The Desert and Acheron by Bryon Morrigan

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The Desert and Acheron are novels by Bryon Morrigan. Both are set in Iraq and feature soldiers from the United States Army in combat against other-dimensional creatures shrouded in a strange green fog.

The Desert, originally published in 2007 by Dark Hart Press and re-issued in 2011 by Permuted Press, strands an intelligence specialist and his commander in an abandoned village, where the soldiers discover a diary written by the (apparent) last surviving member of an expeditionary platoon that disappeared six years prior. The men quickly find themselves in a situation similar to that described in the diary: under attack by inhuman monsters existing in their dimension and ours simultaneously, surrounded by a green mist that allows  the soldiers to see the monsters and, more importantly, the monsters to see and attack the soldiers. The first half of the book is primarily concerned with the text of the found diary and bringing the current-day characters up to the point where the diary ends, while the second introduces a third main character and culminates in a dramatic escape attempt.

 

Acheron, published for the first time in 2011 by Permuted, pits an Army captain against the same sort of creatures seen in The Desert, though with different names given them by different characters. Whereas the captain in the first novel is a coward and an idiot, Acheron‘s protagonist is an officer more deserving of the reader’s respect, though Nate Leathers is certainly capable of making his share of mistakes with disastrous consequences. Where the first book is pretty much Three Dudes vs Some Monsters, the second includes a cast of supporting characters, including some Bible-thumping mercenaries, a group of Iraqi civilians the surviving members of an archeological dig. Acheron is technically not a sequel to The Desert and both books are satisfying read out of order or by themselves, though events at the end of Acheron place it as occuring after The Desert.

Morrigan’s a former Army intelligence soldier, so both books are devoid of even slight inaccuracies that can annoy readers who know better. Though both books deal with the same subject matter (monsters, mist, Iraq), there are enough differences to make both books enjoyable even when read back to back. While after digesting most of the second book, I figured I’d certainly read more Morrigan, but that a third Iraq/monsters/mist book would be beating a dead horse, the end of Acheron ends in such a way that a third book in the series seems both inevitable and anticipated.

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