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The Galactic Cold War #1

The Bayern Agenda

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A new Cold War threatens the galaxy, in this fast-paced and wisecracking thriller of spies and subterfuge.

Simon Kovalic, top intelligence operative for the Commonwealth of Independent Systems, is on the frontline of the burgeoning Cold War with the aggressive Illyrican Empire. He barely escapes his latest mission with a broken arm, and vital intel which points to the Empire cozying up to the Bayern Corporation: a planet-sized bank. There's no time to waste, but with Kovalic out of action, his undercover team is handed over to his ex-wife, Lt Commander Natalie Taylor. When Kovalic's boss is tipped off that the Imperium are ready and waiting, it's up to the wounded spy to rescue his team and complete the mission before they're all caught and executed.

File Under: Science Fiction [ Friendly Faces Traitor, Pilot, Banker, Spy Embassy Games Going in Hot ]

382 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 2019

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About the author

Dan Moren

11 books415 followers
Dan Moren is the author of the Galactic Cold War series of sci-fi spy novels, including The Nova Incident, The Aleph Extraction, and The Bayern Agenda, as well as The Caledonian Gambit. His work has also appeared in The Boston Globe, PopSci.com, Yahoo Tech, The Magazine, Tom's Guide, TidBITS, Six Colors, and Macworld, where he formerly worked as a senior editor.

Dan's also a regular panelist on the Parsec-award-winning geek culture podcast The Incomparable, co-host of tech podcasts Clockwise and The Rebound, and writer and host of the nerdy game show Inconceivable! He lives with his family in Somerville, MA, where he is never far from a twenty-sided die.

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175 (19%)
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 105 reviews
Profile Image for Anissa.
858 reviews257 followers
January 20, 2019
This had a bit of a slow start that while mildly interesting was more focused on making sure the reader knows that the characters have good banter and prior history. I didn't mind that but it seemed to almost eclipse the set up of the thing that, according to the title is the bigger deal: The Baryern Agenda also known as, the plot. For the first 20% or so there's nary a mention or seemingly any urgency by Kovalic, his ops team or handlers to do something, anything with the scant intel they got from the asset who was killed in the opening of the story. I was a more than a bit surprised that that great opener wasn't capitalized on.

Around chapter 16 things started to pick up with regard to the plot. The Interludes were most interesting and gave insight into Kovalic and his history and I found myself wishing there was more of that. Page and Ehrich were a couple of the more interesting characters here too. Much of the working out of the plot is haltingly laid out and related so ploddingly that when finally in chapter 21, a character asks "Does he (Kovalic) always talk in riddles like this?" I yelled at the book "YES and it's been annoying me too!". This confirmed the stalling tactic in the writing was a feature and not a bug and it did nothing to assure that what there was to come of the plot was going to be worth this ride.

The narration was mostly Omniscient Third but is constantly interspersed with the inner monologue of the Eli character when he's in a scene. It made for awkward reading. He's not the main character of the book blurb, Simon Kovalic, so it made me question why we needed to head hop into this guy's running thoughts and worse, it didn't improve the reading. I kept feeling like he was interrupting the story with his unnecessary prattling on and they weren't even hitting high on the wit meter. I mean, let him prattle on but don't make readers have to go with it. Why is the inside of his head so important here? Why not Simon, Page or Nat? It felt like one more thing to take up time instead of getting on with the story. Not fun. Really not fun.

Whilst reading I kept thinking about The Expanse books by James S.A. Corey and it was unfortunate because I was also reminded I'd found those characters and story pace was more enjoyable even without the densest plot. I think this book has the bones of a good story but it was too enamoured with its attempts at coolness it never bothers much to get into it. If the banter & Eli's inner monologues were cut by a third and the plot tightened up and given that third this could have been quite fantastic. Three stars because it felt more middling than just okay.

Many thanks to the publisher for the Advanced Reader Copy.
Profile Image for Rachel (TheShadesofOrange).
2,081 reviews2,939 followers
July 16, 2022
3.5 Stars
This was an enjoyable sci-fi novel set during an intergalactic war. I love a classic spy thriller so I enjoyed this one.

