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G.I. Joe: Above & Beyond by Max Allan Collins
Review by Linda Marie Schumacher
Del Rey Mass Market Paperback  ISBN/ITEM#: 9780345516084
Date: 19 May 2009 List Price $7.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /

Non-Stop action. G.I. JOE: Above and Beyond, by Max Allan Collins, is the story of two elite military forces as they try to help restore the democratic government of to a small South American country. Itís the prequel to the movie G.I. JOE: The Rise of the Cobra. Itís a great story for military action lovers.

G.I. JOE: Above and Beyond, by Max Allan Collins, is a special forces military novel. The men and women of the forces are smart, athletically gifted and armed with advanced weapons and technology.

The plot of this novel surrounds the small South American country of San Sebastiao. It is a US-friendly, oil-rich democracy. The country has been involved in a civil war with rebels trying to overthrow the country. In addition to the rebels, San Sebastiao has a power-hungry General who is trying to overthrow both the democratic government and the rebels.

Also involved are new highly technological weapons--pulse weapons. A crooked arms dealer is trying to sell the weapons to both sides, but will sell them for the highest price.

The US Military send in Able Team, a highly skilled military unit, to help restore democracy to the country. They pose as mercenaries, and are hired by the General to assassinate the president and make the General the leader. The JOEs are part of an ultra secret international force known as G.I.JOE. They enter San Sebastiao silently. Their mission is to find the advanced weapons and ensure that they are destroyed so that no group can use them. They also provide backup to Able Team, but the team is great and needs very little help. Able Team is able to help the President work out a solution that favors all the citizens of the country.

The characters are great. Duke, the officer in charge of Able Team, and his lead man Rip, are great as a team. Rip is always the wise-cracker and is often very witty and funny. Rip and Duke respect each other and work as a finely-tuned team to accomplish their missions.

The novel is completely military action. If you are a fan, you will love it. The novel is also a prequel to the movie G.I. JOE: The Rise of the Cobra. I also watched the movie and I liked too. The novel provides background information on the characters that I would not have picked up from the movie. I read the novel first, but the whole point of the story is that action, and I would have enjoyed them both even if I had seen the movie first.

The author makes a big point that all the killing is for the greater good. The men and women are warriors and trained killers. They are not, however, killing for sport. They do feel remorse, and they understand that by killing one person, they are saving others. That separates Able Team and the JOEs from the General and the arms dealers, who are just out for money and glory. I do not see the same remorse in the characters in the movie, but one of the advantages of a novel is that the author can share what the characters are thinking, whereas a movie cannot.

I recommend both the book and the movie. If you like action, youíll like them both.

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