Behind Enemy Lines Review
Behind Enemy Lines
by Sally Malcolm
Once there was an Asgard named Loki who did unethical and illegal experiments on abducted humans from Earth in the hopes of finding a way to solve his people's inherent flaws in cloning technology. One result of this experimentation was a clone of Colonel Jack O'Neill (SG1 S7E3) whose development was arrested during the clones teenage phase, the young Jack complete with the life experiences and knowledge of older Jack was let loose upon the Earth to find his own path. However young Jack had the desire to make a difference so when nearly a decade later SG1 get themselves into a mess and the opportunity arrives to once again don the mantle of Stargate Command he steps through the gate (Off Balance novella).
Behind Enemy Lines is set not that long after the events depicted in Off Balance (the novella is included in the novel) and we find the not so young Jack has got himself captured by some very dangerous individuals in Syria. What makes it worse is that video footage has been released which also features the firing of a Zat (given to Jack by Teal'c). Sam and Daniel with SGC support raid the compound and rescue Jack and other hostages but the cat is out the bag and the IOA is demanding Jack be restrained and kept for study. However John Sheppard has been infected by an Ancient repository of knowledge and McKay and Co believe analysing a brain that has undergone the cleansing procedure will allow them to reverse the procedure. As General O'Neill is perhaps to valuable to risk the Jack clone at this point is expendable and so off to Pegasus he goes and his wildest adventure begins.
Behind Enemy Lines written by Sally Malcolm is a very fast paced novel, I was surprised I finished it so quickly but the narrative never lets up and you are thrown from major event to major event with very concise build up in between. There is no real surprise in the overall story but by focusing on events in and around the SGC and Atlantis/Pegasus it covers all the bases which adds flavour as we see most of these through the eyes of clone Jack. It's both gratifying and depressing to see the wonders of the universe offset by Jack learning of the deaths of friends and colleagues during his time out of the SGC sphere of influence. The addition of the Wraith dynamic worked well and to readers of The Legacy series a lot of this will be familiar, there has been some great work done on expanding Wraith culture in the novels after Atlantis finished its run on television. The novel is a fun read, works well especially if you are familiar with the TV episode and novella (why wouldn't you be) and gives us a most satisfying conclusion.