I do have a preference for grittier spy stories so I admit that the tone of this one was lighter than the stories I typically love. I wish there was more danger for our protagonist because I never really worried.

While this is a science fiction novel, I found this one to be very accessible. I would be comfortable to recommend this novel to sci fi newbies.

I would recommend this one to readers looking for a fun sci fi adventure.

Disclaimer I received a copy of this book from the publisher.
Profile Image for Harald Koch.
247 reviews3 followers
January 20, 2020
send a few covert agents on a simple mission - what could go wrong?

The total chaos that this book devolves into is inspiring. No plan ever survives contact with the enemy indeed!!

Someone described this as Le Carre meets the Stainless Steel Rat - and it’s not that far off.
Profile Image for Turrean.
903 reviews21 followers
August 28, 2019
The development of Kovalic from raw recruit to seasoned warrior through the flashbacks was so much fun to read, given what readers know of the character from Caledonian Gambit (the prequel.) There’s a delightful cast of spies, villains, traitors, reluctant heroes, and hapless bystanders. My personal favorite is a middle-management bureaucrat at the embassy, who spends her time rotating among feelings of frustrated despair, grudging respect, and appalled horror at the shenanigans of these extra-legal subversive “allies.”
Profile Image for Mary Soon Lee.
Author 88 books56 followers
July 4, 2020
This is the second novel in "The Galactic Cold War" series(*), a series that, indeed, features espionage in a science fiction future. As with the first book, the story switches between the perspective of Kovalic, a long-time operative, and Eli Brody, top-notch pilot, new to galactic intrigue. I found this a quick and thoroughly enjoyable read, but less all-absorbing than the opening book.

Spoilers ahead.

(*) Goodreads records the opening book, "The Caledonian Gambit," as Book 0 and this book as Book 1 -- maybe this is because there was a shift from one publisher to another, and the new publisher wanted their part of the series to begin with number one??

About my reviews: I try to review every book I read, including those that I don't end up enjoying. The reviews are not scholarly, but just indicate my reaction as a reader, reading being my addiction. I am miserly with 5-star reviews; 4 stars means I liked a book very much; 3 stars means I liked it; 2 stars means I didn't like it (though often the 2-star books are very popular with other readers and/or are by authors whose other work I've loved).
Profile Image for Ilia.
124 reviews
October 28, 2020
A fantasy book. About the late Cold War. But in space. But also taking place in New York (fire escapes and flat roofs) and Switzerland (a city inside a volcano that’s a financial center of the world). It’s ok. Not a single plot point is different compared to if it was set in the 70s. But it’s enjoyable. Read the whole thing. For those people who are addicted to SFF but also bored of it in a way. Like me :)
709 reviews4 followers
March 1, 2021
4.5. Another win for my wife and her choice of books for me. This had the right blend of everything, intrigue, firefights, character dev. Solid work all around.
Profile Image for Lukasz.
1,308 reviews209 followers
March 27, 2019

I greatly enjoy a mix of dramatic elements and high-tech, but I prefer books that focus more on characters than on scientific ideas. That makes Space Opera a perfect subgenre for me as it usually delivers a full package. And more, depending on the grandness of the vision and the focus of the story. 

The Bayern Agenda fits in the genre, but I wouldn’t call it a pure Space Opera (if such a thing exist). Consider it a sci-fi spy thriller, set against the backdrop of a galactic cold war between two rival superpowers: the Illyrican Empire and the Commonwealth of Independent Systems. The former conquered Earth and its colonies, but sacrificed too much to achieve this and had to pull back and defend its borders. The Commonwealth is less organised but powerful.  A stalemate can turn into war at any moment, affecting every planet in the galaxy, including the ones that have remained out of the fight.

The story follows Simon Kovalic, a covert operative for the Commonwealth, as he tries to understand the nature of the ties between Illyricans and the Bayern Corporation: a planet-sized bank. Because of unexpected events, his ex-wife, Lt Commander Natalie Taylor, has to take over his undercover team. 

