Other Sellers on Amazon
& FREE Delivery. Details
Download the free Kindle app and start reading Kindle books instantly on your smartphone, tablet or computer – no Kindle device required. Learn more
Read instantly on your browser with Kindle Cloud Reader.
Using your mobile phone camera, scan the code below and download the Kindle app.
Enter your mobile phone or email address
By pressing ‘Send link’, you agree to Amazon's Conditions of Use.
You consent to receive an automated text message from or on behalf of Amazon about the Kindle App at your mobile number above. Consent is not a condition of any purchase. Message and data rates may apply.
Follow the Author
New Model Army Paperback – 10 March 2011
Enhance your purchase
Frequently bought together
- ASIN : 0575083638
- Publisher : Gollancz; 1st edition (10 March 2011)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 290 pages
- ISBN-10 : 9780575083639
- ISBN-13 : 978-0575083639
- Dimensions : 12.9 x 1.83 x 19.8 cm
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
Review this product
Top review from Australia
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
The problem with it is, like Salt, the assumptions we are forced to live with so that the author can write his story are far too unrealistic, bordering on absurd. Basically, what he has done is to inflate a terrorist cell into a full-blown army of several thousand "irregulars". Worse, it is run as a "true democracy", which means there is no hierarchy and everyone has to vote before any decisive action can be taken. Voting is done online and all the "soldiers" are connected through a "wiki", which presumably runs through Wi-Fi or some future replacement for it. HEre is but a small list of the really obvious flaws in this set-up:
- The first thing the authorities do before raiding terrorists today is to jam their mobile phone coverage. Apparently this knowledge is lost to the government of the future because they make no effort at all to disrupt their enemy's communications.
- Being part of a "true democracy" seems to mean that no-one is allowed to specialise. Everyone must be a jack-of-all-trades because no-one is a master of anything. They have the wiki to consult whenever they need to do anything. It also seems to mean that everyone can have a say as to the conduct of a battle, regardless of their level of experience. There seems to be zero value in expertise.
- Whilst I am sure we have all seen images of a tank with it's turret blown clean off, it is not possible to do that with a hand-held anti-armour weapon. Maybe in the future that might become possible but I am pretty sure that if/when it does, the professional armies will be the first to know and they'll change their tactics accordingly. Not in Mr Roberts' future, though.
- Helicopters are really hard to shoot down on the battlefield because they fly fast and low. Most of the time a soldier on the ground would be lucky to even be able to identify the aircraft type as it flew overhead, much less engage and destroy it, yet untrained soldiers in this NMA do it all the time.
- When your rifle jams in the middle of a firefight, you will not have time to consult a wiki to work out how to fix it. You will need the kind of repetitive training and discipline regular soldiers get so that you can fix it blindfolded, without conscious thought. If you can't do that, you will not last long on any real battlefield.
- If you go to the trouble of fighting a battle over a piece of ground, you do not then move on and leave it unguarded. If you did that in a real war, your enemy would just leave you to march through, then close in behind you and re-take the position. Yet the NMA explicitly makes no effort to hold onto any terrain it has won.
You get the idea. Their actions are more like that of a drunken mob on NYE than any kind of army in battle. They wouldn't last five minutes up against any professional forces. It seems the author has never read any military sci-fi or I doubt he would fall into so many traps. Or maybe he just can't be bothered doing any research? Whatever the reason, it is a shame because he writes well and if it was possible to overlook all the flaws, I reckon he could write great novels. Sadly, the flaws here are gaping chasms and I stopped reading before I had hit half-way. Never again, Mr Roberts. Never again.
Top reviews from other countries
Roberts has a lot of fun with this concept - both in describing the wreckage of the M4 corridor (a s we witness the Battles of Basingstoke and Reading, Betjeman's prayer "Come friendly bombs and fall on Slough..." seems about to be answered) and in teasing out the implications of the military innovation: NMAs are formidable forces which easily crush the hapless British Army, even though vastly outnumbered. The narrator of the book, Tony Block, who is a member of Pantegral, ascribes this to their "democratic" nature - continually referring to the old-style armies as "feudal". I have to say this aspect never quite convinces. More germane, though, are Block's attempts to answer the question "why?" - what are these NMAs for, why do people want to join in the risky business of fighting, what is the point? It's a measure of Adam's range and skill as a writer that in exploring these issues he is able to muse on the place of play in human evolution, the nature of love as well, of course, as the morality and purpose of war. If that sounds daunting, don't let it put you off - the narrative is compelling, and the tension between the NMA point of view ("we are a pure democracy: therefore whatever we do is right") and the horrific consequences that the war unleashes are very well done.
There is another theme running through the book - of the NMA as the stirring of some kind of beyond human life, a composite being with thoughts and consciousness of its own. This culminates in the only part of the book I couldn't relate to, the third part (only a few pages long) which sets out an interior monologue of one such giant. I found this hard to understand and to relate to the rest of the story. But for that, I'd have given it five stars.
Overall, an excellent book and a good, thought provoking read.
However I feel that the author really didn't know what to do with the book after the initial chapters. In retrospect I think this would have made a really excellent short story or novella, in these formats there is little need for a 'clean' or rounded ending. However in attempting this with the dull second, and pretentious third sections the author managed to lose my interest and enthusiasm completely.
The most revolutionary idea is that you could build a true democracy where everybody gets a say.
I feel the ending is a little week though.