I was excited to dig into a full length PRIMAL novel after reading Silkstone’s primer for his new series, PRIMAL: Origins. Origins tells the story of how PRIMAL came into existence while this novel tells the background story (or begins to) of PRIMAL operatives Bishop and Mizra before getting on with the core plot. While the beginning starts a little slow with the back story of these two interesting characters, the book clips along at a fast pace as we get to the meat of the story.
Since you already know that PRIMAL is a non-official group of vigilantes recruited from Special Operations units and Intelligence Agencies, we get right into the main threat which involves a lot of double dealing and real politek amongst the bad guys. Iran’s Qud’s Force wants a super weapon that the Soviets abandoned in Afghanistan back in the 80’s while a slightly saner Iranian intelligence service works to preempt the more extremist Qud’s Force from obtaining it. This leads to some interesting alliances between PRIMAL and the Iranians down the line.
From here we follow two separate story lines as the PRIMAL tries to cut off the snake at both ends. From the supply end, we read a straight combat plot as Mizra and Ice travel through the badlands of Afghanistan to stop the bad guy’s from digging up the weapon they are after. From the demand end, we follow Bishop on a espionage heavy plot as he tries to uncover the buyer’s of the weapon. Both plot threads show different perspectives and make for a more interesting, full spectrum novel that shows both the combat side and intel side of modern Special Operations.
Both threads fully come together in the last third or so of the novel, Mizra and Bishop joining forces to take down the bad guys as they get one final crack at recovering the super weapon before it slips into the hands of the Iranians.
PRIMAL: Unleashed was a great first novel from Silkstone and I’m stoked about future additions to the series. The author did a great job at fleshing out the characters while paying equal attention to the technical side (guns, ammunition, spy kit) but without sapping the fun out of the book like many thriller writers tend to.