Mercury Hale is your average ordinary guy. His loves in life include Cowboy Bebop, Star Wars, and pepperoni pizza. And his job is killing monsters from another dimension. Life is simple—just the way he likes it.
Except things aren’t so simple anymore. More of them are coming. They’re attacking at times and places they never have before. And Mercury may not know as much about his employers (and himself) as he thought…
Move over, marvel, there’s a new team in town.
Move over, Marvel, there’s a new team in town.
Having read The Echo Watch, I had very high hopes for Mercury On Guard. The book did not disappoint. It’s an action-packed roller coaster ride to be enjoyed by all ages. The opening line was a hilarious instant hook, and I found the protagonist immediately likable. Mercury Hale is a rough-around-the-edges hero who literally just wants to kill monsters, collect his paycheck, and go home. His cynical, often jaded commentary was artfully juxtaposed with moments of extreme peril to give the story a humorous edge.
The story uses key pieces of Lovecraftian horror and repurposes them for a superhero-style action setting with a “Narnian” twist. The astral fiend monsters are a scary, dangerous presence without being gratuitously horrific. The plot did feel a bit rushed at times, but new twists were inserted at all the right moments. I found the world-building artfully imaginative. As in his other works, Mr Rzasa explores classic sci-fi tropes in original ways, providing a fantastical atmosphere that nonetheless remains biblically grounded in the tradition of Lewis and Tolkien.
While the story can be understood on its own, the book is sprinkled with references to many of the author’s other books (I’ve only read The Echo Watch, and I was already geeking out). I found it particular cool that Dominic Zein and Mercury Hale are part of the same fictional universe.
I also enjoyed seeing another side to a character—Loredana Lark—who first appears in The Echo Watch. Her relationship with Mercury provided an additional layer of chemistry and was fun to follow. We also learn a great deal more about the origins and mission of the Procyon Foundation, which provides the key mystery in the book.
The book explores a larger theme of family and belonging
In the midst of all this, the book explores a larger theme of family and belonging. Mercury himself is an orphan, with his key weaknesses being alienation and rootlessness. He is on a reluctant journey towards faith, and is urged along this path by various Christian characters. His moral choice ultimately hinges on where he truly belongs. At one point, this verse is directly referenced: “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” It is further illustrated through the events of the story and the characters’ actions.
I would recommend Mercury on Guard to anyone looking for a comic book-style action thriller incorporating a biblical worldview. I give this book an easy five stars. I’m rather keen to explore the rest of Mr Rzasa’s universe.
Heat: Strong element of romance, but no sexual content.
Profanity: None. There is one instance where a character makes an obscene gesture.
Violence: Some action-oriented violence.
Genre: Adult Christian Science Fantasy
Age recommendation: 11 and up.
Availability: This book is available on Amazon.