4.5 stars. Elliott Kay’s Poor Man’s Fight series continues at a breathtaking pace in the second installment, Rich Man’s War. Tanner Malone enlisted in the Navy to alleviate his crushing educational debt and somehow survived a tense encounter with ruthless pirates, corporations with a hunger for higher and higher profits, and governments that play high-stakes chess with their citizens. If he thought his newfound sinecure as an honor guard in the capital of Archangel was going to be peaceful, he came to the wrong conclusion…
Tanner is strongly likeable, an action hero with heart and conscience who refuses to be used to further others’ political ambitions and interests. The supporting characters are likewise vibrant, and even the government and corporate entities are believable.
Kay’s writing and themes continue to resonate, and I admire that his not-too-difficult-to-imagine future with governments completely beholden to corporate interests hits on current economic and social issues but never becomes sermonizing. Kay also does the reader the favor of never resorting to cookie cutter bad guys; their motivations are no less fully fleshed out than those of the protagonists.
The action reads like a big-budget blockbuster, with huge set piece space battles, edge-of-your-seat spy machinations, and building-to-building combat all unfolding rapid fire. Multiple plot lines keep Kay’s world deliciously complex.
I highly recommend Rich Man’s War for military/political sci-fi fans, thanks to its action, intrigue, and intelligence. A serious page turner that was both thrilling and thought-provoking.