was this review helpful?

I received an advance copy of this book via NetGalley.

In <i>Sixteenth Watch,</i> Myke Cole has created a compelling, action-packed work of military sci-fi where United States settlers face off against Chinese interests on the moon--and the United States Navy and Coast Guard likewise face off, escalating an already hot situation into one that could go nuclear.

I trust Cole to get the military aspects right; I know the guy, and he knows his stuff. As a former Navy wife, I have some familiarity with the subject matter myself. The rivalry he writes about within the ranks here is absolutely plausible, on earth and the moon, and ratchets up the tension to a major degree. This is one of those books that is almost impossible to put down. You NEED to find out what happens next.

This isn't a thriller full of vapid action, though. At its heart are incredible, vivid characters that I came to care about. The protagonist is Jane Oliver, a Coast Guard veteran of decades who loses her sailor husband during an initial lunar flare-up between the US and China. Instead of taking a quiet retirement, she is invited back to the moon for a rather unusual challenge: to prepare an elite squad of Coasties for a reality game show that the Marines have dominated for years. This has not only impacted recruitment efforts on Earth, but also gives the Navy more power in the struggle for military dominance on the moon. Navy commanders are too keen on war, to Jane's thinking; the Coast Guard, carrying out a role on the moon similar to what they do on the ocean, is largely about deescalating tension and saving lives. It's awesome to see the Coast Guard be in the spotlight in a space setting because the role that they play (even without a literal coast to guard) makes absolute sense.

The reality show angle adds to the originality of the book, and again, I know Cole knows what he's talking about, as he is a reality show veteran himself. The stakes around the show feel realistic in this near-future setting, but hanging over everything is that threat of war with China.

This is a darn good book, and I hope it's the first in the series because I'd love to read more about these characters and this world.

Was this review helpful?

Humans have started living on the moon! So far only the Americans and Chinese have establised territories on the moon. The borders are patrolled by The US Coast Guard, The US Navy, and The PLAN (The Chinese Peoples Liberation Army Navy). Now the tensions are rising between the US and Chinese and war seems imminent. Now it is up to the Coast Guard to try and prevent the first war in space.

I loved this book, Myke Cole has created one of my favorite female protaganists in Coast Guard Capt. Jane Oliver. She is not the typical bombshell, young heroine, instead she is middle aged, hard as nails, and takes no crap from no one. She is well balanced against her Executive Office Wen Ho her constant companion, and close friend.

The story starts with her running an mission with her husband who is a commander in the Navy, the mission goes wrong and her husband dies on the mission. Then she is assigned to lead SAR-1, a small boarding team, to win the Boarding Actions event, a televised competition between the Armed Forces. As the story progresses she has to face the past and learn to use it to help her and her crew.

The hardest part of reading this story for me was the use of the military acronyms. Thankfully, the author included a glossary to reference the terms you dont know. Other than that the pacing was wonderful there is plenty of action, people working theough difficult emotions, and a gritty realness that sucks you in and and keeps you reading.

I had a total blast reading this novel and would gladly read anything else Myke wanted to put in this story line. I really cant say too much more about it with out getting into spoiler areas, which I will refrain from. All in all, if you are looking for a fast paced, military action, Sci-Fi novel this is the one you are looking for.

Was this review helpful?

Military science fiction is hands down my favourite genre to read so I was really excited at the chance to read Sixteenth Watch. I mean, it's military sci-fi on the moon! Who wouldn't want to read that?

Honestly, I'm not sure if I have the words to tell you how much I enjoyed this book. It completely blew me away from start to finish and not just because of the non-stop action. The characters and backstory were really compelling, making me want to continue following them on their unique journey in lunar space. Plus, there were so many bad-ass women in this story, something we definitely need to be seeing more of these days.

One of the aspects I found most compelling about this story was the positioning of the Coast Guard. I'll fully admit that I didn't know as much about the Guard as I should have, but Myke Cole has certainly remedied that. His background within the Guard added a lot of authenticity to the story.