While Bayern Agenda doesn’t answer all the questions a reader might ask, it delivers a strong, layered intrigue and good pacing. Subsequent reveals surprised me and I consider them clever. While Moren doesn’t focus on a world-building, he gives plenty of details concerning the galaxy, high-tech and travels through wormholes. He uses interludes and some info-dumps to clarify things and build backstories. As interesting as they were, they also slowed down the story in places.

And now, characters. We’ve got two main POVs: Kovalic, the veteran covert operative, and Eli Brody, a pilot who never wanted to become a spy. Where Kovalic is self-assured and confident, Eli is out of his element in the world of spies and political intrigue. He covers his insecurity with bravado and sarcasm. I liked him. His chapters are faster, more tension-charged and funnier.  

I think most secondary characters shine as well, especially Sarah M’Basa, a Commonwealth spy who resents other spies stomping all over her turf. Clearly, we have both protagonists and antagonists, but the story avoids simplistic divisions into good guys and bad guys. Each side of the conflict has good reasons to act the way they do and I appreciate it.

Bayern Agenda doesn’t contain much violence; it mentions disastrous battles and war casualties but never in a graphic way.  Instead, it focuses on building tension through clever twists and reveals.

That said, I felt detached from characters and their actions. I liked Eli, but I didn’t care about Kovalic or his mentor. As a result, I’ve finished the book mostly because I was interested in the plot, not because I deeply cared about the characters.

Bayern Agenda is well worth a shot, as it mixes genres, creates an interesting galactic history and focuses on a high-charged stalemate between two superpowers. I’m sure most readers will find characters more compelling than I did.

187 reviews2 followers
March 11, 2019
The first thing I'm going to say is that this book may be book one of the Galactic Cold War series, but it was preceded by another book (for a different publisher), The Caledonian Gambit, and that book does offer a lot of insight into the characters' motivations and relationships.

The Bayern Agenda is in my reckoning a notch better in terms of craftsmanship, put together a little tighter than its predecessor. It's basically a spy caper, in a universe that's a lot like ours, except that there are spaceships and multiple planets instead of countries. And one of the characters, who is written to be a wisecracker that annoys one of the other characters, is so good at that that he begins annoying this reader.

But it passed the ultimate test of any such entertaining caper book, in that it kept me up past a reasonable bedtime because I wanted to finish.
Profile Image for Ryne.
110 reviews
November 22, 2020
a combination of all maxims ever written

It's suppose to be 300+ years in the future but all of the stuff is overplayed ideas of the future.

I mean they are making fun of in flight announcements on a plane? Would that even be topical?
Profile Image for Paul.
708 reviews63 followers
March 18, 2019
The Commonwealth and the Illyrican Empire are, on paper at least, at peace. The truth however is far more complex. Factions within factions have distinctly different ideas about this uneasy truce. Simon Kovalic exists in the front line of an invisible war. He and his team of counter-intelligence agents are tasked with attempting to stop any plot from boiling over into the resumption of direct conflict.

It’s probably unsurprising to discover the Kovalic is a complicated soul. The political machinations he must try and navigate are not clear cut. There is no black or white, but multiple shades of grey. It means our hero has to try and constantly manage the bigger picture. There are instances where split-second decisions have huge ramifications and Kovalic is responsible for any fallout. In the field, Kovalic is a man of action and needs to try and foresee every eventuality. His actions don’t happen in isolation, there are always consequences. Afterwards though, when the dust has settled and there is the chance to reflect, you discover Kovalic is as a far more introspective character.

The rest of the Special Projects Team are exactly what you would expect from a group of spies. Tapper is the reliable, utterly unflappable, sergeant who will follow Kovalic to Hell and back (he’ll grumble about it constantly, but he’ll do it). Then there is Aaron Page, the very definition of taciturn. I guess that makes him a near perfect operative now that I think about it. Page is less of a team player and often fades into the background throughout the narrative. I rather like that. A spy should be able to be nondescript, blending seamlessly with their environment. Next up is Natalie Taylor, skilled expert in infiltration and ass kicking. As an added bonus she is Kovalic’s ex-wife. I think their relationship can best be described as “multi-layered”. The final member of the team is latest recruit to the SPT, a cocky ex-military pilot called Eli Brody. Uncertain, and untested in the field, this young man acts as the reader’s conduit to understanding the mechanics of interstellar espionage. I particularly liked how his character evolves over the course of the story. There is a nice balance between his growing confidence and his internal self-doubt. He’s not perfect, making it far easier to empathise when he does screw things up.

