A must-read sci-fi military suspense... Operation Grendel by Daniel Shwabauer (Review & #Giveaway) #mustread #scifibooks #spaceopera #militarythriller #militarysuspense #cleanreads @celebrate_lit @enclavebooks

Welcome to my tour stop! I was a bit apprehensive about this book, but
shouldn't have been. At all. Read my thoughts and enter the giveaway below...

Operation Grendel
By Daniel Shwabauer
Adult Sci-Fi, Space Opera, Christian
Hardcover & ebook, 256 Pages
March 9, 2021 by Enclave Publishing


It’s the war story he’s dreamed of. But the battle may cost him his mind.

Military journalist Raymin Dahl thinks he’s finally getting the story of a lifetime. Secret peace talks on a remote tropical moon are about to surrender five colonized worlds—and six hundred million civilians—to a ruthless enemy.

But when his commanding officer, Captain Ansell Sterling, is fatally wounded before the negotiations can begin, Dahl can no longer just report on the mission. He’s ordered to complete it. With help from the AI embedded in Sterling’s comms bracelet, Dahl must impersonate his commander—a Marine Corps hero and psychological operations expert.

However, Sterling’s AI may be luring him to surrender more than he realizes. And the mission Corporal Dahl thinks he’s running isn’t the only operation underway.

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My Review

OPERATION GRENDEL is a story with an intriguing plot and complex characters, set in a world where free-thinking humans are at war with an artificial intelligence race who wants to control their minds. It's part space opera, part military thriller, with an interesting protagonist and a few twists. Highly recommended to sci-fi fans!

This is the first book I've read by this author, but I'm hoping there will be a lot more of these types of stories to come from him. This story really blew me away! I don't want to give any spoilers, but things weren't completely as they seemed and I really loved how the author developed his twists. The leading hero was a really interesting character. I didn't completely connect with him in parts because he came across as being all about the story, but I also felt there was a level of heroism to push through and do his part to help his race. I also really liked that the villains or enemies were always shifting a bit, so I never knew exactly who could be trusted. Then there was this whole artificial intelligence species with wyrms that infiltrated their tech bracelets and can take over their minds. Just totally creepy. The action scenes were all done really well as was the whole mind thing with the AIs. I literally could not turn the pages fast enough. This is slated somewhat as Christian, but there were no prevalent religious aspects, especially not more than what you'd find in Star Wars or other epic series, which definitely makes this work for the general market. With the bit of a lead-off at the end of this story, I'm hoping there will be a second book coming.

The only criticism I would have would be that there were a few places where things were a bit fragmented or jumpy that could have been smoothed out more. I also would have liked more background and world building, but at the same time, I appreciated that I never felt like the author had huge info dumps.

In the end, was it what I wished for? I loved reading this! It was intense, intriguing, and satisfying. If you're a sci-fi, space-opera, and/or military thriller fan like I am then I'd definitely recommend this one!

Content: Some war violence and abuse (which might be a trigger for some), but would consider this clean.
Source: I received a complimentary copy through Celebrate Lit, which did not require a positive review. All opinions are my own.

About the Author

Daniel Schwabauer, M.A., is a lifelong reader of speculative fiction. He studied the genre under science fiction great James Gunn before graduating with honors from Kansas University’s Masters program in Creative Writing in 1995. Winner of the Eric Hoffer and Ben Franklin awards for his middle grade fantasy series, The Legends of Tira-Nor, Daniel enjoys riding his motorcycle on country roads and pondering other worlds. He lives in Kansas City with his wife and dog.

More from Daniel

The Operation Grendel Origin Story

I’ve always been fascinated by the power of storytelling, especially as a lever for moving culture. For several years I studied the development of modern propaganda, the rise and fall of yellow journalism, and the relationship of these to psychological warfare. This culminated in 2017 with a brief investigation into quantum computing and the rising popularity of trans-humanism. Sometimes the best story ideas are combinations of things that have rattled around in the back of your mind for years.

Operation Grendel is a keyhole glimpse of a future in which every person in the galaxy is bonded to an artificial intelligence. Some AIs are embedded in the brain, and some are snapped onto the wrist as a wearable device. I didn’t realize when I started writing the book that Elon Musk had already launched Neuralink to create this technology in real life. I discovered the corporation after finishing my fourth draft.

The use of this technology probably means a lack of autonomy. How can you think for yourself, or even know what you think, if your thoughts are constantly being shaped and influenced by a quantum computer wirelessly connected to your brain?

Then again, is that all we really are as humans—biological computers? I don’t think so. But if not, then there will surely be resistance to the trans-humanist movement. Which means, in a work of fiction, clearly opposing sides. One empire supports this integration of man and machine; the other places limits on AI technology.

But “warring empires” was not a story I felt capable of telling. I wanted something closer to home, something smaller and more accessible, something more human. I wanted to show what a life spent entirely under the influence of an inner nanny—a substitute Holy Spirit—might look like.

Well, who better to tell that story than a man who has, in his own way, been manipulating others through storytelling? In other words, a journalist.

This fit my desire to write the story as military science fiction. Since I never had the honor of serving in the armed forces, I needed a way to give my narrator a believable voice. Corporal Raymin Dahl, a military reporter who barely scraped his way through reservist boot camp, fit the bill.

Before long the story seemed to take on a life of its own.

Tour Schedule

Mia Reads, March 30
Rebecca Tews, April 9

Tour-Wide Giveaway

To celebrate his tour, Daniel is giving away the grand prize package of a $50 Amazon card, a signed copy of the hardcover first edition, and 2 laptop stickers!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

Are you a sci-fi fan? Do you like the idea of an AI alien race at war with humans with a twist?

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