Read The Last Good Man by Linda Nagata Online

the-last-good-man

Scarred by war. In pursuit of truth.Army veteran True Brighton left the service when the development of robotic helicopters made her training as a pilot obsolete. Now she works at Requisite Operations, a private military company established by friend and former Special Ops soldier Lincoln Han. ReqOp has embraced the new technologies. Robotics, big data, and artificial inteScarred by war. In pursuit of truth.Army veteran True Brighton left the service when the development of robotic helicopters made her training as a pilot obsolete. Now she works at Requisite Operations, a private military company established by friend and former Special Ops soldier Lincoln Han. ReqOp has embraced the new technologies. Robotics, big data, and artificial intelligence are all tools used to augment the skills of veteran warfighters-for-hire. But the tragedy of war is still measured in human casualties, and when True makes a chance discovery during a rescue mission, old wounds are ripped open. She’s left questioning what she knows of the past, and resolves to pursue the truth, whatever the cost.The Last Good Man is a powerful, complex, and very human tale....

Title : The Last Good Man
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781937197223
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 286 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Last Good Man Reviews

  • Carol.
    2019-01-03 13:47

    Short version: a nail-biting action thriller. Read it if you want thriller, but not to experience anything new in female characterization or military sci-fi."If Daniel could offer her comfort, if there was something he could say that would ease the horror of what was done and smooth the scars that mark her life, True would refuse to hear it. For eight years she's rejected all such words. She does not need comfort. She needs her scars. But she keeps these thoughts to herself."SidebarA lesson in feminism: First wave: women recognizing equal rights, working to legalize equality and recognizing issues around homosexuality. Second wave: the consciousness-raising wave, particularly applied to sexuality and reproductive rights. Third wave: feminism that is more inclusive, that recognizes issues of people of color, ability issues and issues of gender identity.******Unfortunately for me, The Last Good Man is planted firmly in the second wave with it's 'big idea' being a middle-aged woman in a genre male role. I read thriller/military dramas here and there, but haven't been in the genre mood for a bit. I picked this one up on the strength of Nagata's discussion of the book on Scalzi's The Big Idea (here) and the 4.33 rating among friends. I'm not immune to the power of a good action-military movie, so I was intrigued by the idea of bringing an older woman into the setting.Alas, though extremely readable, for me it did not push any conceptual boundaries. There's really only one woman in the action part of the team, True Brighton (naming done with tongue-in-cheek? Not sure) and once the leading mission is completed, the main plot centers on her identity as a mother. I find myself curious what the story would have been like with a male lead obsessed with his dead son. In the course of the story, True's identity as a mother is involved in making connections and justification for her actions. The two other important women are technical geniuses, the old 'women-in-the-lab,' ala NCIS and Criminal Minds. Gender identity, when discussed, is made clear that it falls along normative lines only (Nagata mentions one woman on the team as sleeping with a male team member in the past. No other male team members' sexual relationships are mentioned). Only two relationships are discussed, True's and the leader, Lincoln (!). We get a brief mention of Lincoln realizing he's the one-woman type and trying to restore his relationship with his estranged wife. True's is slightly less traditional, with her husband, Alex, is ex-military and currently a paramedic, following her around the country for her job, and him waiting at home for her return. That's about as boundary-pushing as it gets.There's also some talk about whether the human element is going to be phased out of conflict and replaced with smart drones with rapidly programmable algorithms and the like. Again, not a revolutionary concept; every technical advance has had similar questions as we increase the physical distance between the people fighting.Despite a nominal lead who is forty-nine and female, it failed to demonstrate any conceptual innovation for me. Nagata reports New York publishers didn't know what to make of it. Her interpretation was that part of that was due to the atypical heroine. Perhaps. Maybe the other part of it is that it isn't enough of any particular thing to strongly target genre. Likely too military traditional to appeal to sci-fi fans, such as those of Kameron Hurley's Bel Dame series, and perhaps the mildly futuristic sci-fi angle too challenging for those that like their military thrillers grounded in the current time. I could understand the marketing challenge.Still, it's gripping with above average writing for the genre. Read it for the military-type thriller and not for the gender challenges.Three-and-a-half-military-stars

  • Gary
    2019-01-04 21:54

    In depth review at https://1000yearplan.com/2017/06/09/r...Linda Nagata’s brand of military science fiction does not take technology for granted. She does not write “boys with toys” adventure stories or jingoistic thrillers where the good guys and their gadgets save the day from the fearsome foreign menace. In her acclaimed Red trilogy, as well as her latest novel The Last Good Man, the intricate web of political and industrial forces behind the development of advanced weapons systems does more than just impact how battles are fought and won: they reshape the cultural landscape as well as the human mind, both within the military and in society at large.The Last Good Man is the story of True Brighton, a former army chopper pilot working for a private military contractor called Requisite Operations. The company’s founder, Lincoln Han, started ReqOp because he was fed up with the gray area morality of the missions he and his Army special forces unit were sent on; he wanted to engage in “right action,” to use his military training and expertise to help people and make the world a better place. But a strange hiccup during an otherwise successful mission dredges up a terrible episode from True’s and Lincoln’s shared history that puts the two friends and colleagues at odds and the future of their company in jeopardy.Looming over the story is near constant presence of surveillance technology – and the casual acceptance of it – in everyday life. This coincides with the gathering storm of fully automated weapons systems capable of completely removing the human element (but not the human cost) from military operations. Nagata spins a crackerjack tale in The Last Good Man – from its eye-opening first act twist through the tense and explosive finale, she skillfully balances her tightly paced plot with the psychological implications of the all too near future she envisions.Thanks to Netgalley, SFWA and the author for the opportunity to read this ARC.