There is also a character called Harry Frayn who really stands out. Frayn works for the Illyrican Empire in a similar position to Kovalic and the back and forth between the two men is a highlight. From the way he is described I was picturing Frayn as part Oscar Wilde and part Harry Palmer. Kovalic’s counterpart is the quintessential gentleman spy, well educated, affable but with the suggestion of utter ruthlessness hiding just under the surface. It stands to reason that Kovalic is not the only expert in covert tradecraft. Frayn is a contemporary as well as a potential adversary. Both men have experienced war and are willing to bend the rules to ensure open conflict is avoided at all costs. You can sense there is an air of respect between these two. When they are up against one another it has become almost a game, like a couple of chess grandmasters continually trying to out manoeuvre one another.

For me, the mark of a good spy story is the plot must keep you on your toes. I don’t want anything too obvious, too heavily signposted. The Bayern Agenda achieves this in a couple of different ways. The majority of action takes place in a neutral location so both sides lose the home field advantage. Almost every character that is introduced has a shady past in one form or another. Kovalic has to tread lightly at every turn. There are allies and enemies everywhere. I can guarantee you’ll be asking yourself “Who can be trusted?” more than once. The constant air of uncertainty kept me engaged with the plot. It certainly makes for a more entertaining read when motivations are murky at best.

I was pleased to note The Bayern Agenda is the first book in a series. The adventures of Kovalic and his team drew me in from the very beginning. I’m a sucker for a good spy story and mixing some intergalactic conspiracy into the mix is an added bonus. Turns out the expansion of humanity to the stars just makes politics that much more complicated.

The Bayern Agenda, book one in The Galactic Cold War, is published by Angry Robot Books and is available now. If you’re looking for an action thriller with some nicely executed science fiction flourishes, then look you need look no further
Profile Image for Alison Scott.
73 reviews3 followers
February 9, 2022
I was interested to read this, although it's outside my normal reading scope, because Dan Moren is a witty and knowledgable commentator on all things Apple over at Six Colors.

The Bayern Agenda is the second In a series but mostly readable as a standalone. It's a competent, tightly plotted spy thriller set in colonised space where two superpowers are in a standoff. It's inhabited by a range of slightly noir spy thriller characters. Our viewpoint switches between two of these, both men, one battle-hardened and one green.

Although there are a lot of military SF trappings – knockout guns, jamming systems, repulsor rays and so on – none of them is ever used for anything that's not consistent with the same sorts of things in a mainstream novel. The characters also behave exactly as if they were in a modern, but slightly old-fashioned novel. I found this both disagreeable and implausible, and it interfered with my enjoyment of the book.

To give two tiny examples, in this novel set 400 years in the future, there is a scene in which one of our heroes is given some juice. It tastes bad, and he notes that the printed expiry date has passed. Consider how juice packaging worked in 1620, or even 1970. In another scene, the heroes make fun of airline safety announcements, near identical to current ones.

The entire novel is like this; a mainstream Cold War thriller where the scenery has been repainted with planets and spaceships for, well, no reason I can tell. People drive cars, they read books, they (occasionally) use tablet or wrist computers, they sit behind leather topped desks, they wear dress uniforms, jeans, and satin evening gowns, they keep guns in shoulder holsters. And so on and so forth. The wondrous setting of a city inside a volcano on a clearly Swiss-inflected planet that operates as a single massive bank is described, but none of the implications of that are ever explored on more than the most superficial level.

I conclude that this book is written for a target audience who likes space adventure stories but not any form of scientific extrapolation, alien behaviour or societal change. The space adventure itself is perfectly fine; there's back story, there’s incident and there are twists. The sort of twist that makes you go ‘ah, I wasn’t expecting that’, not the sort that requires you to reread several hundred pages to understand the thing you missed. And although this story is wound up quite satisfactorily, there's plenty of room for many more tales in the space.

