The Last Good Man

Linda Nagata
The Last Good Man Cover

The Last Good Man


Fast-paced action combined with a mystery in a near-future, high tech world

In the near future, military pilots have become nearly obsolete with the development of reliable robotic helicopters and planes. Pilot True Brighton has left the Army to work for Requisite Operations, a private military company owned by a former Special Ops veteran and staffed with highly-trained, elite operatives with extensive military or computer technology skills. Their PMC hires out to customer to provide a variety of military-type services including personal and corporate security, protection, and hostage extraction.

This is where The Last Good Man begins: with a father's desperate plea to rescue his daughter, a medical doctor who has been kidnapped by a powerful terrorist in the Tigris-Euphrates Zone (TEZ) -- a lawless, violence-ridden area populated by terrorists, criminals, and unfortunates who could not get out. ReqOps not only manages to fulfill their goal, but to rescue three additional hostages in the process. And it's one of those rescuees, a journalist, who sets Brighton on the trail of a mystery involving one of her children, a son who was killed on a mission for the Army.

Nagata does an excellent job of extrapolating from current military, political, and technological reality to a near future where many military and security operations are performed by robotic equipment and drones, guided by remotely-located human controllers. Biomimetic robots, which resemble and move similarly to insects and animals as a way to avoid discovery, are becoming the wave of the future. And at the bleeding edge, AI-controlled machines are being developed which will rely on self-learning algorithms rather than on human guidance -- devices where there is no human decision-making involved in the "Kill" order.

The author sets up the story for the reader with minimal infodumping by weaving the worldbuilding into the action as the story progresses. The main character is an excellent, matter-of-fact portrayal of a woman with decades of military experience balancing her work with her family life -- an operative who can act competently, brutally, and dispassionately in the midst of action, while retaining her essential humanity.

Fans of Nagata's The Red trilogy (First Light, The Trials, and Going Dark) will almost certainly enjoy this one, too.