  • Michael
    2019-01-04 17:41

    This was a very satisfying military, techno-thriller that points the way toward war soon being waged by a combination of cybernetically enhanced soldiers autonomous robotic forces. It’s hard to classify the story as science fiction due to how close we are to the tech used: missile-bearing jet-propelled drones, rifle-wielding helicopter drones, and VR headsets, and devices controlled through haptic gloves. The spy bots that mimic birds, insects, and other critters seem a little more developmental. Beyond the tech focus, the tale has great pacing, complex plotting with various mysteries, and engaging depth in the characters. The lead characters, Lincoln and True, are a middle-aged couple that work together as the CEO and operations director of a private military company, Requistion Operations (ReqOps). Their contract work in other countries is sanctioned by or hired by the US government for intelligence activities, security jobs, and occasional military missions not politically appropriate for official above-board support. If you have trouble warming to the niche of Haliburton, we are told that Lincoln has a conscience from the lessons learned in past botched work for the CIA:No setting things right after the fact. What you do, you own. What you witness, you get to live with.As a counterbalance, he tries to run ReqOps on a philosophy of “right action”—a principle of ethical service that encompasses power and responsibility and an obligation to act at need, and to do so in the best manner possible.True is a brilliant engineer of drones and military robots who is less sanguine about justifying uses of lethal force: There are millions of people I could hate. Everyone who wants to give themselves rights they deny to others, who wants to fuck with self-determination, individual freedom—and a woman’s freedom matters too. …Tolerance cannot exist with intolerant systems. Not back home and not here. One of them has to die.The operations of their team when tasked with a “Mission Impossible” of extracting western hostages in Syria is like poetry in motion. Computer and phone espionage point them to the likely hideout of the terrorists and hostages and infiltration by microdrones gives them intel on the people and defenses they are facing. But their exciting and successful operation gets threatened by some very advanced missile-bearing drones. One they bring down turns out to bear their old paramilitary insignia, Rogue Lightning. Also disturbing, they learn that one of the kidnappers is an American with the same tattoo as Lincoln and True’s dead son, Diego, who was executed on camera by terrorist insurgents eight years as the captured combatant on a botched mission of the company in Myanmar. True becomes obsessed with finding this mysterious mercenary to find out what he knows of her son’s death. But he seems to be working for a rival private military outfit that is countering ReqOps missions. In fact, ReqOps headquarters in California is hit by a robotic drone attack, and destruction of some of their major equipment assets leaves them on the verge of bankruptcy. They have to bide their time, subsisting on training of military and law enforcement groups as their bread-and-butter. Eventually, True learns enough to pursue her enemies and a possible ally in the tattooed agent in Morocco, which she pursues as a solo mission with only limited robotic support. Great showdown and exciting ending. Lots of food for thought about cybernetic armies in the near future. This was eerily realistic, so it doesn’t instill the mind-expanding effects of Gibson’s more futuristic vision of tech-enhanced military operations in his brilliant “The Peripherals”. Nagata is a mature writer of a lot of science fiction, of which I very much enjoyed the one I read, “Vast”, which is a far-future tale of humans fighting interstellar disaster from swarms of self-generating nanotech swarms run amok. This book was provided by the publisher for review through the Netgalley program.

  • Lindsay
    2018-12-29 15:35

    Another excellent near-future techno-thriller from this author, following on from the success of the Red trilogy.True Brighton works as the Director of Operations for the military contractor Requisite Operations. On her latest mission, a hostage rescue in an ungoverned area of the Middle East, she discovers unexpected information about the events surrounding the horrific execution of her son eight years ago in a special forces action. What follows is a complex series of events involving corporate actors, governmental interests, terrorist groups and traumatized individuals with long overlapping histories all at a point where the role of people as actors in front-line warfare is coming to a close.This book uses an action thriller structure with extrapolation of current trends towards tech-enhanced warfare and AI/robot/drone military resources. There's also a look at what warfare itself will look like (looks like now?) with corporations on all sides of war both in terms of direct military contractors and military research companies. In a lot of ways this vision of the future points to a whole new style of arms race, where surveillance is ubiquitous and inescapable and where a single military robot may be more effective than a whole squad of humans.Even though the technology is on parade here, the human element isn't neglected, particularly with how the horrific events of eight years earlier draws in all these different people and groups. There's a metaphor that True's husband uses in the book, "What happened to him... it’s got a gravity of its own. Like a black hole in our lives that we’ll always be circling around." That becomes incredibly appropriate as the plot progresses.Thoroughly readable compelling military thriller which won't be science fiction for very long.

  • Sarah
    2019-01-10 18:58

    Any time I start making blanket statements about how I don't like military science fiction, I remind myself that the wonderful Linda Nagata exists in the world, writing military science fiction that hits all of my sweet spots. The Last Good Man is smart, engaging near future SF with a diverse and interesting set of characters and absolutely fascinating, terrifying technology.

