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Vulcan's Forge (Philip Mercer #1)

3.97 of 5 stars 3.97  ·  rating details  ·  2,432 ratings  ·  76 reviews
It begins deep beneath the Pacific Ocean, where a nuclear bomb strikes at the fiery hot heart of the earth. Churning, spewing boiling lava, a volcano rises with unnatural speed from the ocean floor -- the source of a new mineral that promises clean, limitless nuclear power. It continues in hot spots around the globe: Hawaii, where a secessionist movement is about to turn v ...more
ebook, 384 pages
Published December 6th 2005 by Onyx Books (first published January 1st 1998)
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Imagine a story much worse than anything Clive Cussler has written and you have Vulcan's Forge. The main character is a geologist, I mean, the best-most-awesome-smartest-best looking-military trained geologist who can do anything/kill anyone/screw anyone with a look from his deep blue gray eyes at a moments notice. The plot is that he must stop an evil Japanese genius from taking over Hawaii in a military coup AND from getting control of a big ass volcano with special properties that the Russian ...more
Vulcan's Forge was the first book in the Phillip Mercer series by Jack Du Brul. It was first published in 1998. I have read the Oregon Files series of novels by Jack Du Brul and Clive Cussler and had been eager to find out what Du Brul's initial solo effort was like. Not only am I eager to read the second book in the series, but I'm actually very excited that there are 5 more books in this series after that.

Vulcan's Forge introduces the lead character, Phillip Mercer, a creative and high energy
Glen Stripling
I was pleased to find Jack B. Du Brul's main character in his action thriller is a geologist, as I am one too. I was intrigued that his novel could have a bit of sci-fi, which would be a genre mix that would appeal to me. But I was astonished that VULCAN'S FORGE would have so many features of realism. Du Brul's writing keeps you on your toes with a spiderweb of various plots that all get resolved in their own time.

The story opens in the summer of 1954 with Captain Linc, commanding the "Grandam
Dan Shea
I generally liked this book. I do have a few problems with it. The first problem is that the author thought it was necessary to have a 14 year old girl get raped in this book. Had nothing to do with the actual story, was given way too much detail.

The second problem is that the main character is a borderline alcoholic. This guy never misses a chance to get buzzed. Again, doesn't really do anything other than make me start to doubt the guy's ability to do all of the physically challenging stuff h
Dee Haddrill
I was disappointed with this one as I've known Jack DuBrul as an author through his work with Clive Cussler on the Oregon series, which is my favourite of all Cussler's series. This one was really hard to get through. The lead character (Philip Mercer) was a geologist but he's not just any geologist, he's "Super" Geologist!! Seriously, is there nothing this guy can't do??? At least there was eventually a small comment made that he had undergone some training with elite forces (and I stress the ' ...more
I honestly cannot go more than three stars on this book, and that may be stretching it just a little. Say about two and three quarters and I would feel better. Just rounding off to get three stars. Not a bad story really, just seems a tad far fetched. Oh, and wait till you meet the characters. No problems telling the good guys from the bad. The good guys are all real hunks with the chiseled chins and wind swept hair, penetrating gaze and all that bullshit. The bad guys you can almost picture the ...more
Patrick Gibson
Sorry everyone, Dubrul's good research can't save his heavy-handed writing and shallow, cliche characters. I found it hard to care what happened to anyone, even our ridiculous hero. Must the protagonist hit on the ladies the very moment he saves them from the bad guys? I'll stay with the terrorists, thanks! Dubrul needs to fire his editor, who allowed too many mistakes, such as run-on sentences, unbelievably bad dialogue, and awkward punctuations. Since this is his first I will give him another ...more
I am a fan of Jack Du Brul. I think he is tremendously under-rated. His stories are excellent, sweep you along and totally entertain. I like his characters and the plots.
Dave Edlund
I'm rounding up from 2.5 to 3 stars for this one. The title and book cover are the best part, unfortunately. I had high expectations, but the plot was a confusing tangle that left me feeling cheated--just when I was expecting the thrill-level to ramp up, Mr. Du Brul simply ended each thread in the plot. The tension and suspense fizzled.
I was very undecided on my rating for this novel. The hero, Mercer, is reminded me a bit of the Bond in Flemings novels- kinda of a jackass. He is handsome, commanding, good at almost everything and, for me, really smug. There was just something about him that I just don't like which is a little refreshing.

I'm not sure if I'm going to make the full commitment to reading this series, but there was some good action in this one even if most of the characters seemed like cardboard cutouts. Onto the
After listening to "Medusa Stone", I decided to go back to the beginning of the series. This story is simply put, more interesting than Medusa and deals with circumstances you can actually relate to. Thankfully, it doesn't linger too long in wrapping up the action after the ah-ha moment of what the mystery is all about. A good, well-paced, fun story with a fairly clean-cut, lone-wolf, slightly-smarter-than-the-braintrust-he-deals-with kind of hero. One of the better "popcorn" reads I've enjoyed.
If you've read Jack Du Brul's books co-written with Clive Cussler, then this book will be very familiar. It has the hero, Philip Mercer, a kick-ass geologist, who was brought into the tale by a mysterious telegram supposedly written by a now-dead friend. The story is set in the Soviet Union turning to Russia era, so it's a bit dated.
There are the Soviets wanting to rule the world by laying claim to a volcano rising from under the sea. There's a Japanese-American billionaire who's orchestrating
This is possibly the worst book I've ever read. You could make a parlor game out of the unbelievably bad lines. It's not enough he had to make everything a superlative; he had to take a simple sentence, get out a thesaurus, and make it ridiculously stupid.

