I just finished Red Metal by Mark Greaney and LtCol. H Ripley Rawlings IV (USMC). Originally published in 2019 I am a little surprised that I had not heard of this novel before. Mark Greaney was recently featured on an episode of The Joe Rogan Experience where he (almost in passing) talked about this ~”large scale warfare story”~ that he had always wanted to write. I guess, Red Metal is what it became. Now, my favorite book of all time is Red Storm Rising by Tom Clancy which is a fictional story about World War 3 being fought sometime in the 80’s to early 90’s. To me, Red Storm is the single greatest piece of modern war fiction ever written and when I heard there was a strategic conflict book out there by Mr. Greaney I had some mixed feelings.
Sure I would love to dive into another story regarding a genre that I love. But I was also aware that Mark Greaney had ghost written several Clancy novels both before and after Clancy’s death and if I am completely honest.. I didn’t care for any of them. I read the Clancy novels up until Teeth of the Tiger and I was out. But in the end I gave Greaney a chance and I AM SO GLAD I DID.
Now, let’s talk about something you are probably already thinking. These two books are similarly titled (Red Metal vs Red Storm Rising). One was written by Tom Clancy while the other was written by a guy who ghost wrote for Clancy. They both tell a story about a strategic conflict of misdirection between NATO and Russian forces (USSR in Red Storm). The similarities don’t stop there. Greaney was definitely channeling Clancy during most of this novel. At times Red Metal felt almost like an updated version of Red Storm. But here is the interesting part that even surprised me. I was ok with it. I was more than ok with it.
Red Metal is one of the best novels I have read in this genre. It isn’t going to dislodge my signed copy of Red Storm Rising on the shelf above me but I would recommend Red Metal to anyone. It checks all the boxes for me. A global strategic conflict with dire consequences. On the ground conflict and drama as well as higher level interactions. And the most important (to me); a large cast of characters who you actually care about. I really can’t stand it when a novel or TV show has one or two main characters. Its just dull and unbelievable that an entire story intersects this one person at so many points. Red Metal has a large and great cast. Most of which never meet each other. They are all involved in this massive global conflict but from completely different ends and viewpoints. This along lets you start from a way more believable position.
It even touches on a few situations that are currently in the news today (2023). This made the story hit even harder.
If it wasn’t obvious. I would highly recommend this novel. It is available in all your favorite formats including audio. Amazon link.