  • Xavi
    2019-01-11 14:39

    6/10Una novela bélica con escenas de acción interesantes y un misterio del pasado que se resuelve poco satisfactoriamente.https://dreamsofelvex.blogspot.com/20...

  • Denise
    2019-01-03 20:45

    Rounding up. Not quite 4 stars because if a few minor issues about the writing that bugged me enough that I still remember them. But overall an exciting adventure that asks an important question about what qualifies as 'right action' in combat. The book also demonstrates successfully how the military and others in similar professions may be impacted by the growing influence of robotics used in warfare. And woe to those of us in the range of the weapons.

  • Tani
    2019-01-02 21:02

    Autonomous warfare will not be bloodless. War by machine proxy is still war, with the sacrifice pushed out of sight, the burden unloaded on distant people. The repercussions, inevitable. 8 years ago, True Brighton's son, Diego, was captured while on a mission, crucified, and then burned to death in a public execution that was broadcast to the world. Since that day, she's tried to go on with her life, consoling herself with the thought that everyone involved in Diego's death is dead. It doesn't help much, but it's something. Until one day, she finds out that there's more to her son's death than she had previously thought, and someone who knows the whole story is out there... Linda Nagata is an author I've been curious about for a little while now, so I was super-excited when I was given the chance to read an ARC of her latest novel. And this book has quite a few good things going on in it. It's fast-paced and action-packed, but it also examines the societal and political consequences of its premise in a way that felt extremely accurate to real life. In short, I thought it was really great, and I hope I can write a review that will do it justice. First, let me talk about the pacing and plotting of this one. This is a very fast-paced book, It goes from mission to discovery to revelation at an impressive pace, and I found myself reading large chunks of the book at a stretch, just because I couldn't find a good place to put it down. This is a book that allows neither boredom nor ennui. The question of what actually happened to Diego is one that we learn the answer to in bits and pieces, and I found myself completely drawn into that mystery. In addition, the way that the story is structured works incredibly well. The story almost immediately drops you into the action. True and her friends work for a private military contractor called Requisite Operations, and at the beginning of the novel, they've taken a hostage retrieval job. This is used not only to orient the reader to the characters, but also to the setting. In many ways, this world is extremely familiar to our own, but in this version of the future, people are slowly being phased out of the process of war, as robots become increasingly able to outclass them in terms of speed and accuracy in completely missions. This also introduces one of the big questions of the novel: although it may seem beneficial to decrease the loss of life that war causes by using robots, what is the actual result? By removing humans from the process, do we just create more loss? The question is presented in multiple ways throughout the book, and I have to say, my feelings are a lot more complicated about it now than when I began. I think that this book is going to serve as a touchstone for me on that issue for many years to come. Prior to reading this, I honestly hadn't thought a lot about it, but if I had, I probably would have been absolutely in favor of robotic warfare. This book made me much more aware of the complications to that future, and I'm grateful to it for that.In addition to these ethical shades of grey, I was also impressed by the shades of grey that we see in characters. Nagata is able to show that emotions are complicated and not often logical, and although I can't say I always agreed with the choices that characters made, I always came to understand where they were coming from. True is clearly the star of the show, but I was also truly moved by many of the characters. I don't want to spoil anything, so I won't name any names, but several of the characters who might have been 'villains' in another novel are treated with such empathy here that I couldn't help but be impressed. In all, this was a book that I really and truly enjoyed. If this is the kind of quality that I can expect from Linda Nagata, then I would love to pick up some more of her books and give them a try as well!

  • Jerico
    2018-12-20 13:53

    Disclaimers: I`ve been a huge fan of Nagata`s writing since I stumbled over a paperback copy of The Bohr Maker in a used bookstore in Seattle. I`ve been somewhat confused by her lack of prominence in recent years, and I`m excited that she`s getting a little more of the recognition I`ve always thought she deserved. I received a copy of this book as an ARC in exchange for a fair and honest review of this book. The Last Good Man is not my usual cup of tea. Near future military adventure stories haven`t really been my thing for years, but make no mistake, this is entirely a science fiction novel. It`s one of the most difficult types of SF to write as well: day-after-tomorrow settings are notorious for going stale even before they see print, but Nagata`s setting of a crumbled Middle East, essentially lawless after the US invasion, and the extensive use of a variety of extremely plausible drones by private military contractors, is almost certainly going to be a reality. The implications of new technologies (both robotic and corporate) is considered, thoughtful and rigorous in the tradition of some of the best near-future SF.The story itself follows an older woman named True, a contractor for one of the private armies that is founded on `Right Action,` a concept of justified application of force that brought to mind the kind of moral warrior-philosophers of myth. True`s company is run by Lincoln, a veteran crippled in combat. They take a rescue contract (the description of which opens the book, anchoring the moral qualities of the viewpoint character) and execute an operation the TEZ, the snarl of broken nations left in the wake of US intervention in Iraq, the Syrian Civil War, etc.Here we`re treated to Nagata`s action sequences. This book is written in a smooth, plain voice that is measured in its description. When the action scenes hit you understand exactly why this choice is made: there is a tremendous amount going on at any one time, literally dozens of balls in the air, that are cleanly and carefully explained so that there is no confusion on the reader`s part as to what`s going on at any point. This is an achievement all on its own, and considering the amount of action in this book, it is a welcome sign.Nagata juggles human action, robotic drones, multiple lines of intelligence, character development and worldbuilding during action scenes with simple, unadorned prose that builds a sense of imminent dread. Everything is realistic despite itself, so the feeling of a looming bullet catching a character in the back of the head is always there. It is a compelling voice to use.The overarching plot involves secrets from the characters histories coming to light, causing the characters to chase after covered up events and mysteries surrounding their personal tragedies. Under this are themes of obsolescence, at humanity losing a defining feature of itself )even if it is something as morally gray as participation in war), the moral questions of autonomous warfighting, and the role of private militaries. It is unflinching in its view of war, but manages to balance the various viewpoints in its characters without turning into a Heinlein-esque sockpuppet exercise.TL;DR- An interesting and unique viewpoint on the changing nature of war, embedded in realistic and plausible technological and political extrapolation of current events and trends, with a brisk plot, well realized characters and clean, precise prose that obfuscates nothing and lends the work a building sense of dread.

