A Book Spy Review: ‘Into a Dark Frontier’ by John Mangan

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After a slow start, John Mangan eventually finds his footing and delivers an exciting, unique debut thriller.

Set in the not-too-distant future, a war between Christians and Muslims has left Africa nearly decimated. More than four hundred million men, women, and children have died. Those who remain are, well, the ones bold, lucky, and oftentimes ruthless enough to survive. Along with the few remaining people are plenty of diseases, violence, and famine throughout the dark African frontier.

Former Navy SEAL Slade Crawford is on the run. Accused of crimes he didn’t commit, Slade has lost everything and everyone he loved. After breaking out of a top-secret prison facility, Slade goes on the run, taking his dangerous set of skills to Africa, unsure of what, exactly, he’ll find waiting for him once he arrives.

Hoping to start a new life and find some form of peace, Crawford instead finds himself leading a group of Christians to an area known among the group (who call themselves the Judeans) as New Zion. Slade, who didn’t come looking for the job he’s quickly thrust into, is forced to provide his services against his will. Begrudgingly, he heads south towards New Zion, which is said to be the one area on the entire continent that hasn’t been completely and utterly destroyed.

Along the way, Slade and the Judeans encounter countless dangerous situations. But the further they trek, the more Slade bonds with members of the religious group, which offers him a sense of purpose, and thus, internal peace–if only momentarily– among the trials they all face. That, of course, is short-lived, as Slade eventually unravels a shocking truth about what’s really going on in Africa and who exactly is behind it.

While the first fifty pages are a jumbled mess, those who make it past the uneven and wandering opening will eventually find themselves enthralled by a post-apocalyptic-like setting and a hero who resembles other thriller genre darlings such as Mark Greaney’s Court Gentry and Robert Ludlum’s Jason Bourne.

While Mangan’s inconsistency rears its head too often, the new author flashes just as much promise and talent. By the end of the book, all the kinks are worked out and the story settles into a fast-moving adventure that’s quite unlike anything else hitting bookstores this fall.

Book Details

Author: John Mangan 
Pages: 400 (Hardcover)
ISBN: 1608092615
Publisher: Oceanview Publishing
Release Date: September 5th, 2017
Book Spy Rating: 5.5/10
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