For some readers all this, and the interplay between the characters, will be enough to overlook the lack of science fictional impact on the story. Others might question the value of reading a story of this kind in science fictional form at all.
Profile Image for Daniel.
2,382 reviews36 followers
September 11, 2020
This review originally published in Looking For a Good book. Rated 3.5 of 5

There's a saying (which most of us are familiar with) that there are two things which are inevitable ... death and taxes. If you were to add a third item to the list of 'inevitables' it might be that where two or more humans are gathered, there will be a cold war.

Simon Kovalic is a top intelligence agent for the Commonwealth of Independent Systems (ie: the good guys). There is a very hot Cold War going on with the very aggressive Illyrican Empire and Simon is right in the middle of it all.

Kovalic and another member of an infiltration team are rescued from a mission (Kovalic is injured and another team member was killed) and Kovalic is immediately assigned to a new mission. The Illyrican Empire, it seems, is working quite dilligently to make friends with the Bayern Corporation. The Bayern Corporation ... think "Swiss banks" on a planet-sized scale. If the Empire can get a foothold in the banking system they could easily bring the rest of the worlds to their proverbial knees.

Kovalics handler for this new mission is his ex-wife (Natalie Taylor) and the two may have a few things to work out still. But Natalie and Simon will need to trust one another, and Kovalics team will have to trust that the two can work together, when word gets to Natalie that the Empire is expecting and waiting for Kovalic's team.

This book starts out with an exciting space opera-style scenario. There's a clear mission, secrecy, and well-trained agents who, after everything goes awry and one agent is killed, manage to keep an entire squadron at bay until they can be rescued. It's fact and exciting and we get to know our primary character pretty well.

It's a great set-up, except ... it feels like much more than a character set-up - that the information they get here is going to be essential to some other part of the story, and that's just not true. This is too bad because tying it together better and not just using the opening scene to establish character, really could have pushed this to the next level.

I did enjoy this spy/thriller scifi book and I look forward to more adventures of Simon Kovalic, but I was definitely expecting something, based on the opening, that didn't follow through.

Looking for a good book? The Bayern Agenda by Dan Moren, is a good scifi thriller read, but don't be fooled by the opening scene ... the intensity of the action at the beginning will not be repeated.

I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher, through Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Realms & Robots.
196 reviews4 followers
June 2, 2019
The Bayern Agenda is an expertly written combination of science fiction and espionage thriller, filled with well-drawn characters and a story you won’t be able to stop reading. You’ll find all of the intrigue of a cold war spy novel, set amidst a galaxy on the brink of another massive war. Moren deserves high praise for mastering two complex genres simultaneously.

The premise of the novel is pretty straightforward. We follow a group of soldiers-turned-spies into potentially hostile territories to gain intel on an impending deal with galactic implications. It’s a brilliant mix of science fiction and spy fiction, pairing the wonders of foreign worlds and space travel with the intrigue and danger of covert operations. This is a highly skilled crew paired with a newbie. We see the story from multiple points of view which makes for a layered story. The progression is subtle, with tension building slowly as the primary mission is underway. Everything eventually falls apart, as expected from a great spy novel, and we get to follow along one nail-biting page at a time.

The world building is spot-on, giving us a version of the universe populated by two massive governments who are in a constant state of war. We get the violent history of the current societal structures from the perspective of the veteran commander’s early days in the armed forces. It’s a very interesting story when pieced together with the current events. The concept of Bayern itself is both intriguing and unsettling. This is a corporation whose headquarters is an entire planet, employing millions of people to manage trillions of dollars of business. It’s a beautiful planet, to be sure, but with the stakes so high, there’s some definite shade going on. Everything just seems a little off from the start, and it keeps you in a constant state of looking over your shoulder, wondering when the sky will come falling down.

Overall, I loved The Bayern Agenda for its mix of genres and its crew of compelling characters. Coupled with an interesting galactic history and a bevy of well-done settings, Moren has created a thrilling reading experience.