  • Mitchell
    2018-12-23 20:39

    Intense! Too intense for a beach vacation trip, but I didn't want to put it down and come back to it. So I'm glad it's done. In general this is not my kind of thing. It was basically all military combat of one sort or another. But it was also a chance to explore how drones of various shapes and sizes would impact on combat in the probably near future. Frightening but believable. And the characters were interesting. Still wish this author will switch off of military and back to pure sf some day. But these have been good. And I'd rather books different than I prefer than no books at all. 4.5 of 5.

  • Peter Tillman
    2019-01-18 15:57

    A good book on an important topic: the advent of autonomous robot warrior-mechs. Nagata captures the horrors of war well, writes good action-scenes, gets the tech (sfaict) right. So why just 3 stars?The story just never quite "clicked" for me. I didn't quite believe in the main characters, altho they are drawn well. One in particular, a conscience-stricken Chinese AI designer, didn't ring true at all. So I'm calling it at a tad under 3.5 stars.LGM may have suffered a bit by my reading it right after Annalee Newitz's wonderful AUTONOMOUS.

  • Anna
    2019-01-10 19:52

    Very good super-near-future MilSF. I'm no military robotics expert, but I'd guess it's just barely SF. Most of the characters, if not quite three dimensional, at least had distinct and (eventually) comprehensible motivations. And Nagata has that hard to quantify skill that Heinlein had of immersing me in the prose, and making me turn pages.

  • Mark
    2019-01-04 13:46

    Although I’d been aware of Linda Nagata for a long time, I hadn’t read any of her work until the recent Red Trilogy. The Red Trilogy is simultaneously a thoughtful exploration of the impact of technology advances on soldiers and warfare as well as a rollicking near-future sci-fi adventure. The Last Good Man continues the exploration of “future war”, elevating the thrill ride aspect and downplaying the philosophical exploration. If you’re interested in a near-future Sci Fi book exploring what happens when machines fight our wars for us, The Last Good Man is for you.True Brighton is a retired Army vet who is now Director of Operations for Requisite Operations, a private military contractor in Seattle— just don’t call them mercenaries, as they like to point out! As The Last Good Man opens, Requisite is being hired to recover a potential client’s daughter from an Islamic terrorist/gangster organization. True — a near-middle aged woman — will shortly be leading a recovery mission in the Middle East, one that features a dizzying array of near-future warfare artifacts. Synthetic Digital Assistants, Drones, Robotics, Biomimetics (robots that mimic biological life forms - insects, birds, snakes..), TINSLs (Team Integrated Speech Link). While True is fully committed to Requisite and this message, she’s haunted by the brutal death of her son at the hands of a different terrorist group. When the rescue mission uncovers a potential link to her son’s death, she breaks ranks to find answers, and things rapidly spiral out of control.True is fascinating character. A female combat leader, her character differs in perspective from many military sci/fi protagonists. As a middle aged warrior, she remembers the time before AI and augmented warfare, and is starting to see the end of that life for herself. As a semi-retired person, I loved this particular quote from True, it resonated for me personally: “Yes, I know what ‘retired’ means. It means I get to choose my own missions”. The first few chapters of The Last Good Man moved a little slowly for me — there was a bit too much setup, explanations, and a blizzard of acronyms and technical descriptions of things. Someone more geeky than myself might find that really interesting, but I wanted to get to it! But soon we’re in action in the Middle East and things are moving along. True is on the trail of Shaw, who she thinks has information related to her son’s death. I found the Shaw character also very interesting, and wanted more of him. When he got to telling True the story she came for, the room I was in vanished and I was completely transported to the jungle where Shaw, Diego and others were mounting an expedition.… We were twenty meters above a tangled regrowth forest — all bamboo and spindly trees — weedy shit that had popped up after the old forest was logged out. Under the rotor wash it looked like a seething, rain-blurred, bottomless chaos. The rain was coming down like nails. A gust hit us and rocked the ship. Diego’s hand tightened on my shoulder. He wanted to make sure I didn’t go over the edge before we had a rope…..into the rainy jungle, with no visibility, laser range finders flashing through the darkness, killer drones nearly wiping out the good guys. From that scene until the end of the book, I was hooked and story accelerated right to the end.The Last Good Man is much more of a thriller than The Red. In The Red, the AI is effectively a full-fledged character — albeit essentially offscreen (no pun intended!) — leading to some very thought provoking situations. In The Last Good Man, the tech is mostly backdrop for the characters, their conflicts, their time in life. I’m always a sucker for middle aged characters figuring out what comes next for them, and that question echoes through the end of The Last Good Man. If there’s a philosophical underpinning to The Last Good Man, it might be “what happens to us when machines fight our wars?”. I would have enjoyed a bit more exploration of that question, but the book is awesome without it. If a near-future sci-fi thriller with a soul interests you, you’ll enjoy The Last Good Man.(disclosure: I received a free review copy of The Last Good Man from the author in exchange for a fair review).

