Dan Moren’s second novel The Bayern Agenda shares a world and key characters with his debut The Caledonian Gambit (2017). Publishers Weekly calls his new effort “a frenzied story full of bold spycraft and exciting ground and air chases… suspenseful space opera.” In her feature review at the Barnes & Noble Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog, Emily Wenstrom finds lots to enjoy.
Whether you’ve read that earlier book or not, you’ll certainly enjoy this one, provided “fast-paced, high-action space opera with a spy adventure bent” sounds like your jam; think Star Trek meets Mission: Impossible.
In many ways, the plot hits all the familiar genre beats — active wormholes, intriguing planets, intense face-offs, and a few twists along the way — but set against the backdrop of a satisfyingly built world, it offers plenty to enjoy even if you think you’ve read this sort of thing before. The action takes place during the cold war that gives the series its name, and the complex history of tensions between its two opposing forces, the Illyrican Empire and the Commonwealth of Independent Systems, lends the caper at the novel’s center a fair bit of weight — both sides of the conflict being more than ready to instigate a new wave of aggression at the first sign of trouble.
And as to that caper: Simon Kovalic is a seasoned Commonwealth intelligence agent with deep experience in the field and the psychological damage to go with it… During a mission gone awry that opens the novel, Kovalic obtains intelligence that suggests that the Empire is making some sort of move involving the massive Bayern Corporation, a planet-sized bank. Figuring out what’s going on and why is crucial: with the capital Bayern could provide, the Illyricans could seriously upset the balance of power in the system… though the novel does leverage a few familiar science fiction adventure tropes, it puts them to economical use, moving us quickly into the action. Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to enjoy a fast, fun high-concept romp.
The Bayern Agenda is Book One of The Galactic Cold War, which sounds very promising. It was published by Angry Robot on March 5, 2019 It is 384 pages, priced at $12.99 in trade paperback, and $9.99 for the digital edition. The cover is by Amazing15. Read the complete first chapter (21 pages) here.