NOTE: I was provided a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for my honest, unbiased review.
Profile Image for Alan.
1,825 reviews12 followers
August 17, 2020
I am aware that there have been some who have compared the early entries in this series to le Carre's work. I have only one le Carre under my belt, so I'm not the best to say whether that is a valid comparison. What is fair to say is that Moren does a good job of showing both how ruthless the espionage game can be, and how far some governments will go to prop themselves up.

Prior to this Cold War the war had been a hot one between the Commonwealth and the Empire, with the Empire being extremely successful until two fateful battles went the Commonwealth's way. Now, working for a for a former high ranking Empire intelligence officer who has defected to the Commonwealth Simon, Tapper and Emil go about seeking the keep the war from going hot again.

Emil is the team's newest member coming in, partially, because of the death of their former pilot. Emil is kind of the mildly bungling new agent who just manages to pull things off for the better, and not the worse, this time around.

Bayern, is a commercial planet. If you're dealing in high stakes interstellar finance this is where you go, and why the Empire is sending high ranking officials there would be a big spoiler. Simon, initially on the periphery because of his being shot on the mission the book opens with, is replaced as team leader by his ex-wife (a very competent Naval Intelligence operative).

Some, including myself, might want a little more trade craft, and more characterization. As an initial entry in the series Moren does a pretty decent job, with this book being a little like a Connery Bond movie.

Profile Image for astaliegurec.
984 reviews
April 4, 2021
I picked up Dan Moren's 2019 novel "Galactic Cold War, Book 1: Bayern Agenda, The" simply because it was available in my library and the previous book I'd read by him ("Galactic Cold War, Book 0: Caledonian Gambit, The") was fine. Imagine my surprise when I immediately ran across all four of the main characters from that book and realized the events in the new book were occurring six months later in the same universe. It turns out that even though this book is specifically entitled as being the first in his "Galactic Cold War" series, it's actually the second. I have no idea why the series numbering doesn't reflect this except that it looks like he's changed publishers. So, be aware of that. Now that I'm aware of it, I've added the series name to the prequel with the number "0" (even though it was actually written first). Anyway, if you liked "The Caledonian Gambit," you should like this book as well. Again, pretty much the same characters in the same universe doing the same kind of space opera type things written in about the same way. I really have just two small nits that bother me a bit. First, the author adds a person into the team who obviously has a LOT of history with another team member. But, he really doesn't DO anything with that relationship. And second, he appears to have done something with another team member that isn't all that great. I'm hoping it's not what it appears to be since the circumstances surrounding the event would be interesting. Regardless, those are small issues, so I'm rating the book at a Pretty Good 3 stars out of 5.
178 reviews
October 11, 2021
It's been along time since I read a good spy novel, but this definitely made up for it. As Anthony Johnson commented on the cover "like John le Carré meets The Stainless Steel Rat ...", which aptly he describes this novel. For those not in the know John le Carré is the author of "Tinker, Taylor, Soldier, Spy" which is a novel about British intelligence. On the other hand "The Stainless Steel Rat" is a series by the late Harry Harrison that deals with the life of a professional criminal in the far future. Both are excellent authors and these series are definitely worth reading too.

However, back to the Bayern Agenda which deals with a cold war a few hundred years in the future and the clandestine operations of agents on both sides. So far there are only two books in the series, and I'm looking forward to reading the second one.

There is some political intrigue, some clandestine op rations, a fair bit of humor which always makes for a good story. The world building seems to be very well taken care of, and even though the standard tropes of faster than light travel (via wormhole), anti-gravity generators etc. are used Mr. Moran's universe is consistent, and believable.

Looking forward to reading the second book in the series.
Profile Image for Etienne.
7 reviews2 followers
March 27, 2019
I've been a lifelong fan of the science-fiction genre, and developed a taste for the more grounded and realistic variety of spy novels after discovering John le Carre in my 20s.

The Bayern Agenda combines the best of Le Carre's Cold War era spy novels with the galaxy-spanning conflict central to space opera. If anything, I would classify at as a spy novel that happens to be set against a science-fiction backdrop, with the action taking place several centuries in our future.

