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Review: Tom Clancy’s The Division: Recruited by Thomas Parrott

Once again I would like to thank Aconyte for granting me access to this ARC for a fair and honest review. A growing name in publishing tie-in fiction, I am beginning to wonder if they can actually do anything not to perfection! I would say it is a problem, but it is the exact opposite. Being an adult brings with it adult responsibilities and you find you can’t always sit down to play a good board game, video game or set up a RPG be it table top or otherwise but there is always time to fit in a quick chapter or two and the folks at Aconyte and their writers just keep on delivering.

The latest to join the roster of growing fiction is Tom Clancy’s The Division: Recruited.  Those who know the game can guess what they are in for, it certainly isn’t going to be happy and comforting. There will be tension, there will be death, there will be violence. It’s part of the post-apocalyptic staple. It’s something that comes along with the territory and it’s something that Thomas Parrott does fantastically.

The first thing I adored was the main premise of the novel. A newly recruited, albeit untrained in Division’s ways, agent is integral in preventing a nefarious plot from ripping The Division apart.

As we see from the synopsis Maria Kanhai has had enough. Since the Green Poison epidemic hit DC, her Cybersecurity Degree is worthless, she can’t rejoin the US Navy, and her early efforts to secure Maryland led to a costly mistake: the death of her brother. Every day is becoming a battle as new factions emerge trying to burn her city and any survivors to the ground. Until The Division arrives, inspiring hope. When one of the agents is brought down by a grenade, Maria suddenly has a chance to make a real difference as a raw new Division recruit. If she passes the tests and on top of this overcome the enemies plotting to permanently see the end of the Division once and for all.

When we meet Maria Kanhai. She is doing her best to try and survive and help others in this new post-apocalyptic world. Already suffering from survivor guilt and the wrath of people looking to point blame anywhere but themselves she is trying to get by. Only the somewhat safety that her community have secured is a fragile thing at best and with increasing risks from raids and supplies running low it falls to Maria, the unofficial second in command, to try and come up with a plan. But as with everything in the Division world it’s never easy or clear cut. Before any plan can be actioned the community comes under attack and takes a large hit. If it weren’t for several Division agents the whole community would have been lost. Seeing a chance to provide some real help to the new world and see much needed supplies reach her community Maria offers to join the ranks of the Agents on their mission.

From the very first chapter we are made aware of how unforgiving the world has become and how every day is a fight for survival. Parrott masterfully weaves tension and action together, capturing the true nature of the game. As the story advances we begin to see our protagonists begin to face near impossible odds, when you consider there are just three agents, one a new recruit, facing down several well armed and very nearly mad opponents. I often hate spoilers due to wanting people to experience the twists and turns firsthand. But I have to say that it takes a very good author to make you become invested in characters you’ve only just met. Needless to say the characters who do not make it do leave an impression be it good or bad and fit the universe setting perfectly.

The story is fast-paced but well thought out, that is to say you aren’t just dragged from fight to fight. You are kept wondering who or what is targeting the Division. The characterisation and characters are wonderful. Each having a brilliant balance of flaws and virtues. Peppered between the action and tension there are moments where we see the weakness and ‘human’ side of the elite agents. This is a side that is a little lacking in the game since while you can play with friends and online there isn’t much element of roleplay or character building in that sense. This, I feel, is what sets this book apart. We don’t just see special agents taking down the bad guys, we see the weakness of those agents, we see the softer side, we see how the epidemic changes them and sometimes not for the better and to me that was and is fantastic.

Most definitely a must read for fans of The Division games but also could easily be a stepping stone into the universe and games or to someone who just enjoys a good post-apocalyptic read. I have to say it reignited my love for the game  and thankfully I managed to convince a few friends to load it up too. I really hope more titles are released in this series in the future.

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