Even though the Moon was supposed to be a new start for humanity, it didn't exactly pan out that way. We are humans afterall. The moon is supposed to be a neutral zone and is not supposed to be owned or controlled by any one country but where there's money to be made, you can be sure that everyone completely ignores those rules. Because of the vast resources on the moon, countries are in a non-stop tense standoff over territorial rights, especially between China and the United States. As a result, military branches are near the breaking point against each other with the Marines and Navy seeming to be itching for all out lunar war.

In comes the Coast Guard! Their main objectives are to de-escalate and protect boundaries so it stands to reason that their mission statement is perfect for protecting Americans on the moon. I felt a little silly when this was laid out because OF COURSE they would be the ones best suited for this. Whenever you read about militaries in space it's always branches that are very "hoorah!" but really it sounds like we should be sending Coasties out there more often to prevent things from blowing up out of proportion.

With that in mind, you'd think the Coasties would have more power on the moon to handle the constant tensions, but nope, the big guns keep stealing the show. With the Coast Guard facing being made completely irrelevant on the moon, and at the cost of countless lives, it is up to our main character (one of those bad-ass women I mentioned earlier) to try to set things right. You follow the story thinking it'll pan out a certain way, only to have the final chapters hand you a big "NOPE" and take it in an even more exciting direction before its phenomenal conclusion.

If this was a standalone, I'd be happy enough with the story ending there. However, the ending does leave itself open for further installments and I am 100% here for it. Here's hoping this becomes my new favourite space series! For now, though, Sixteenth Watch by Myke Cole has earned itself a spot on my All-Time Favourite Reads shelf. Thank you so much to the author for writing this and thank you Angry Robot for giving me the opportunity to read it.

Was this review helpful?

I’ll be honest: up until now, I’ve rarely, if ever, given the Coast Guard much consideration. They’re just the guys who go out and rescue stranded boats every now and then, right? Perhaps they check up on fishing licences? They… just sort of exist? Are they even in the military or are they a state militia sort of thing? Well, Myke Cole has thoroughly shamed me for having given them so little credit – and thoroughly entertained me in the process, to boot! I walked away from this book with a whole new appreciation for our sailors in the Coast Guard.

Jane Oliver is a captain in the Coast Guard, stationed on the Moon. Her task is to secure and border and ensure peaceful relations between the USA and China on the Moon even as competing economic relationships cause tensions between the two countries to rise. Her husband is in the Navy, working in a similar capacity. When they find themselves working together on the same engagement, Oliver’s life is forever altered when her husband is killed in action. Following this, Oliver is put out to roost training new coasties back on Earth and on the water rather than in space. That’s the general background, which seems straightforward enough when you first start out. However, what the synopsis of this book fails to tell you is that this is set in a future where military SPACE SPORTS (caps are necessary here) are the Next Big Thing.

Yes, you heard me. SPACE SPORTS. Sports! In space! With the military! I was absolutely delighted to make this discovery, and it livened up the whole novel for me. This is bigger than the NFL now. Essentially, the different branches of the military compete against one another (in space!) to see who can do the best, most successful, and most dramatic boarding exercise against another ship. It’s great. I loved it. I need more space sports.

Oliver, of course, is brought out of retirement to lead the coasties’ finest into the fray. She’s the best damn teacher they’ve got, and unfortunately this group truly needs some help. All of them, Oliver included, are still shaken by the same horrific engagement that took Oliver’s husband and several of Oliver’s own crew. They’re shadowed by the memories of those they’ve lost, and struggle to understand that living up to their legacy doesn’t mean they have to become them. Although they’re all excellent individuals, they need Oliver’s help to come together as a team.

“What do you want me to teach these guys to do?”

“We need you to get them in shape for this year’s Boarding Action. Commandant thinks if we win, it’ll give us the hand we need. It’s a major media event, watched by millions of Americans. If we win it, that’ll give us the leverage we need to stay on, and if we stay on, we can keep the Navy from turning quarantine-runners into a pretext for war. SPACETACLET came close last year…”

Oliver blinked. “We’re going to stop a war… by winning a game show?”

