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Literature / Reflexive Fire

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An assassin who is in over his head. A cabal that wants him to lead a secret army. A conspiracy decades in the making.

Released in 2011, Reflexive Fire is a novel that chronicles the adventures of a former soldier known only as Deckard. It is written by Jack Murphy, a relative newcomer to the military fiction scene, this being his first officially published novel. Deckard is a man possessed of unique talents gained from a lifetime of service in various speecial operations forces within the United States Army. He was eventually headhunted by the CIA for their paramilitary black ops unit, the Special Activities Division, but due to a Noodle Incident he parted ways and continued his soldiering career as a mercenary and assassin.

One day, a call comes in from one of his old contacts with a lucrative and risky job offer. Deckard is given the cover identity Jake O'Brien and tasked with meeting a group of the most powerful men in the world for a single purpose: to train a mercenary unit and be prepared to lead them into combat at a later date. Naturally, such an open-ended assignment invites suspicion and Deckard races against time to uncover the truth behind his employers' intentions. What he finds could lead to the End of the World as We Know It.


Reflexive Fire contains examples of:

  • All Myths Are True: Pretty much any organization that is famously associated with conspiracy theories is, in fact, part of the Ancient Conspiracy mentioned below. Justified because there are only a few key architects in the conspiracy and they all sit in on the Council of Foreign Relations, the Bilderberg Group, the Trilateral Commission, and the Bohemian Club at the same time.
  • Ancient Conspiracy: The Order of the Black Sun.
  • Battleship Raid: The climactic final battle takes place upon a supersized cruise liner that is essentially a self-contained community.
  • Bookends: Both the beginning and ending of the book involve Deckard killing someone with a garrote hidden on his wrist.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Special Security Solutions.
  • Elites Are More Glamorous: The character sheet reads like a laundry list of the world's premiere special operations forces, between Rangers, Special Forces, SEALs, Delta Force, Force Recon, GSG-9, the SAS, the Parachute Regiment, the 2nd Foreign Parachute Regiment, and GROM.
  • Advertisement:
  • Gun Porn: Murphy used to be a columnist on Kit Up, a blog about military equipment on, and it shows in the lovingly detailed armory of Samruk International.
  • Kill 'Em All: Don't get too attached, even to people with a name. By the end, they are all dead.
  • Private Military Contractors: Deckard, from the freelance side, and Samruk International, the company he helps train. Several other PMCs are mentioned and encountered as opposing forces later on.
  • Shown Their Work: Murphy is a former Ranger himself, as well as a Green Beret, and brings his knowledge of special operations to the table.
  • The Singularity: Revealed to be the ultimate goal of the Order of the Black Sun, an Orwellian society where the elite control the masses, who will eventually be replaced as automation becomes a reality and increases in computing power theoretically allow the future to be predicted, among other things.
  • Technology Porn: Not as pronounced as the Gun Porn but some cutting edge military technologies get name dropped including the F-22 Raptor and two Zumwalt class destroyers (only three are planned for production, two of which are currently being built) armed with railguns that the U.S. Navy hasn't even finished developing yetnote .
  • 20 Minutes into the Future
  • Two-Fisted Tales: With the added benefit of highly realistic military action.
  • We Can Rule Together: The villain offers Deckard one final chance to join him at the very end.