A Lima Charlie Review: ‘Red Metal’ By Mark Greaney & LtCol Rawlings. With a BLAST RADIUS of a NUCLEAR BOMB! (10/10)

img_2846Introducing Red Metal, from Mark Greaney, the author behind seven Tom Clancy novels in the Jack Ryan series as well as eight of his own Gray Man novels. The latest, Mission Critical debuted top five on New York Times Best Seller list. Also, co-written by Marine Corps Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Hunter “Rip” Rawlings IV. An infantry and Reconnaissance Officer with over 22-years of experience, including ten combat and peace keeping deployments. These two writers, one very talented, meticulous with his research to ensure accuracy and authenticity in his writings. The other, a life time of real-world combat experience in the most dangerous, most feared fighting force on the planet. Together, they combined their talents to pen the best Military Thriller ever. Red Metal is a completely accurate and detailed in what I imagine war with Russia would be like. Gone are the days of the insurgents in the middle east. Now, a new enemy approaches, one that wears a uniform, does not hide behind innocent men, women, and children. One that can match our arsenal and technologies pound for pound. This is what Red Metal is all about.

The issue with Russia starts a few years back, a Special Forces Spetsnaz Commander, Colonel Yuri Borbikov is in Africa ready to fight to take this rare metal mine from any force that stands in his way. A Mine Russia discovered, purchased, and developed. This mine contains 60% of the world’s known supply of essential minerals and would give Russia a much-needed upper hand in its dwindling economy among world super powers. However, politicians thousands of miles away negotiate a peace agreement and Colonel Borbikov and his Spetsnaz soldiers are ordered to vacate, leaving the mine with their tails between their legs. This enrages the Colonel and he vows to come back and claim this land for the Rodina, (motherland). He spends the next few years coming up with the plan to do just that, spending his own money, time and resources to come up with a bold plan. Impressed with his plan and forced to make drastic moves to cling to power, Russian President, President Anatoly Rivkin summons his two most feared and respected Generals and tasks them with this mission, “ROBATA KRASNYY METALL,” Operation Red Metal. The one designed by the Special Forces Colonel. The first part of this operation was to weaken US leadership and command in PACOM, they did this by creating a scandal between two highly placed officers. From there, two waves of attacks waged on two different continents.

First wave led by Russian Colonel General Eduard Sabaneyev, his mission is to take his army through Poland and into Germany. On their way, they are to kill and destroy anything in their way. The plan called for strategic hacking of NATO computers, the destruction of their low orbit satellites, which disabled all advanced communications and GPS. All of this, right before Christmas when majority of NATO troops were on holiday leave.

The second wave led by Colonel General Boris Lazar crossed the vast desert of Iran in what looked like a joint exercise between the two nations. From there, his army boarded container ships and floated into Africa. Once they got there, they gathered their equipment and troops and started for the mine in Kenya. At this point, one Marine Corps Regiment was all that stood in the way of the advancing superior Russian Army. The battles fought here were epic, many times I felt as if I was watching a movie or better yet, in those trenches with those Marines. The up-close battles fought here, with tanks, artillery, air support, machine guns, carbine rifles, even at one-point hand to hand combat was utilized. The excitement and stress the battles created are depicted so well, the amount of death, chaos, portrayed in Red Metal is enough to create a healthy fear of just what World War Three would look like if these pages Mark Greaney and LtCol Rawlings put together came to be true.

Couple of things that caught my eye in Red Metal was the accuracy of life in the Marine Corps and the Military in general, one tiny bit of detail which stood out due to the fact that I experienced it many times as a Marine, is the constant hammering of ensuring all the troops did certain annual requirements which we called PME, Professional Military Education. My Staff Sergeant would always ask me to make sure my squad is PME complete. This list includes many types of training and education such as, annual rifle qualification, the gas chamber, Physical Fitness Test / Combat fitness test, as well as medical evals and such. The example that stuck with me in Red Metal is a commander telling his troops to ensure everyone gets their flu shot so as not to get on the “director’s shit list.” While a very small example, the term “shit rolls downhill” comes to mind. Imagine a battalion commander gets a phone call that some random Lance Corporal in the Battalion missed his dental appointment, and from that point on, everyone in his chain of command under that commander receives an ass-chewing. Another completely different scenario which stood out to me was customs and mannerisms which are common in European countries were so well researched and its evident that much thought had been put into every detail of this book, from the fighting to this specific example of two close Polish friends who had a custom to kiss each other on both cheeks before speaking whenever they saw each other. I’ve personally traveled to Europe many times and can attest to this custom.

Red Metal illustrates a type of war the US Military has not seen since WWII. Our latest wars, fighting the insurgency in the middle east whose best weapon is an IED. While Red Metal has US and NATO forces fighting against a battle tested hardened soldiers with coordinated artillery strikes, air raids, cyberwarfare, and naval support. The 600 plus pages of Red Metal never get boring, never gets dull, each page forces you to the next one, each battle is life or death for the characters you get to know so well, whether it’s a Russian, a German, Polish, French or American. You get to know them, you learn their story and at times it feels like you’re there with them. From a cockpit of the A-10 Warthog American fighter jet, to Russian Su-57 stealth fifth generation jet, to the trenches the Marines have dug, the pilot seat of an attack helicopter, a submarine commander, or the inside of a tank as they’re sending death down range. This military thriller is an absolute must read, you will NOT be disappointed.




Authors: Mark Greaney & USMC Lieutenant Colonel Hunter Ripley “Rip” Rawlings IV
Pages:  656
ISBN: 978-0451490414
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: July 16, 2019
Follow Mark & LtCol Rawlings on Twitter: @MarkGreaneyBook / @RipRawlings
Lima Charlie Rating: A BLAST RADIUS OF: A NUCLEAR BOMB (10/10) – The potential here is death on a global scale, nothing is scarier than a nuke. This is the best rating a book can get.




I recently had an opportunity to interview Mark & LtCol Rawlings. Click the link below to read how Red Metal came to be, their in depth research for this novel, his extensive career in the US Marine Corps. As well as some interesting news about some solo work coming soon from LtCol Rawlings.



About the Authors:

Mark Greaney has a degree in international relations and political science. In his research for the Gray Man novels, including Agent in Place, Gunmetal Gray, Back Blast, Dead Eye, Ballistic, On Target, and The Gray Man, he traveled to more than fifteen countries and trained alongside military and law enforcement in the use of firearms, battlefield medicine, and close-range combative tactics. He is also the author of the New York Times bestsellers Tom Clancy Support and Defend, Tom Clancy Full Force and Effect, Tom Clancy Commander in Chief, and Tom Clancy True Faith and Allegiance. With Tom Clancy, he coauthored Locked On, Threat Vector, and Command Authority.


Lt Col Hunter “Rip” Rawlings IV is an active duty Marine and a veteran of combat with over ten tours to Afghanistan (OEF), Iraq (OIF), Saudi Arabia and Northern Africa (OEF) to name a few. An Infantry and LAV Reconnaissance Officer by trade. A former company commander, FAST det. commander and an infantry battalion commander of the 3d Battalion, 5th Marines. Rawlings service to the Nation spanned more than twenty-two years of active duty. His last assignment was in Quantico Marine Base as the Warfighting Department Head for Marine Corps Command & Staff College. In his spare time, Lt. Col. Rawlings is an avid scuba diver, hunter, motorcyclist, rock drummer, small-craft sailor and microbrewer of fine beer.





Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.