The stakes are high. The Navy and the Coast Guard have been butting heads over who controls the borders on the Moon, and one misstep will almost certainly mean kicking off another World War. The Navy is gregarious, adversarial, and brutish; the Coast Guard leadership’s greatest fear is that they will kick off hostilities. The admiral backed himself into a corner during a cabinet meeting – whoever wins the space sports tournament will be considered the most suitable to control the Moon’s borders.

“The Navy has proven, for four years running now, in the highest-pressure and most public forum available, that we are the best equipped, the best trained, the overall best at boarding actions on the 16th Watch.”

Zhukov sputtered, his military bearing slipping. “You can’t be serious. That’s a game show!”

Donahugh looked at the senators now, still speaking to Zhukov. “If it’s just a game show, admiral, why can’t you win?”

The two most consistent themes throughout the novel were teamwork and deescalation. It was a pleasure and a joy to read military scifi that wasn’t focused on the more “macho” side of militarism; the emphasis on finding ways to take a high-energy situation and deescalate it into something diplomacy could handle was a fresh, engaging departure from the typical. Oliver has to push her team to become a cohesive whole such that they’re able to take control away from the Navy and other powers that be.

In some ways, Sixteenth Watch can be reduced to an incredibly specific wish-fulfillment fantasy. For some people, this may not work. For me, it clicked. I was right there with Cole, who himself served in the Coast Guard. The engaging, humorous cast pulled this book together into a cohesive whole. Oliver and her XO constantly quipping at one another, Pervez’s constant antics and rebellion towards authority… I laughed aloud, repeatedly, and caught myself smiling even more. Military sci-fi sometimes gets caught in the logistics, hanging itself out to dry. Cole’s writing does this opposite – these characters are warm, comfortable, and human. Their constant struggle in the face of long odds kept me on my toes because I cared about them.

“Ma’am, with respect…”

“Nothing after the words ‘with respect’ is ever entirely respectful, Wen.”

“With respect,” Ho carefully enunciated each word as he stood, walking to her keyboard. “It’s possible you’re being a little paranoid here. You’re the one who insisted on this school in the first place.”

“With no damn respect, I’m around a hundred years older than you and I have been at this game for my entire life. I am not misreading the situation here.”

Ho clicked the mouse to open the email. “Well, you’re right. You passed.”

Oliver gave an exasperated sigh. “I told you I was smart.”

“No, ma’am,” Ho said, “you told me you were old.”

Although there is a lot of military jargon interspersed throughout the book, I did not find this to be a problem. Cole includes a glossary, but let’s be honest here: I, personally, am far too lazy to use it (whoops). I was easily able to suss out the meanings of each of the phrases and acronyms based on their context, and when I couldn’t, they weren’t really important anyway. The key pieces of the story are clear without having to do any extra look-ups or research, though you may find an additional layer to the book if you do so. Anyone who has served in the military will likely have no difficulty whatsoever.

If you’ve ever been on the fence about military scifi as a subgenre, Myke Cole may be the right author to help tip you over to the dark side. He’s got characters you’ll love, a fun, light writing style, and a completely fresh take on the subgenre. I can’t recommend this book enough.

Was this review helpful?

Sixteenth Watch is the opening instalment in a brand new science fiction series from critically-acclaimed writer Myke Cole, and it didn't disappoint in providing an impeccably plotted story full of thrilling action and high-stakes danger. Jane Oliver is our protagonist and like some of the most engaging characters before her she is certainly a reluctant heroine who is thrust into her role by the circumstances in which she finds herself and gallantly (or foolishly) continues to forge onwards trying to prevent a spectacular war that would engulf much of the universe. Her reason for allowing herself to strive for this noble objective, I hear you ask? She feels she has nothing left to lose and may as well attempt to achieve something noteworthy rather than sit back and let the earth and perhaps a much more substantial area shatter into smithereens. This is essentially military sci-fi that takes place on the moon.