  • Jack Teng
    2018-12-21 22:03

    Every time I read a book by Linda Nagata, I wonder why the hell isn't she better known? The Red series (a must-read, if you haven't read it) is just a brilliantly plotted near-future milsci. The Last Good Man is no less brilliant, though slightly nearer in the future. If you follow any of the news or any of the current tech trends (as Nagata clearly does), you'll see exactly what she's basing her world on. Check it out!

  • Kevin
    2019-01-18 21:03

    This fast paced, military techno-thriller had me on the edge of my seat. The near-future technology was completely believable and frightening. The book moved at a quick pace and kept me hooked. Great story and mystery.

  • John
    2019-01-07 13:50

    A well written book that moves the story along, for the most part. Sometimes it falls into the trap that a lot of techno-military type books do, and gets a bit bogged down in technical details. It was a bit difficult to suspend disbelief due to the unlikeliness of the relationships between the main characters (both dead and alive). Still, the author knows how to write, and it was a fun tale. I enjoyed it.

  • Kris
    2018-12-27 22:01

    I was in a reading funk for months, and this is the book that finally snapped me out of it.

  • Meghan
    2018-12-20 20:55

    A thriller about near-future military technology, drones, private military contractors, and surveillance. True Brighton is a former helicopter pilot who now works for a US private military contractor (since helicopters are now flown robotically). The small company she works for tries to operate with a motto of "right action" - a similar ethos to Google's "don't be evil" that will place the organization less in a grey area and more on the side of doing good in the world. After a hostage rescue in the Middle East, things from True's past come to light, including information related to the death of her son on a military mission several years ago.

  • Clyde
    2019-01-01 19:52

    In The Last Good Man Linda Nagata gives us an action-filled near future techno-thriller. The main protagonist, True Brighton, is a skilled and tough minded middle-aged woman. She and her team have to deal with all kinds of people ranging from purely evil torturers to ordinary folks. They sometimes have to make difficult moral choices in split seconds while carrying out missions.We get small-unit military operations, we get autonomous and semi-autonomous military bots, and we get an old mystery that begs to be resolved.Good story, well written and with a satisfying finish.

  • Regan
    2018-12-23 14:43

    Phenomenal. I enjoyed Linda Nagata's Red Light series. Like Red Light, The Last Good Man features interesting speculation into near future cyber and mech warfare, clandestine or non-national conflicts but the intensely personal journeys of the human side of this transition of warfare in The Last Good Man is extraordinarily well done. The fact that these journeys occur inside of a cinematic, heartpounding plot makes this a really special book. Recommended.

  • Koeur
    2019-01-09 16:53

    https://koeur.wordpress.com/2017/05/1...Publisher: Mythic IslandPublishing Date: June 2017ISBN: 9781937197230Genre: SciFiRating: 3.6/5Publishers Description: Army veteran True Brighton left the service when the development of robotic helicopters made her training as a pilot obsolete. Now she works at Requisite Operations, a private military company established by friend and former Special Ops soldier Lincoln Han. ReqOp has embraced the new technologies. Robotics, big data, and artificial intelligence are all tools used to augment the skills of veteran warfighters-for-hire. But the tragedy of war is still measured in human casualties, and when True makes a chance discovery during a rescue mission, old wounds are ripped open. She’s left questioning what she knows of the past, and resolves to pursue the truth, whatever the cost. Review: This novel surprised me at how just how solid it was. Good characterization/development and a storyline that gets better as the movement intensifies. True Brighton is a great character and delivers her mien in a professional manner. The supporting cast was marginally developed due to the hectic movement where really only one persons POV is relevant in describing events as they unfold. I liked that there was no over the top “True Brighton-Rhodes scholar, Olympic heptathlete that answered the call to serve her country while getting her 3rd black belt in Krav Maga“, shtick. I mean really. You don’t know how refreshing it is to read about someone who could be a real person doing hero’s work. Like most novels if you have one great character, there must be one that sux in order to balance the karmic scales. Miles. Fuggin’ Miles. Why that douche is allowed along for the operation is beyond even common sense. I guess the author thought she needed a mewling whiner to even out the cast. While I was picking the corn out of my shjt, I noticed some inconsistencies in flow where you lost the scene visualization due to hiccups in descriptive events. Easy to get back on the reading horse so not a big deal. Scene expediters in the form of “said/swear/hisses/etc. softly” are, sadly present. The future tech is magnificently constructed and brings to light a considered look at our collective future. Pick this up, it’s damned good writing.

  • AJ Nelson
    2019-01-18 15:36

    Wow. I think I get Nagata much better as a writer after this one. Solid story and great characters. I don't have anything against military themes, but neither do I seek them out. Nagata's wonderful prose and attention detail takes military aspect and makes it poignant. I have to admit it was the title that grabbed me, and I was happy to see it play a role in the story. Great read.