At its heart is a twisty plot by the Illyrican Empire to gain the upper hand in the eponymous Galactic Cold War by currying favour with the bankers on the planet Bayern (essentially, the Switzerland of this galaxy). Without saying much more, not all is as it seems, and the journey to get to the denouement is a proper page turner.

I would heartily read the next entry in the series as soon as it is available, and recommend it to anyone with even a passing interest in the spy-fi genre. Damn, Moren.

PS. If you like this book, check out the semi-prequel The Caledonian Gambit.
Profile Image for Josh Ferrara.
22 reviews
January 9, 2023
Wow. It’s been a long time since I’ve finished a novel in 24 hours, but this one left me no choice in the matter.

I suppose the biggest standout is the story. Full of interesting details, surprising turns, and moments that literally made me gasp out loud before I kept going. The chapters jump between the different scenes playing out in parallel while still keeping the pacing rapid and suspenseful. It left me wishing I could see this play out on a screen, but also wondering if it was even possible to give me more detail than I was already getting.

The character development is also incredible. The interludes flashing back to early developmental moments of our cast and their relationships was masterful.

The author is clearly not only a fan of the genre, but a skilled craftsman of it as well. Bravo.

Can't wait to dive into the next in the series, and secretly hoping there are more entries in progress!
Profile Image for Thomas.
1,973 reviews
June 15, 2020
Moren, Dan. The Bayern Agenda. Galactic Cold War No. 1. Angry Robot, 2019.
In a good spy story, there is usually an element of melancholy, because the agents often discover their own complicity in the evil they oppose. John le Carré is the master of this genre, and as several reviewers have noted, Dan Moren uses le Carré’s model to create his interstellar special-ops espionage team. If anything, the story is a bit too old school for its setting. There is an empire opposing a commonwealth, and even cold war is not an idea that fits well in a plausible interstellar future. Helicopters and other military gear also seem more near future than deep time. Even the medicine is not far from what we have now. But on a certain level, the story of the sadder-but-wiser agent still works, so the story is readable if you can suspend your disbelief.
Profile Image for Thomas.
1,973 reviews
June 15, 2020
Moren, Dan. The Bayern Agenda. Galactic Cold War No. 1. Angry Robot, 2019.
In a good spy story, there is usually an element of melancholy, because the agents often discover their own complicity in the evil they oppose. John le Carré is the master of this genre, and as several reviewers have noted, Dan Moren uses le Carré’s model to create his interstellar special-ops espionage team. If anything, the story is a bit too old school for its setting. There is an empire opposing a commonwealth, and even cold war is not an idea that fits well in a plausible interstellar future. Helicopters and other military gear also seem more near future than deep time. Even the medicine is not far from what we have now. But on a certain level, the story of the sadder-but-wiser agent still works, so the story is readable if you can suspend your disbelief.
Profile Image for Jo .
2,623 reviews48 followers
March 11, 2019
This kept me guessing until the end. This is book one in the Galactic Cold War series but Eli Brody and Simon Kovalic were featured in The Caledonian Gambit a previous book put out by another publisher. As a result there were some things in the world building and back story that must have been covered in the previous book. This is plain and simple a spy story and there is no one you can trust. The current cold war is in danger of heating up and Kovalic and team have a lot to discover to keep it from becoming a hot war. A really exciting read with characters who are neither all good or all bad but many shades of grey. Much like real life.

I received a free copy of the book in return for an honest review.
2 reviews
April 28, 2020
Cold War espionage in space makes a nice science fiction premise here. The emphasis is much more on the characters and the espionage than the space setting. While there are some tropes in this book (the badass female operative is the ex-wife of the commando leader, for example), the story moves along with excellent pacing, twisty plotting, good dialogue, and a nice balance between developing the characters and developing the plot. While billed as Book 1 of the Galactic Cold War series, this is actually Moren's second book in this universe, after The Caledonian Gambit. The Caledonian Gambit was good, but The Bayern Agenda improves on it in every respect. I'm looking forward to the next book in this series, The Aleph Extraction. Moren is an author to watch.
Profile Image for Dawn .
321 reviews3 followers
November 9, 2020
Dan Moren's The Bayern Agenda is, at its core, a spy thriller set in space; one that I enjoyed.