Granted, it is quite different from Cole’s usual but it's a refreshingly original idea of military sci-fi and is even more unique and awesome for the substantial role to go to an intelligent female rather than the norm; a male at the helm. Jane is fiercely independent with a strong moral compass and represents us women-folk beautifully as she attempts to save the world. There is a palpable sense of tension running throughout and it simply never lets up from the moment it begins; Cole instils a sense of urgency through his prose and he never lets you forget that the stakes are huge for both Jane and humanity. A highly entertaining, fun and exciting tale packed with heart-pounding incidents, plentiful action and enough twists and turns, peaks and troughs to keep even the most demanding sci-fi reader satisfied. Roll on the sophomore instalment. Many thanks to Angry Robot for an ARC.

Was this review helpful?

This was my first Myke Cole and I really enjoyed it. from the disclaimer at the front about not explaining military jargon on page but instead providing a lengthy glossary. I was worried I had got myself into a very hard military sci-fi. This was a false impression, instead I was treated to a character focused book dealing with the loss of loved ones, family, found family and just life in general in an interesting setting.

Our MC is an older female 50+ with grown children, a satisfying and successful career. This was refreshing for a start as an avid SFF reader we get very little in the way of successful older female protagonists. She was very well written, her internal worries split between the family she had raised and the work she had done. She didn’t read like the lone woman stereotype either she was surrounded by other powerful female characters.

The plot was also surprising.The blurb doesn’t quite do it justice. We start off with a major twist which completely changes the objective of our MC and how she is tasked with staving off the first Lunar war is not quite how you think. We also get a bit of a found family aspect though the focus is firmly on Jane and how she is coping, staying professional and caring for here own family as well as friends also. It doesn’t seem action heavy but when we do get action it is exciting an varied, with further twists and turns.

The concept of the coastguard in space was a new one to me and an interesting one. I am not overly familiar with the US coast guard as an entity apart from my love of "boarder control" reality TV shows – seriously the number of weird things people try to bring into other countries with them is just fascinating, why would you bring 15 ears of fresh corn to Ohio!- but to see its role play out, with tensions between it and the Navy/Marines and that to take place in space just added a really fun dynamic.

What I also strangely liked but I think most would find frustrating is how open ended the book was left. Its not listed as being part of a series but as readers we were left to make up our own mind as to how things resolved for Oliver and the sixteenth watch. This just gave me the feeling of we got a three month glimpse into Oliver’s life and the rest will go on without us.

Overall I really enjoyed this book. I have very little negative to say other than in Jargon loaded conversations the eBook format I was reading made it difficult and I would just kind of skip over them. i think this would also be difficult if you were to read this via audio format as I imagine that it would not have access to the glossary of terms.

To make this perfect I would have liked to get to know Oliver’s team a bit more. We only got a small fraction of their personalities and histories but it would have been nice to get to know them as she got to. I felt by the end of the book we still didn’t really get a sense of this found family.

Was this review helpful?

This book was just what I needed to take my mind off of current events (although it certainly a plausible near-future event). Our protagonist, Jane Oliver, is a Coast Guard Captain who is tasked with building a team that can win a boarding party reality show. But her actual mission, at least in her mind, is to deescalate the current tensions between the United States and China over Moon resources. The Navy is doing most of the Moon policing, and they are more eager for conflict.

What I liked the most was Oliver's leadership style. She led by example, and really cared about her people. I also loved the back and forth between Oliver and her XO - it made me laugh at times, and I was always hoping they would interact.

This is the start of the series and I'm already looking forward to the next book.

Was this review helpful?

Myke Cole es un autor inquieto, que va cambiando de género aunque su «especialidad» sea la ciencia ficción militar. Y Sixteenth Watch se puede enmarcar perfectamente en ese casillero, pero he quedado gratamente sorprendida con la protagonista, que rompe el molde que podríamos haber esperado para una novela de estas características. Y es extraño porque estamos hablando de una militar de carrera, de mediana edad, madre de dos hijos y viuda de un marine que precisamente pereció en una misión lunar. El contraste de este trasfondo familiar y el entorno militar es acusado pero totalmente creíble.