  • John Purvis
    2018-12-28 21:44

    “The Last Good Man” eBook was published in 2017 and was written by Linda Nagoya (http://www.mythicisland.com). Ms. Nagoya has published more than a dozen novels. I received an ARC of this novel through https://www.netgalley.com in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this novel as ‘PG’ because it contains scenes of Violence and Mature Language. The story is set just a few years in the future. The primary character. Is True Brighton, a former Army helicopter pilot and now one of the principle officers of Requisite Operations. Requisite Operations is a military contractor, mostly providing training and security services, but they also have a small team for armed response.Requisite Operations is contracted to rescue a young Doctor who has been kidnapped by terrorists. During that mission, Brighton comes across evidence that brings back old memories and opens old wounds. Requisite Operations soon finds itself being watched and under attack. As more evidence mounts up, Brighton strikes out on her own to pursue the truth. This leaves her team searching for her and her at risk. I really enjoyed the 11.5 hours I spent reading this. 464 page techno thriller. A large part of the novel concerns the tech - robots, drones and AI - that is being used by various military units, including Requisite Operations. I found that a very interesting part of the story, given that most of it is what is in the research labs today. I thought that the characters were well developed and I liked the plot. The cover art is OK. I give this novel a 5 out of 5. Further book reviews I have written can be accessed at https://johnpurvis.wordpress.com/blog/. My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/3... Last Good Man” eBook was published in 2017 and was written by Linda Nagoya (http://www.mythicisland.com). Ms. Nagoya has published more than a dozen novels. I received an ARC of this novel through https://www.netgalley.com in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this novel as ‘PG’ because it contains scenes of Violence and Mature Language. The story is set just a few years in the future. The primary character. Is True Brighton, a former Army helicopter pilot and now one of the principle officers of Requisite Operations. Requisite Operations is a military contractor, mostly providing training and security services, but they also have a small team for armed response.Requisite Operations is contracted to rescue a young Doctor who has been kidnapped by terrorists. During that mission, Brighton comes across evidence that brings back old memories and opens old wounds. Requisite Operations soon finds itself being watched and under attack. As more evidence mounts up, Brighton strikes out on her own to pursue the truth. This leaves her team searching for her and her at risk. I really enjoyed the 11.5 hours I spent reading this. 464 page techno thriller. A large part of the novel concerns the tech - robots, drones and AI - that is being used by various military units, including Requisite Operations. I found that a very interesting part of the story, given that most of it is what is in the research labs today. I thought that the characters were well developed and I liked the plot. The cover art is OK. I give this novel a 5 out of 5. Further book reviews I have written can be accessed at https://johnpurvis.wordpress.com/blog/. My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/3... Last Good Man” eBook was published in 2017 and was written by Linda Nagoya (http://www.mythicisland.com). Ms. Nagoya has published more than a dozen novels. I received an ARC of this novel through https://www.netgalley.com in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this novel as ‘PG’ because it contains scenes of Violence and Mature Language. The story is set just a few years in the future. The primary character. Is True Brighton, a former Army helicopter pilot and now one of the principle officers of Requisite Operations. Requisite Operations is a military contractor, mostly providing training and security services, but they also have a small team for armed response.Requisite Operations is contracted to rescue a young Doctor who has been kidnapped by terrorists. During that mission, Brighton comes across evidence that brings back old memories and opens old wounds. Requisite Operations soon finds itself being watched and under attack. As more evidence mounts up, Brighton strikes out on her own to pursue the truth. This leaves her team searching for her and her at risk. I really enjoyed the 11.5 hours I spent reading this. 464 page techno thriller. A large part of the novel concerns the tech - robots, drones and AI - that is being used by various military units, including Requisite Operations. I found that a very interesting part of the story, given that most of it is what is in the research labs today. I thought that the characters were well developed and I liked the plot. The cover art is OK. I give this novel a 5 out of 5. Further book reviews I have written can be accessed at https://johnpurvis.wordpress.com/blog/.

  • Scott Whitmore
    2019-01-06 18:04

    Thanks to author Linda Nagata, I’ve now read two excellent military sci-fi thrillers — The Last Good Man and The Red: First Light (see my review) — set in highly plausible near-futures where technology has fundamentally changed the role of humans on the world’s battlefields. Both books can be enjoyed simply as the exciting and fast-paced thrillers they certainly are, or readers with a more thoughtful bent will ruminate on the impact these changes will have on conflict and warfare.In a way, The Last Good Man is really two stories. The first quarter of the book sets the scene, introduces the characters and hardware, including robotic drone swarms, and includes a thrilling hostage-rescue raid. The balance of the story deals with the fallout from that raid as protagonist True Brighton seeks the truth about the death of her son, a special forces soldier killed during a failed mission eight years previous.True comes from a military family and was herself a US Army SpecOps helicopter pilot before humans were removed from cockpits in favor of computerized autonomous control algorithms. Now she is a department head at Requisite Operations, a private military company (PMC). ReqOps is a ‘white hat’ PMC, meaning it’s a signatory of international accords governing the numerous such groups that have sprouted worldwide. ReqOps provides training, consulting and occasionally direct action teams, maintaining an outsized reach for a relatively small organization by leaning heavily on robotics and Artificial Intelligence programs, as well as networking with other white hat PMCs and independent contractors.I found True to be a nuanced character, whose motivations and actions are plausible and realistic, but still at a few points frustrated me. Such is the case when complex emotions are involved; there are shades of gray in our moral compasses and the main characters in The Last Good Man certainly reflect that. That not every question raised by True, and the reader, receives an answer is quite fitting. Like The Red: First Light, my previous experience with this author, this book also has features some very cool (and oftentimes scary-deadly) hardware. As well as combat aircraft, freight-haulers and many passenger vehicles are autonomous (one of my favorite insights, revealed while a group desperately tries to navigate heavy traffic: AI-managed cars will actually slow travel times as they will be programmed to follow all laws). Autonomous drones and armored vehicles operate using AI programmed to determine friend from foe, and respond quicker and more accurately by removing humans from the “kill chain.”An entertaining military sci-fi story that raises complex issues about the future, The Last Good Man is a great read.

