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MJ-12: Inception

(MAJESTIC-12 #1)

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  199 ratings  ·  45 reviews
A team of superhuman covert operatives emerges from the ashes of World War II in a Cold War-era paranormal espionage thriller from acclaimed genre-bender Michael J. Martinez.

It is a new world, stunned by the horrors that linger in the aftermath of total war. The United States and Soviet Union are squaring off in a different kind of conflict, one that’s fought in the shado
Hardcover, 344 pages
Published September 6th 2016 by Night Shade
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Average rating 3.99  · 
Rating details
 ·  199 ratings  ·  45 reviews

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Chris Berko
Jan 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Let me tell you how much I loved this book.
I was hankering for a spy/espionage story and was looking at old Tom Clancy (whom I have never read) and Robert Ludlum books for something to get into when I saw a review my Goodreads friend Hanzel wrote for this, raving about it, and it colored me intrigued. I bought it, read it, and thought of doing little else entertainment-wise until I just finished it. The whole X-men meets Mission Impossible thing led me to believe it was going to be a little bit
Jan 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A book about powered individuals (called a Variant in the US), the twist no super heroics, no rejoicing, no parades, everything is done secretly even the Variants live their lives mundanely(although most of their time were used for training), the time, after world war II, and the onset of the cold war between the USA and USSR (for the new generation, USSR meant Union of Soviet Socialist Republic, the only country in my opinion that gave Uncle Sam a run for his own money).

This one reads like a sp
Michael Underwood
“X-Men meets Mission: Impossible. Martinez takes a concept as simple as ‘Super spies that are actually super’ and comes away with a hit. Filled with compelling, well-rounded characters, MJ-12 is my new favorite spy series.”
—Michael R. Underwood, author of Geekomancy and the Genrenauts series
Luther Siler
May 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016, 2016-poc-women
I have gone on the record twice as being a big fan of the work of Michael J. Martinez. I have read all three of his previous books from his Daedalus trilogy, and I loved the latter two enough to rave about them on my blog. In the third one, he was kind enough to mention me in the afterword. I’ve never met the guy, but we interact occasionally on Twitter. He is my favorite current, working adventure writer. I have no idea if he’s noticed my books or not.

Well, one way or the other, I lucked into
Beth Cato
May 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016, suspense, superhero
The Cold War becomes even more chilling as super-powered Americans are trained to become super-spies in Martinez's new alternate-history thriller. It's morally-complex, intense, and so steeped in the 1940s, you can smell the cigarette smoke.
 Reading Reindeer
Review: MJ-12: INCEPTION
by Michael Martinez

I am so excited that MJ-12: INCEPTION is the first in a new series by author Michael Martinez. This novel is totally engrossing, and will appeal to any readers who love science fiction, history, conspiracy theories, espionage thrillers, and riveting writing with well-delineated characters and heart-in-mouth suspense. Back in 1945, at the U.S. Atomic bombing of Hiroshima, Japan, an anomaly was “created,” directly below the atmosphere point at which the b
Bianca Scharff
Jun 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was great. While reading all I could think was this is X men for grown-ups but don't ever say that around an X men fan because they will school you on X-men and how serious it can be. Otherwise still great, the powers this group of chosen people have are unique and interesting. Especially as you read on and watch those powers develop showcasing how even the powers you thought to be the weakest can actually turn out to be the stronger more scary powers. This book kept me reading until t ...more
Jul 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
MJ-12: Inception is the first novel in an early Atomic Age, paranormal spy series by Michael J. Martinez, author of the Daedalus series. It opens with a devastating post WWII situation during a routine night patrol in the American sector of Berlin. Only Lieutenant Frank Lodge survives the ambush, but he emerges changed. A few months later in Hiroshima, U.S. Navy Lt. Danny Wallace investigates an anomaly given top secret priority. In the tunnels below the wreckage of a hospital, Wallace discovers ...more
Jul 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
MJ-12 Inception is an ambitious fantasy spy-fi novel set during the early years of the Cold War. Normally I’m a bit leery of stories where the characters have super-powers. I believe that authors have to make a good justification for the existence of unusual powers. Michael J Martinez exceeded my expectations, by not only making an unusual and well-done argument, but also by leading readers to believe that there may be an ultimate cost related to the event that transformed these distinct individ ...more
Erik Dreiling
Dec 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
This was an exceptional start into a new series. "MJ-12: Inception" is a story that isn't confined to just one genre; it had shades of a traditional spy thriller, mixed with superpowered people designated Variants, and it's all set against the backdrop of the early days of the Cold War.

The characters were written sharply, I even found myself rooting for the troublesome Ellis Longstreet towards the end of the book. If I were to pick a favorite character, I would have to go with Cal Hooks. His ch
Fresno Bob
Nov 27, 2016 rated it liked it
fast-paced alt history with "people with powers", if you like "Declare" by Tim Powers, or "The Milkweed Triptich" by Ian Tregellis, you'll like this. If you liked this, you should read those!
Jeffrey Grant
May 24, 2020 rated it liked it
I felt this was an interesting different take on the superhero story. Setting it in the aftermath of World War 2, and tying it in to a number of real-world conspiracy theories added a bit of an extra twist that set it apart from some other superhero-themed stories.

