Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Book Review - Contra Alliance Book One – Shadows of the Past by Tom Kolega

  1. Contra Alliance Book One – Shadows of the Past

  2. Tom Kolega

  3. BCH Fulfillment & Distribution (2010)

  4. Edition: 1st Edition

  5. Hardcover

  6. 376 pages


2035 A.D. The United States has lost status as a world-dominating superpower. A global struggle for supremacy, hybrid high-tech warfare, and rogue genetic laboratories on two continents has split America’s focus from maintaining world order to combating insurrection. If that’s not enough chaos for one planet there’s also the looming threat of global warming, the mass depletion of natural resources, and a mysterious faction known as The Revolution that has only one goal – total world domination. But that’s just the tip of the action iceberg in Tom Kolega’s debut novel Shadows of the Past. In the midst of this turmoil the worst of the Earth’s problems are just beginning to come to light. A specialized group of NATO freedom-fighters known as CONTRA has just uncovered a conspiracy that apparently began out in the void of space. Could the Contra Strike Force be the catalyst that starts a galactic war?

One of the many things I found particularly fascinating about this book and its entire accompanying concept is the obvious amount of time, preparation, and meticulous attention to detail taken in creating it. The characters are wholly fleshed out in narrative form and have been beautifully illustrated by renowned comic artist Joe Benitez (Lisa Mechanika, Weapon Zero, and G.I. Joe.) in the cover art. The members of each faction (The Revolution, The Nerrial, and the Contra Strike Forces) have been painstakingly illustrated each with their own unique physical features, wardrobes, and weapons. [See media guide P.R. kit here: http://www.contraalliance.com/contraalliance/prkit/prkit.pdf ] It would also appear that a monthly comic, Contra Alliance # 0 adapted from the novels, is set for release in late 2011. The worlds and galaxies Tom Kolega has created here are in-depth and thoroughly studied. The events leading up to the so-called “Revolution” are uncannily believable, hopelessly frightening, and entirely plausible. To believe that the United States, a leading world power for over 100 years, could fall apart so quickly becomes even more frightening as recent real-world events unfold in Japan. (A sobering thought indeed.)

The only real critique I have concerning this book, and it’s a minor one at best, is that there are a lot of acronyms and government agency names sprinkled throughout the narrative which slightly bogged down the pace of the story for me. Fortunately, while Mr. Kolega seemed to understand the need to include them for clarification’s sake he more importantly knew when to transition back to the narrative which is done smoothly and effortlessly.

The Contra Alliance universe will be issued in two separate but related trilogies. The first, Contra Alliance, consists of Book I: Book of Shadows, Book II: Blue Star, and Book III: Return of the Starforce. The second trilogy is a prequel called War of the Stars and consists of Book I: Time of Legend, Book II: Union of Adena, and Book III: Rise of the Alliance. Contra Alliance # 0 is the much-anticipated comic book.

Apparently Kolega has been working on this for almost ten years and his dedication and hard-work has paid off. This is a great story with an imaginative premise and a promising future. I recommend this to every fan of X-Men, future world politics, superhero comics, Star Trek, high-tech war, Space Opera, Star Wars, genetic manipulation, or general Science Fiction. I, for one, totally enjoyed this book cover to cover and will be purchasing all the upcoming releases, including the comic.

4 out of 5 stars

  1. The Alternative

  2. Southeast Wisconsin

Additional Reading:

Contra Alliance website (Feel free to explore this site. It’s packed with lots of information and you can download a preview of the first few chapters.)

Contra Alliance Blog site

Market Watch Review

Review at Sci-Fi Fan Letter


Contra Alliance # 0 – The Comic

1 comment:

Find a Tutor said...

I love reading in shared universes that are based on video games or movies or comics. Back in the days of Deep Magic, we had a shared universe called Kenatos. It was so much fun that I even tried my hand at a story set there. Unfortunately, because I’m such a slow writer, the magazine folded before I finished my story. But it was exciting.