  • Leather
    2019-01-06 16:03

    It would be fair to classify this book in a military Thriller / SF category, but it would also be very reductive, as the novel is far removed from the idea one can have of a book with that label. It is a book that would rather have its place on the shelf 'great novels' of our bookstores, next to an author like Norman Spinrad, for example. Very serious (too much to my liking), endowed with a very good intrigue, a futuristic universe in which the machines are replacing the soldiers in battle theaters, well-structured and sometimes ambivalent characters, The Last Good Man is full of qualities. Having a 49-year-old woman, a former military, a mother, a manager of a militarized security company and an occasional mercenary is also a plus. I have found the realistic approach to technology and geopolitics of our near future very credible.The book begins on a long hostage rescue operation conducted by a private commando. Very rhythmic, full of futuristic gadgets, this first part of the book is very exciting. It made me think at the end of the movie 'Zero Dark Thirty'. The problem is that in this very good film this scene was the climax of everything that preceded. In The Last Good Man, even if the operation raises a (very) big issue for the two main protagonists of the adventure, the narration is a little breathless once the rescue operation is over. The rhythm falls, and there is a lot of introspections. It is never totally boring, because everything is very well thought out, there is much accuracy in the path of thought of the characters, but I found it often too detailed. So the heart of the book lacks tension. The drama on which the plot is based is revealed gradually, but some internal dialogues, certain points of view, and some detailed analyzes of the situation considerably slow down the rhythm of the narrative.The end of the book recovers with action, there is suspense, again rhythm, the conclusion is successful, coherent and well in the general tone of the book, between bitterness and relief. There will probably be a sequel, but I do not know if I will read it or read other novels of this author: the book is interesting but rather seedy and it lacks too much humor and optimism for my taste.However, it is a recommendable reading for fans of the genre who are not as demanding as me in terms of rhythm and who want to read credible, intelligent and nuanced military SF.

  • Michael Hicks
    2018-12-20 21:36

    Linda Nagata's latest sees heroine True Brighton, a private military contractor, searching for answers regarding the death of her serviceman son, Diego. Although the matter of Diego's death is considered long-since closed, True learns of important new information following the rescue of several prisoners abducted by terrorists, information that will put her at odds with both her employer and her husband.The Last Good Man is an excellent near-future military thriller loaded with plenty of cutting edge sci-fi goodness. As expected, following her wonderful military SF trilogy of The Red titles, Nagata skimps on neither the action, nor the high-tech wonders that exist a few meager generations beyond our current military capabilities. The men and women of Requisite Operations have a slew of neat toys at their disposal, including animal-based biomimetic hardware -- surveillance drones that mimic worms, beetle-like cameras, and "roaches" equipped with ordinance -- and cybernetic prosthetic devices. The issue of robotics in military applications is certainly an interesting one, and Nagata raises plenty of questions over the role of human soldiers in the coming decades as technology grows more advanced and proliferates even further. Also at stake is how much trust we want to place in private military contractors, and if such technological capabilities will perhaps erase any boundaries between PMCs and sovereign states. This is all heady stuff, to be sure, but the primary focus of the story is on the human component. The core of the book is True herself, and her need for answers about her son's death, regardless of the personal cost to her. She's emotionally wounded, but she's also a trained professional, which makes her a walking bit of conflict all its own, and Nagata uses this too excellent effect. There were a few times where I doubted True's actions and worried about her safety and imminent betrayals, even as I rooted for her to succeed. The Last Good Man delivers all the right action throughout, offering plenty of adrenaline fueled military theatrics and a few surprising twists, in addition to a thought-provoking narrative that makes this an awesome read in all respects. [Note: I received an advanced copy of this title from the author.]

  • Tim Hicks
    2019-01-06 14:51

    A thoughtful examination of current trends - which is one of the main functions of SF - wrapped in a military format. At first I was worried. The old cliché "steaming mug of coffee" and the obligatory character with gray eyes. Sigh. But there were no more of those and we moved on. Also at the start there was way too much "she picked up her Burleigh & Stronginthearm, adapted with a custom XCFR to incorporate an RQI function. Her LNSGR showed her the positions of her teammates, and predicted the Packers by a field goal."One wonders how long it will take us to be comfortable firing a 3D-printed gun, but I suspect some reasonably safe ones are already out there. But eventually we have a story developing, with the usual technique of having things slowly revealed. In this case it's quite plausibly done. You need to pay attention, because nearly everything that is mentioned in the book ends up in the final big scene. There is a somewhat implausible range of automated weapons and spy devices, but not quite beyond belief. There aren't quite too many scenes where there's an obvious "right action" but the character is all "no, I gotta do this" But I awarded a credit to cancel that when two characters actually take a pee break right before the big showdown. The author often mentions that the private firms she describes are always concerned with budgets, But repeatedly we see expensive things getting blowed up real good, all in pursuit of " I gotta know what happened." The identity of the "mystery player" was signalled far too clearly. I suspect many readers figured out very early who it was. But all in all, this book still presents a new idea to explore with SF. What is going to happen to mercenaries, and to combat in general, as AI's and robots develop? I suspect we'll eventually get to what another SF author suggested: two AIs will declare war, simulate a battle, declare a winner, and accept the results - with no deaths.

