A tie-in novel.
Publication year: 2009
Page count: 372
The story is divided into two parts. In 2003 Captain Losenko commands the Russian nuclear submarine Gorshkov. In 2018 Molly Kookesh is the leader of Alaskan Resistance cell. The chapter alternate between 2003 and 2018.
The Russian submarine is on a routine mission when they get a message from Moscow that US has made a nuclear strike. They also get an order to launch the nuclear missiles they carry. Losenko angsts about it for a short time but does as he’s ordered to do. Then they wait and listen.
Some months later they finally hear from the outside world. General Ashdown claims that a computer called Skynet is responsible for the original attack. Losenko’s second in command Ivanov doesn’t believe it and Losenko decides to go to Murmansk to find out. However, there they encounter a devastated city. When they finally see movement, it’s a factory run by Skynet and humans who have decided that they must work for the machines in order to survive. The Russians are attacked by early Terminators.
In 2018 Alaska, Molly tries to sabotage Skynet as much as she can. Skynet has oil pipes and runs uranium trains, and the small Resistance cell tries to destroy them. Unfortunately, Resistance Command considers them a small operation and doesn’t give them any help. Therefore, the former Forest Ranger has to do her best to keep her people alive. Her cell includes a former bush pilot, and her lover, Geir Svenson, and old Doc Rathbone who is their computer expert, and the resident drunk. Sitka is a teenager who was found as a child alone among the ruins of her namesake city. Young lovers Tammi and Roger are determined to get married despite the constant threat of death.
The cell moves around with several dog sleds and the dogs do double duty as guards, too. It’s in the middle of a bitter winter so survival is tough.
General Ashdown is the only one of the prominent movie characters who are in the book. The book ends just before the movie starts.
As you might expect, the story is full of gritty fighting for survival against cold and Terminators. Most of the fights are on the small scale; a small group of humans against a lone or a few Terminators. We also get a new variety of the machines: a train and Snowmiantors who move on skis. The fighting is bloody and often final; lots of characters die. And yet, there’s hope and love, too.
There’s also solid characterization: Molly is determined and fiercely independent. While she looks after her people, she’s also ready to sacrifice them in order to strike a blow against Skynet. The teenager Sitka is stubborn but able to follow orders, finally. She’s determined to earn her red armband. Geir is a gentle soul who stubbornly proposed to Molly time after time. Losenko is tormented by his decision to follow orders and launch missiles against Alaska. His XO Ivanov refuses to believe that a computer can be guilty of destroying the world and hates Americans with a passion.
Oh, and when Losenko first sees the Terminators he thinks: “This is like something out of science fiction movie!”
All in all, this is a fine Terminator novel and should please the fans of the franchise.