The characters were fully rounded people as well; most of them weren't really defined by their superpower, except in cases of all-encompassing powers where it makes sense that it would sort of override or alter their personality. They
Karen Ford
Mar 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
It's been my experience that the first book in a series should hold your interest as well as introducing the cast of characters, and this inaugural novel managed to do both. A mysterious force, found by both the Americans and the Nazis (then stolen by the Russians), is sending out periodical bursts of energy that is transforming certain humans into X-Men like metahumans, each of them with a different power. The U.S. locates some of these enhanced humans and quarters them at Area 51, training the ...more
Tyler Johnson
Danny, a smart, nice guy is watching certain people. People he believes have powers. With the people he recruits along side of him, they encounter a life-threatening situation. Along side with Frank, who is a soldier that falls into the hands of a Nazi scientist who is performing an experiment that will be world-changing. During this event, Frank is changed… he is able to “absorb” the knowledge and skills of someone he touches when they die. And he’s not the only one… a powerful surge of energy ...more
Jack Stubblefield
Jan 27, 2020 rated it liked it
This was book was a lot of exposition. It's an origin story and I understand that I truly do. At the same time, it became pretty obvious that this is the first part of a trilogy. So, I'm assuming that #2 in the series will pick up the action a bit more. It's not poorly written. The characters are interesting and 'real.' It's a bit of a slow burn and didn't pick up the pace until the final 1/3rd of the book. I'm looking forward to #2 and hoping that it picks up (pace-wise) from where the first bo ...more
Excellent spycraft and it gave me a lot to think about in regards to writing alt history. Obviously this is extremely well researched, and with intermittent "reports," it feels authentic in the way alternate history should.

Maggie easily stands out as my favorite character, and I think she has some of the most interesting development, but Frank, Danny, and Cal are all great and I can't wait to see what happens in the next installment of this series.
Dare Talvitie
Sep 18, 2020 rated it liked it
Even though MJ-12: Inception wasn't a long book, it still took too long to get going. The last third or so I really enjoyed, but the parts before that were treading over familiar ground, a superhero/spy origin story that felt completely done to death.

Still, the end was good, the previously low stakes felt properly raised. If I could trust the story to keep up the pace it achieved, I'd probably be getting the sequels in a heartbeat.
Feb 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book is just plain fun. A great cast of characters, a very interesting set of superhuman abilities, set against the backdrop of Cold War spy games. The best part, in my opinion, is how well the author satisfactorily ends this story while setting things up perfectly for later books in the series. Looking forward to future Variant adventures!
Perry K
Jul 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A fun and entertaining read about an alternate cold-war history with powered individuals. The premise was believable, the characters varied and faithful to their roles and personalities, and the powers were unique and entertaining. I look forward to the next installment in this series.

Disclosure- The author was kind enough to let me read and advanced reading copy. Thank you sir!
Alex Jackl
This was okay and had some interesting ideas

I think this wasn't a bad book but I didn't like it so much. I thought h t the characters were relatively interesting and I think Martinez did a good job in painting the post-WWII world. I usually love super-hero stories but th I s left me a little cold. Can't say exactly why.
Apr 28, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Although I enjoyed the premise and some of the writing, the persistent lack of period accurate research for vocabulary, attitudes, and just plain facts defeated any interest in this book, series, and author.

It’s disappointing as almost all of the errors could have been resolved by some minimal googling.
Danny Pearman
Jan 12, 2020 rated it liked it
This was something a little different to the usual stuff I read. Not going to say I didn't enjoy it because I did, although, I found the characters a touch on the flat side, the main plot was enjoyable but seemed to feel a little rushed at the end. I will read the second one to this trilogy but its not at the top of my reading list at this point.
John R. Dailey Jr.

Hello, this is a really, really great story. The writing was excellent and very entertaining to read. I really like stuff that goes back to the OSS days and the Nazis. Damn fine stuff. Thanks.
John Adams
Essentially an alternate take on the X-Men, set in the late 40s. Reasonably fun, though the prose and characterization are unexceptional and the plot (and the ideas underlying it) don't cover any unexpected ground.
Mar 03, 2019 rated it liked it
Slow book. Last 100 pages pick up a bit. Not sure if I cared at that point. I doubt I will read any more in this series. Characters are decent. X-men plus spy thriller just sounds like it's a can't miss idea, but this is not quite what I expected.
Sep 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Wow. Great start to a new series. Spy thriller meets the X-Men. Definitely looking forward to the sequel.
James Ellis
3.5 stars

Post-World-War-II superhero/spy fiction in the vein of the RPG Godlike or the Milkweed Triptych. Engaging characters and interesting plot.
Oct 22, 2017 rated it liked it
This was a fine book--somewhat interesting premise, somewhat good characterization. It certainly sets up what could be a long series.
Jun 01, 2018 rated it liked it
Heavily grounded in the aftermath of WWII, for better or worse.
Jul 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
Intriguing take on the Cold War spy genre.
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I’m a husband, father and writer living the dream in the Garden State. I’ve spent nearly 20 years as a professional writer and journalist, including stints at The Associated Press and After telling other people’s stories for the bulk of my career, I’m happy that I can now be telling a few of my own creation.

When not being a husband, parent or writer, I enjoy beer and homebrewing, cook

Other books in the series

MAJESTIC-12 (3 books)
  • MJ-12: Shadows (MAJESTIC-12 #2)
  • MJ-12: Endgame (MAJESTIC-12 #3)

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