Mr. Moren's prose is pleasant: it is focused, accessible, and humorous; switching point of view narrative between his two protagonists, Simon Kovalic and Eli Brody, with an occasional "interlude" which tells the back story of Simon Kovalic from green private on the frontlines to premier spy. While the other characters are not as complex as Kovalic or Brody

The story starts with Kovalic's team's mission rapidly falling apart on Sevastapol, however it leads to a tip that sends the team to the Bayern Corporation (where of course everything that could go wrong, goes wrong).

This was a nicely paced, well-written enjoyable story.
Profile Image for John May.
152 reviews1 follower
February 1, 2021
Reading this, you spent a lot of time feeling like this is book 2, and it appears that it is in fact book 2, except the the first book is listed as Book #0 because it's from a different publisher. That said, it's fine, this is well done as a starting point but could have been edited a little more to feel less like a book 2.

Next, this is very light sci-fi. It's a spy book that's iiiiinnnn spaaaace: but it could be transplanted to modern earth with a very few changes to names and scenery. That's a little disappointing, I like the sci-fi world building to feel a bit less like 1990's Earth, or at least lean into it a little harder as to why everything feels like 1990's Earth. Anyway, the spy story is good, and the characters are fun, and that's what I'm here for. Call it 3 1/2 stars.
Profile Image for Harry.
446 reviews2 followers
February 9, 2021
The title makes it sound like a book from Robert Ludlum. In a way it is, just set in space several hundred years in the future. As a cold war spy novel, Bayern could double as Switzerland with the Illyrican Empire being Russia and the Commonwealth being the U.S. The characters are well developed with witty repartee between them as they encounter the most harrowing situations. This is especially true of the pilot, Elijah Brody.
I felt the plot development, or lack thereof, of Aaron Page was ill conceived. He was clearly one of the most valuable members of the team, and he was personally consulted by the general before anyone else. Yet he disappears for most of the book only to discovered as a traitor at its end.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Vinay Badri.
684 reviews38 followers
September 23, 2019
A solid 3.5 starrer

The Bayern Agenda is a traditional spy and behind enemy lines story except set in a SF setting of 2 warring confederacies. There is enough intrigue, espionage and thrills in the book to keep the pace going. It’s one of those almost traditional books that’s not grim dark or violent but has characters that are charming and dedicated with a bunch of history amongst them. There’s an almost lived in quality among the characters and a comfort level that works. A good easy read, there’s something very comforting about this.
Profile Image for Gordon.
257 reviews1 follower
May 23, 2023
Strange book. It was a pretty straightforward spy-come-action novel in a cold war type of setting. But its also a sci-fi book that is really not very sci-fi - sure there are spaceships (used a little) and a zap-stun gun, but apart from that the environment is very contemporary - stairs, cars, bullets, drinks, crappy telecom, nothing that screams "future" and it could just as easily have been a starting script for a Mission Impossible movie. Although I doubt an MI movie would have such a down-to-earth finance-based plot driver as this model had.

Characters are pretty interesting, one developed with some flashbacks (and maybe the anti-hero protagonist), one the innocent boy, the other the spooky spymaster and everyone else sketched as little as an extra needs to be.

Will queue up the next in the series, but hoping for more spazazz and searing white future.
Profile Image for Robert.
5 reviews
March 5, 2019
Moren's first book, "The Caledonian Gambit", was one of the best books I read in 2017. Turns out it's just the prologue to a new series – book 1 of which is "The Bayern Agenda", and which manages to be even better.

Moren's conversational style of writing is gripping and entertaining. He manages to create compelling characters and construct a world full of intrigue. The plot is entertaining and fast-moving – carrying the reader along.
Profile Image for Logan Robertson.
12 reviews5 followers
October 15, 2019
This is a solid spy novel with sci-fi themes just for fun. Nice balance between plot and characterization. Plays lightly with themes of capitalism, warfare, democracy, loyalty and friendship. I enjoyed it and intend to read the upcoming sequel.

(I also read the previous book, “The Caledonian Gambit.” This book is superior to that one and can be read independently. I fact, that is how I would recommend they be read.)
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