El autor formó parte en su momento de la Guardia Costera, un cuerpo del ejército de los EE.UU. que pasa bastante desapercibido entre otros más conocidos. Y esa experiencia vital así como la profunda huella que dejó en él se deja ver en cada una de las páginas del libro. Las escenas de acción, que son muchas y variadas, están descritas con un punto de verosimilitud que añade credibilidad al relato.
La tensión fronteriza en la Luna entre los EE.UU. y China está en niveles muy altos y parece que algunos intereses particulares pretenden forzar la que sería la Primera Guerra Lunar. En este sentido cobra especial importancia la labor de la patrulla fronteriza, pero sobre todo las relaciones públicas, la imagen externa. Es por esta causa que a Jane Oliver le ofrecen un puesto de instructora en la Luna para un equipo de especialistas de la Guardia Costera que participará en un concurso que crea muchísima expectación entre la audiencia. Puede parecer una excusa un tanto débil, pero es un buen comienzo para una novela que tomará otros derroteros.
Estamos ante un libro con mucha acción, pero con algo más de profundidad que una retahíla constante de enfrentamientos con la testoterona por los cielos. Un relato sobre cómo hacer trabajo en equipo, pero también sobre la cadena de mando, las decisiones políticas dictadas por intereses particulares o las relaciones familiares bajo presión así como las formas de afrontar el duelo. Me ha parecido muy completo y recomendable.

Was this review helpful?

After a riot between Helium 3 miners evolves into a brief, tragic armed conflict between American and Chinese naval forces career Search-and-Rescue woman Captain Jane Oliver is returned to Earth and a teaching position away from the sixteenth watch and the death of her husband. But tensions remain high and the best hope of preventing the first lunar war rests with the Coast Guard. Oliver has a new mission, return to the moon, get the Coast Guard SAR-1 team ready to win this year’s Boarding Action, and prove that they are the right force to keep the peace.

Myke Cole’s Sixteenth Watch feels like a bit of an odd duck when it comes to military science fiction. It feels more character focused and less hard sci-fi than other military sci-fi I have read in the past. How things are done is important, but pulling the team together is more so. Each member of the SAR-1 team is the best at what they do in the Coast Guard, but they have issues jelling with each other.

This is also the most anti-war military sci-fi that I have ever read. The entire reason Oliver is there is because the Coast Guard are a better fit for policing the folks avoiding quarantine without starting an armed conflict than the Navy is. The goal is to avoid a war, to keep things cold as it were, to keep people not only on the moon but also back on Earth safe.

But the only way to convince people to take them seriously is to win what is essentially a massive sporting event, so she has to get the Coast Guard team ready to secure a victory against the Marine team that has won several years running. It kind of winds up being funny, how the ability to keep war from breaking out on the moon is dependent on them winning what’s essentially a sporting event, but it is treated dead seriously and a lot of the challenges Oliver faces wind up being in service to getting her team the kind of practice they need to come together as a team. In a lot of ways that takes the place of a proper antagonist, no single person is standing between the SAR-1 team and active work and the Marine team is brilliantly good at what they do rather than antagonistic. That lack of a direct antagonist feels to the book’s credit. It would be weird if there was just one person actively pushing for the Coast Guard team to fail, rather than any number of people following orders that happened to get in their way or following their own need to see someone else succeed or getting wrapped up in the idea that a war is going to happen so they need to be backing the Navy over the Coast Guard. It is a complicated situation that Cole chose not to simplify.

This actually stands in something of a contrast to the pacing and the characters other than Oliver and her XO. At several points in the plot I found myself naming off the part of the hero’s journey that was coming up. This is very much not a complaint, the hero’s journey is the basis for a lot of stories, but it did make the flow of things a little predictable. I would have liked to have seen more character for the SAR-1 team, a lot of Sixteenth Watch is focused on Oliver working towards getting the team ready and working through the trauma of the events of the beginning of the book, which does not leave much space for the Boarding Action team. I would have liked to have seen more of them growing together as a unit and more individual growth for each of them. But, again, that is mostly a personal quibble the team are not the focus of the book. Oliver is the protagonist, so of course she gets the most focus on her arc.

Ultimately Sixteenth Watch leaves me wanting more, if not a further series with these characters, then more writing in a similar vein from Cole. He is definitely an author I am going to try and keep a better eye on now. This one gets a five out of five from me.

Was this review helpful?

Readers who liked this book also liked: