Red Metal

Red Metal is a military thriller novel, written by Mark Greaney and Rip Rawlings and released on July 16, 2019. In the book, marine Lieutenant Colonel Dan Connolley and army Major Bob Griggs act to halt a Russian takeover of a Rare-earth metal mine in East Africa. Red Metal is Greaney’s first stand-alone novel and is Rawlings' debut novel. The book debuted on the New York Times, USA Today and Amazon bestseller's lists.[1][2][3]


United States military

  • Colonel Ken Caster (USMC): Commander, Regimental Combat Team 5
  • Lieutenant Darnell Chandler (U.S. Army): Assistant maintenance officer, 37th Armored Regiment
  • Lieutenant Colonel Dan Connolly (USMC): infantry officer, assigned to the Pentagon. Former commander of 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marines; former platoon commander with 3/5
  • Commander Diana DelVecchio (U.S. Navy): Captain, USS John Warner (SSN-785)
  • Lieutenant Sandra “Glitter” Glisson (U.S. Army): Apache pilot
  • Lieutenant Colonel Tom Grant (U.S. Army): tank logistics and maintenance officer; interim commander, 37th Armored Regiment, deployed to Grafenwöhr, Germany
  • Major Bob Griggs (U.S. Army): Infantry and Ranger officer; Army infantryman, Ranger tab; on assignment to the Joint Staff Office for Strategy, Plans & Policy (J5).
  • Lieutenant Colonel Eric McHale (USMC): Operations officer, RCT-5. Moody AFB “Flying Tigers”—On deployment to Germany and stationed at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany
  • Captain Brad Spillane (U.S. Army): Interim operations officer, 37th Armored Regiment
  • Captain Raymond “Shank” Vance (USAF): A-10 pilot

The Russians

  • Colonel Yuri Vladimirovich Borbikov: Russian Federation special forces commander
  • Colonel Danilo Dryagin: Russian Federation infantry commander
  • Captain Georg Etush: Submarine commander, Kazan (K-561)
  • Colonel Dmitry Kir: Chief of staff and de facto chief of operations for Colonel General Boris Lazar
  • Colonel General Boris Lazar: Russian Federation colonel general
  • President Anatoly Rivkin: President of the Russian Federation
  • Colonel General Eduard Sabaneyev: Russian Federation colonel general
  • Colonel Feliks Smirnov: Deputy commanding officer to Colonel General Sabaneyev
  • Colonel Ivan Zolotov: Russian Air Force Su-57 pilot, Red Talon Squadron

NATO characters

  • Captain Apollo Arc-Blanchette: French special forces officer, 13th Parachute Dragoon Regiment
  • Pascal Arc-Blanchette: Officer in Direction Générale de la Sécurité Extérieure (DGSE), the French foreign intelligence agency; Captain Apollo Arc-Blanchette’s father
  • Captain Chen Min Jun: Chinese special forces officer
  • Dr. Nik Melanopolis: Analyst, National Security Agency
  • Major Blaz Ott: German Bundeswehr armor maintenance officer
  • Paulina Tobiasz: Polish Civilian Militia member


In researching for the novel, Greaney and Rawlings flew to Poland, Germany and France. They met up with Brigadier General Klaus Feldmann, the last German armored brigade commander before reforms reduced the size of the German tank corps. They met with a French special forces commander in Paris from the 13th Parachute Dragoon Regiment, and spent a day aboard the USS John Warner (SSN-785), a nuclear powered Virginia-class attack submarine of the United States Navy. Both flew to Nellis Air Force Base where they spent two days at the USAF tactical fighter center for the US A-10 Thunderbolt II learning flight tactics, each night meeting the officers off duty in the "Hog-Trough", the squadron's famed bar.[4] In addition, Greaney and Rawlings acknowledge over a dozen other personal, military service-members they contacted to gain information to write the novel.[5]



The novel debuted at number fifteen and Hardcover Fiction categories of the New York Times bestseller list for the week of August 4th, 2019,[6][1] making it Greaney's second NYT bestseller for the year of 2019. In addition, it debuted on the USA Today Best Selling Books list for the week of 4 August, 2019.[2] Red Metal achieved the Amazon Chart rating for the week of 21 July, 2019.[3] Apple Books listed Red Metal in sixth place for Mysteries & Thriller Bestsellers on July 21, 2019.[7]


Publishers Weekly gave the book a Starred Review, praising the book as "The various battles—fought on land, sea, and in the air—are exciting, realistic, and technically detailed, complete with the high emotions experienced by the combatants. As in the best of this genre, there are no cartoon villains, just dedicated warriors who are given a mission and are determined to carry it out. This is powerful material, required reading for anyone interested in modern warfare."[8] In November of 2019, they selected Red Metal as one of the "Best Books of 2019" in the Thriller/Mystery category.[9]

Kirkus Reviews wrote, "Readers will be humming "The Marines’ Hymn” after finishing this paean to the U.S. Marines. Hoorah! As with all of Greaney’s work, this is a fun read. If only all our wars were fiction."[10]

Thriller novel reviewer The Real Book Spy stated that "While it’s already drawn comparisons to Tom Clancy’s Red Storm Rising (1986), Red Metal boasts even more action and tension, reading like a modern-day Game of Thrones (without the dragons and White Walkers), as individuals go all-in fighting for their cause—often with little regard for the rest of the world. Much like George R.R. Martin’s epic fantasy saga, Greaney and Rawlings rely more on their characters to drive the story than the explosions, gunfights, and eye-candy, of which there is still plenty. The wargaming is impressive to be sure, but it all works as well as it does because the characters are so well fleshed out, and the conflict so perfectly captured."[11]


  1. "Hardcover Fiction Books - Best Sellers - Aug 4, 2019 - The New York Times". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-08-10.
  2. "Red Metal". USA TODAY. Retrieved 2019-08-10.
  3. "Amazon Charts - Week of July 21, 2019". Retrieved 2019-08-31.
  4. Development, PodBean. "Mark Greaney and Rip Rawlings - Red Metal". Retrieved 2019-08-30.
  5. RedCarpetCrash (2019-07-09). "Interview: Authors 'Mark Greaney' And 'Lieutenant Colonel Hunter Ripley "Rip" Rawlings' Talk New Book Red Metal". Retrieved 2019-08-31.
  6. "Combined Print & E-Book Fiction Books - Best Sellers". The New York Times. December 20, 2015. Retrieved 29 June 2018.
  7. "Apple Books Category Bestsellers, July 21, 2019". Retrieved 2019-09-06.
  8. "Mystery/Thriller Book Review: Red Metal by Mark Greany and H. Ripley Rawlings IV. Berkley, $27 (656p) ISBN 978-0-451-49041-4".
  9. "Best Books 2019: Publishers Weekly Publishers Weekly". Retrieved 2019-11-24.
  10. RED METAL by Mark Greaney , H. Ripley Rawlings IV | Kirkus Reviews.
  11. "Featured Review: 'Red Metal' by Mark Greaney and H. Ripley Rawlings IV". The Real Book Spy. 2019-06-28. Retrieved 2019-08-10.
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