Title: Shrouded Loyalties
Author: Reese Hogan
A bit about the author
Reese Hogan is a nonbinary transmasc science fiction author from New Mexico. Reese has published three novels, and the latest, Shrouded Loyalties from Angry Robot, was a Best SFF of August 2019 pick by both Amazon and Barnes & Noble. –from the author’s Goodreads page
The book tagline
A soldier returns home with a dangerous secret from an alternate realm, unaware that she is surrounded by spies and collaborators, in this intense military science fiction novel. –from Goodreads
The verdict: ⭐⭐⭐4.5 stars⭐⭐⭐
I am a science fiction fan, and love to see it tossed with spy thriller action/adventures. If that’s what you’re looking for, then Shrouded Loyalties fits the bill. The title of the book is perfect, blending the shrouding technology – a central driver of the plot of this novel – with questions of loyalty to, and trust of, family, friends, and the government you serve.
Holland is my favorite character in this tale. Working undercover – in more ways than one – the character is driven by a desire to free a close relative who is a political prisoner.
So here she was. Half-drowned in an enemy submarine surrounded by monsters, missing a piece of her disguise, and holding incriminating evidence that she was responsible for the attack. But she’d gotten the intel she’d been sent for.
Holland reports to Chief Sea Officer Mila Blackwood on a Belzene submarine. Through these main characters and Blackwood’s younger brother Andrew, we see war, politics, and social structure in the author’s richly-built worlds. The characters are believable, and far from perfect – so real that there are times, if you’re like me, you’ll want to throttle them.
Technical details – of the submarine, the shrouding – and the worldbuilding and other-worldly aspects – are woven through the narrative, and often build the tension within a scene. The reader feels like they are there, part of the crew.
With the solar motor off, the temperature was already rising. As the ocean grew colder, condensation formed on everything in the compartment… all extraneous energy had been powered down for the dive… Knowing a potential enemy was overhead, tracking their every move and sound… The deck tilted again, steeper than usual… [Blackwood’s] feet slipped… A hollow click sounded throughout the bulkhead… they were getting ready to shroud.
The pacing keeps you turning pages, and the author writes some great action scenes. I really enjoyed this novel and highly recommend you check it out, too.