Today, this column is featuring the first of a three-part interview with author Allan Yoskowitz, co-author of the new book Codename: Winterborn, a science fiction novel that has some surprisingly religious twists to it.
Q: So, what is Codename: Winterborn about?
AY: About 280 pages. [Laughs]. In 2090, there's a small nuclear war. It's not Terminator, the planet loses only around two billion people. The book is set three years later, during a mission to seek out the nuclear missile of the Islamic Republic of France. The mission is screwed over by a group of senators who tell the French everything. The last man standing is Kevin Anderson, the team leader, and a former SEAL.
Q: Sounds like your standard revenge novel.
AY: To start with, it looks like it. But Codname: Winterborn is different. Science fiction espionage collides with philosophy and politics. There are actual consequences. Swearing revenge might make you feel better, but what happens when politicians are the one you need to kill? When does vengeance stop being a personal vendetta, and becomes a duty? Can you kill people who need to die, saving those who will come after you, even though you know that your life is over? In the case of Kevin Anderson, he knows what he has to do, and he has the will -- but does he have the ability? And even if he survives, what happens next?
Q: Where does religion start to enter into this?
AY: From page one … okay, more like chapter one. To refer back to your last question, what separates Codname: Winterborn from your standard revenge novel is that Kevin Anderson is not a killing machine. He's deeply religious, goes to church on Sunday, and even has good reasons for doing what he does. Even the “revenge” aspects are deep-seated into the Catholic philosophy of natural law, which includes the premise of “tyrannicide” – a fancy way of discussing if assassinating a tyrant is morally acceptable. Kevin isn't a cardboard cutout, he's a deeply religious person, and a deep thinker. And, sometimes, he thinks his targets (almost) to death.
We won't even go into the priests riding to the rescue.