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If you’ve played any of the Halo games, I highly recommend the Halo books. They aren’t going to go down in the annals of history as great literature, but they’ve got to be at the top of the list for books based on a video game franchise.

This is the sixth book in the Halo franchise.  One of the books is just a retelling of the first Halo video game, but the rest fill in the gaps between or before the video games.  Bungie has created a rich and engaging universe full of interesting characters, alien races, technology and stories that the books explore.

Halo: The Cole Protocol comes after Contact Harvest and before The Fall of Reach, which is also before the first Halo video game.

If you are not familiar with the Halo universe, you probably don’t want to start here. Play one of the video games or read Contact Harvest and the Fall of Reach first.  Buckell doesn’t spend a lot of time filling the reader in on what everything is. He assumes you have a working knowledge of Halo.  It leaves him room to fill in a lot of details about relations within the Covenant.  If you don’t know what the Covenant is, it’s probably time to go play your first Halo video game. I don’t think I’ll fill in those detail right now either.

Halo fans won’t be disappointed by this book.  Jacob Keyes makes an appearance and a name for himself with a number of daring missions.  A deep cover team of Spartans find themselves fighting for Human Insurrectionists that they typically fight against. Not to mention hoards of Grunts, Jackals, and the first recorded Spartan and Elite fight.

The book started out with two plots. One involving a group of humans that somehow formed an alliance with Jackals. The other involved Jacob Keyes.  It was pretty obvious the two were going to come together in the end.  However, Buckell did a fine job introducing two or three other plot lines, intertwining them, and sorting them all out in the end.

The last hundred pages of the book raced by.  Battles were fought, twists were turned, and some hard situations had to be navigated.  I was pretty pleased with the way it turned out.  You can tell the Humans are fighting a losing battle at this point and are on the run. The Pyrrhic victory they earn here fit perfectly within the milieu.

If you like Halo, definitely give this and the other Halo books a read.

3 stars – see the book rating explanation here