This book also made me hate adverbs.

Upside, it made me actually laugh out loud several times.
I sought out this book mainly because I'm a fan of Clive Cussler and especially the Oregon Files novels. Jack Du Brul is a co-author for most of these. I have to say that I really enjoyed this Philip Mercer story and will likely read more of the series. I can definitely see Du Brul's writing in the Cussler stories including some of his ideas. For example in this novel, a Russian sub was camouflaged as an old ocean freighter -- very reminiscent of the ship Oregon in the Oregon files. In Vulcan's ...more
The hero drinks too much for my comfort, but the story was intertaning enough. The pseudo science could be a bit much, I skimmed over some of it.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Gautam Surath
On face value, this was supposedly a book right up my alley. It had a bit of science, a bit of thrill and lots of action. As an icing on the cake it rated 4 stars on Goodreads. What could possibly go wrong. A lot is the answer it seems. Phillip Mercer is one of the most poorly constructed characters I have ever read. With no background he seems to be an expert on everything from Stealth to Wealth. He can wrestle with the sharks and drink with old men. And that's more than enough to put the reade ...more
Rita McDowell


Extremely exciting read! Well worth the time although I did have a difficult time keeping the bad guys straight at times!
DNF. 100 pages into this book and I still have no idea what's going on. Our "main charater" had maybe 10 pages and the rest is still setting up the story. Time for me to move on.
This book was in my office's 'library' shelf. I was intrigued, as I am a geologist and thought it might be 'Indiana Jones'-esque. While reading I could tell it's written for a male audience, just like the Tempe Brennan books seem written for a largely female audience. Not a bad thing necessarily, but certain elements like the detailed description of 'man toys' such as boats, guns, etc, plus the account of rape don't bring much to the story. Plenty of action and plot twists, not much depth or ins ...more
J. Desiree Tanner
Awesome Book

I love Jack DuBrul books and he writes similar to Clive Cussler my favorite writer. High excitement and interesting to read.
Adrian Royce
Du Brul delivers a fast paced novel that at times seems so implausible that it is laughable. I enjoyed the attempt to personalize the President and co by concocting a dilemma that required a response. The weak points of the novel are the triple-cross parts of the plot and the invincibility of the main character--Mercer--a geologist that even the FBI boss wants to employ!

As others have noted, there is a very unnecessary child rape to make a point that could have been made in a myriad of other way
The first Phillip Mercer novel by DuBrul finds Mercer being called to help the daughter of an old friend who is the sole survivor of a ship sinking near Hawaii. The mystery intensifies when he finds out her father died several years ago. As he investigates why the ship was sunk he finds that it may tie in with a Japanese billionaire who wants Hawaii to secede from the United States and may be backed by the Russians. OK read.
A brilliant storyline.
A potboiler with some implausible details, it does have a lot of action.
Somehow, despite the action, the parts do not seem to fit smoothly into the whole, so the read seems a bit disjointed and lacking.
Fun adventure, like Dirk Pitt, though the good guy does get beat up a bit
Potboiler, predictable, I gave up after readig two thirds of the book.
This is Jack Du Brul's first book, introducing readers to Philip Mercer, a geologist working as an independent contractor for the USGS, who is brought into the world of intregue with a telegram from a dead friend that saved his life earlier, asking for his assistance to save his daughter. The story unfolds drawing us into his story, introduces us to Harry White & Tiny who will appear in future stories as well. All in all the story draws the reader in and holds your attention, making it very ...more
For a book that was published in 1998, it holds up surprisingly well. The science is still good and the story was fun. Some of the political stuff was outdated and the end where the guy gets the girl was a little abrupt. But I liked it and as the intro to the series, it wasn't bad. I'll read a few more and decide if I'm going through the entire eight-book series. DuBrul has also co-written the Oregon Files books with Clive Cussler and those have all been bestsellers. I like his writing style and ...more
I read The Medusa Stone first and loved it. This, the first in the Mercer series seemed a little bit heavy with hard facts and didn't flow as smoothly as Medusa. The info was key to the story and brilliantly conceived but didn't fit well for me. The parts with Mercer were amazing. Du Brul has created a character that I love and I will definitely read every book in this series. All in all 3 stars for the story and 5 stars for Mercer (I'm throwing Harry in too). Mercer kicks ass! Looking forward t ...more
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Jack DuBrul is a New York Times Best-Selling Author from Vermont who writes techno thrillers. Recently, he has been co-authoring "The Oregon Files" novels with Clive Cussler, taking over from Craig Dirgo with the third novel.
More about Jack Du Brul...

Other Books in the Series

Philip Mercer (8 books)
  • Charon's Landing (Philip Mercer, #2)
  • The Medusa Stone (Philip Mercer, #3)
  • Pandora's Curse (Philip Mercer #4)
  • River Of Ruin (Philip Mercer, #5)
  • Deep Fire Rising (Philip Mercer, #6)
  • Havoc (Philip Mercer, #7)
  • The Lightning Stones (Philip Mercer, #8)
Pandora's Curse (Philip Mercer #4) Havoc (Philip Mercer, #7) The Medusa Stone (Philip Mercer, #3) River Of Ruin (Philip Mercer, #5) Charon's Landing (Philip Mercer, #2)

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