  • J.
    2018-12-29 15:46

    Eight years ago True Brighton was an Army helicopter pilot and her son, Diego, was special operations warrior in a secretive unit called Rogue Lightning. Today, True is Director of Operations for Requisite Operations, a private military contracting firm specializing in providing security, intelligence gathering, developing military robotics, training security people, and hostage rescue. A lot can happen in a minute, let alone eight years. She lost her career as a pilot to artificial intelligence: now most piloting jobs are done by self-flying aircraft. She lost her brave, proud and handsome son to terrorists. While on a mission in Burma with Rogue Lightning Diego was captured, crucified and burned alive. Millions watched it happen online. Scenes of Diego’s last moments come unbidden to True, in dreams, or in daylight, bearing unfathomable grief. For years True has believed that everyone who fought with him, or who tortured and killed him, were dead. Either dead in battle, or killed when Chinese cruise missiles obliterated the Burmese village where he died. But a ghost has arisen after a successful hostage rescue. The intelligence gleaned suggests that Diego‘s Commanding Officer, from the failed Burma mission, is alive. True cannot go back to her life, or her husband, without knowing who “Jon Helm” is, and why he has her son’s name tattooed on his arm. If Helm is Diego’s CO, Shaw Walker, why didn’t he return home? Why has he turned into a sadistic killer? Finding the answers cannot wait.“The Last Good Man” is the kind of novel that wears out a reviewers supply of superlatives. The storytelling is fantastic. Words like suspenseful and thriller are accurate descriptions! Concise, forward-looking, fast paced and realistic don’t do justice to Ms. Nagata’s work. And the much overused "unputdownable" is barely adequate. Get it, read it twice, you will love it. I received an advance galley of “The Last Good Man” from Mythic Island Press LLC, and NetGalley in exchange for this review.

  • Lunasmom
    2018-12-27 16:46

    *I received an Advance Reader Copy (ARC) of this book in exchange for an honest review and feedback.I have been a fan of Linda Nagata’s work in the past, so when she asked for early readers for her latest book I jumped at the chance. When she sent out her email explaining this book was cross-genre, I got a little stomach flutter of worry—I’m a fairly dedicated sci-fi/fantasy reader and near-future sci-fi military thriller felt a little outside of my comfort zone. But…I didn’t have anything to lose, I’m a fan of her past work and she was reaching out for help, so I swallowed my qualms and sat down to read.And finished in one sitting.This book is more than its genre conveys. What makes Linda’s writing compelling is more than plot or world building, it’s the way she crafts people and tells their story. This book tells the story of a world where there is war and military contractors are the wave of the future. There’s interesting military technology (with a heavy robotics bent, if you're into that). As part thriller, there’s also an interesting plot with twists and action. But what I really enjoyed, beyond the fact that I just like Linda’s writing, is that she built complex people who made me feel for them. People who are both gifted and flawed, infinitely relatable to me as a woman, as a mother, as someone who isn’t always patient, and someone who makes mistakes. As someone who gets angry. I relate to True, the main character, and the choices that she makes.In between the writing, Linda also pencils in the story of the one person we never meet—the last good man. It’s not that we get his biography but that we assemble his story from the combination of complex relationships, historical context, and intersections of happenstance that Linda has been quietly writing in between lines and in the margins of the book. It’s a coherent patchwork of flashes of insight that sneak up on the reader, like walking backwards to see the full picture of a large piece of art. I think this book is worth reading if you enjoy rich character building, a bit of action, and a hint of mystery. Bonus: strong female characters definitely carry the book, so if you’re looking for more feminist fiction to add to your collection, I recommend this.

  • Gost
    2019-01-09 14:35

    Setting: Middle east after ISIS;Problem: Artificial intelligence, robots, and the future of humanity;plot: entirely predictable;characters: sympathetic, a bit heroic, a bit idealistic, 2d;It is a nice military fiction with two major drawbacks that unnerved me while reading. First, I was able to predict the so called mystery before even reaching the half of the book. Second, every character was hammering the idea of military robots taking over the war with such intensity that it started being offending. OMFG, Linda Nagata, do you consider your readers idiots or yes? At one moment the disinterest in me grew so much that I do something very rare for me - I skipped around a third of the book and read only the two final battles. I don't feel like I missed something really worth my time. After the last page, my thought was "finally, it is over". If there is something interesting in the book, those are the robots. Various and described in detail, they have been created with imagination and lots of reading on the topic. That's why I would recommend the book to people into military scifi and tech geeks, but to nobody else. It is just too written-by-the-book to be really exciting.