Legacy: The Killing Fields

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Legacy: The Killing Fields by Warren Murphy and Gerald Welch

While there are currently no new novels detailing the exploits of Warren Murphy and Richard Sapir’s cult action hero, Remo Williams, The Destroyer, fans can still sate their appetites for adventure through the Legacy series, which follows the half-sibling heirs of Remo Williams – Stone and Freya. Trained in the ancient Korean art of Sinanju by their grandfather, chief of the Sinanju tribe (you’ll have to read the series to discover the connection between the two), these two are capable enough to be able to amaze, yet inexperienced enough to be fallible, removing the almost godlike capabilities that sometimes overshadowed the stories of their father.

With an over-the-top beginning (battling an army of Mexican ninjas) and a bit of a shaky start, the sophomore entry into the Legacy franchise has much more solid footing and a greater depth of storytelling, although it has taken a turn for having each book be more of a chapter in a series, whereas the books of The Destroyer, while having recurring characters and villains, delivered novels that were far more standalone in nature. Not that the Legacy books aren’t self-contained stories in each book – they are – but there is a lot more of the continuing subplot of the mysterious world-guarding turned world-conquering organization known as VIGIL and the man who has risen to power within it, Helmut Belisis.

In The Killing Fields, Helmut has come to realize that so long as America has the Master of Sinanju guarding it, there is no opportunity to bring the country down and level the playing field; in the eyes of VIGIL, a superpower is a dangerous thing to world safety, and so the United States must be dealt with. To that end, Helmut has authorized the deployment of Carnage, an operation that has been developing the ultimate in human weaponry. Raised from childhood, guided onto a sociopathic path, and surgically altered with carbon fiber implants to their bones, these so-called Premiums only need to be given the order before embarking on their missions of destruction.

One of these Premiums is called 14, a young girl who has just been activated in order to draw out the two Sinanju agents, Stone and Freya. But 14 realized long ago that there was a hidden agenda to Carnage, and she learned how to hide her true feelings in order to survive being culled from the program as a failure. She’s still an unstoppable force of death – but she questions her orders. Meanwhile, Freya’s body has reached a critical point in accepting her Sinanju training, having just come off of a harrowing experience in Mexico where her body seemed to be possessed by the power of Shiva the Destroyer. In 14, Freya sees a kindred spirit, someone like herself who has all this capability and is seen as less than a person. Stone, on the other hand, sees 14 as just another assignment, one that’s going to get his far-more-capable sister killed if she continues to try to relate to her target rather than terminate her.

Political humor has always been a mainstay of The Destroyer franchise, and it’s present here as well. However, where the first book, Forgotten Son, went too far with it to the point of slapstick, authors Warren Murphy and Gerald Welch dial it back here to a degree of subtlety that you almost don’t realize the joke was told until you’ve finished reading it.

The Killing Fields also sets in motion more subplots which are sure to be followed up on in subsequent volumes, involving the next attack from Helmut Belisis, and a revenge story that delves back to the origins of the Sinanju tribe itself.

Grade: 
4.0 / 5.0