An exceptional effort by Deaver. The book kept me up last night until 2:00 AM finishing it. Lots of surprises right up to the last few pages. Just wheAn exceptional effort by Deaver. The book kept me up last night until 2:00 AM finishing it. Lots of surprises right up to the last few pages. Just when you think the narrative is over, something happens to keep it going.
The main protagonist, a man named Corte, is a a senior federal protection officer known as a "shepherd." He is in the employ of an anonymous government agency dedicated to a highly specialized brand of citizen protection. He is assigned to protect a Washington, D.C., police detective, Ryan Kessler, who has become the target of a notorious, totally amoral "Lifter" Henry Loving. Lifters are hired to get information in any way they can. This particular Lifter killed Corte's good friend and mentor Abe Fallow. This gives Corte additional motivation but also complicates his mission.
Lifters try to get an "Edge" or leverage by targeting family members and others close to the "Principal", as they are called, and using that edge to extract the information they want often, if not always, killing the Principal in the process.
To avoid that happening Corte gathers the Kessler family, Ryan, wife Joanne, and sister-in-law Maree in a safe house and dispatches daughter Amanda with an ex-cop, Bill Carter, to Carter's wilderness cabin.
That is, of course when the fun begins as Corte and his charges as well as his FBI liaison, "Freddy" Frederick play a cat and mouse game with Loving and his associates. Corte is an aficionado of board games and a student of strategic gaming theory and as the story progresses it's clear that Loving is also a master at "playing the game".
It is not clear who the "Primary" or party hiring Loving is. Corte spends most of his time trying to avoid Loving while smoking out the Primary. On a number of occasions Corte thinks he has the whole thing figured out only to discover he's wrong. It is only towards the end of the book that he is able to put the whole picture together.
The ending is satisfying but Deaver keeps a few surprises for the reader even after the Primary is identified and the Lifter neutralized. I recommend this book and bet that, if you do read it, other Jeffery Deaver novels will make it on to your "To be Read" list....more
I seem to never tire of the Jack Reacher books. This one is no exception. Some part of me thinks I should see my attraction to the Reacher series as aI seem to never tire of the Jack Reacher books. This one is no exception. Some part of me thinks I should see my attraction to the Reacher series as a guilty pleasure. I don't. They are very well written and plotted with interesting characters both good and bad as well as enough twists to keep the reader engaged throughout.
In this volume, Reacher goes to Washington to visit with the commander, Major Susan Hunt, of the 110th MP group, of which he was the first commander. When he gets there he's surprised to find she has been jailed for corruption and he is confronted by a Lieutenant Colonel Morgan who changes his reserve status to active duty and informs him he is going to be charged with a sixteen year old murder and a separate paternity suit.
Later in the evening he is visited by two hard case GIs who tell him to leave or he will be sorry. Reacher of course turns the tables on the threateners and decides since they want him to run, he'll stay. The story moves on from there in somewhat typical Reacher fashion as he manages to elude those who are out to prosecute him while finding out who's behind the plot to put him away for a long long time. He manages to hook up with Turner and they work together to figure out who is behind the plot and eventually why.
The ending is a little disappointing because I figured out what the motivation for the plotters was, long before Reacher and Turner did. All the loose ends are tied up eventually and Reacher heads out of town as usual, alone.
I obviously recommend this bok with the caveat that if this is your first Reacher you would enjoy this entry more if you read some of the early Reachers so as to get his back story and to understand the motivation behind his peculiar lifestyle.
Poul Anderson was an exciting and prolific writer of both science fiction and fantasy. I've never read one of his authored or co-authored books that IPoul Anderson was an exciting and prolific writer of both science fiction and fantasy. I've never read one of his authored or co-authored books that I did not enjoy. This story was no exception. Sure, it had its dull moments and got a little complicated at times, but the plot was well drawn as were the characters.
The story takes place centuries after a nuclear holocaust wiped out most of earth's population and left much of the land devastated. Three major civilizations have emerged: The Domain which covers most of what is now Northern Europe, the Murai, a queen led nation of South Pacific seafarers and the Northwest Confederation based in the Northwest corner of North America. There are other smaller groups such as the Mong and the Yuan, Asian survivors of the disaster as well as the Espanyans in Southeastern Europe.
The Domain is protected by an immense dirigible called Skyholm which can deliver lasers anywhere in the Domain. The Murai are militarily, the strongest and see themselves as the keepers of the peace. They constantly look for any fissionable material in order to confiscate it. The Northwesterners or Norries as they call themselves are divided into lodges, the strongest of which are the Wolves. The Murai defeated the Norries in the Power War when they tried to build nuclear power plants.
The plot is built around the efforts of the Norries to build a nuclear-powered space ship without anyone discovering what they are doing. The major sub-plot involves the protagonist Iern of the Domain being usurped as leader in a coup just as he is about to be elected by Jovain, a jealous, vindictive rival. Iern escapes to the Northwest and enlists in the space ship effort after falling in love with Ronica Birken a Norrie who helps him escape the clutches of Jovain.
This book won a number of awards including a Hugo and a Nebula. It contains most of the themes that Anderson used in many of his writings: liberty, adventure, individualism, tragic conflicts, human foibles and others. I'm not sure this was Anderson's Magnus Opus, but it's not only long at close to 500 pages but has been reprinted numerous times in the 35 years since its first appearance.
There are times the plot drags but the time is put to good use exploring the characters' motivations and plans. The ending is action-filled and very exciting. The conclusion ties up a number of loose ends and leaves the reader with hope for the human race.
I highly recommend it to not only sci-fi fans but anyone who enjoys an exciting yarn taking place in an imaginative universe with lots of parallels to our own. ...more
A terrific book about a little known piece of history. I read Larson's "The Devil in the White City" and was impressed with both his research and hisA terrific book about a little known piece of history. I read Larson's "The Devil in the White City" and was impressed with both his research and his writing skills. This book actually tops that one.
For years, I thought the sinking of the Lusitania played a major part in leading the U.S. into WWI. I've since learned differently but was surprised while reading this book to learn that it actually had much less effect than I thought. The Zimmerman Note and the German unlimited submarine warfare of late 1916 and early 1917 were two of the major motivations for Wilson to ask for and get a declaration of war. In fact at the time of the Lusitania tragedy, Wilson was far more interested in what was going on between himself and Edith Galt, who eventually became his second wife, than he was in the sinking of the Lusitania.
Larson does an outstanding job of interweaving the last cruise of the Lusitania with the movements of U20, the submarine that fired the fatal torpedo. He also brings many of the people on the ship to life with snippets from their letters and recollections. His descriptions of life on both the Lusitania and U20 makes the entire situation real. I was mostly impressed with the fact that as Larson points out near the end of the book, that had circumstances been just a little different, the sinking could have been avoided.
He spends an appropriate amount of time on the aftermath including the response of people on shore to the situation as well as the official reaction. The British Admiralty does not come off very well in Larson's opinion as they try to blame the disaster on the Lusitania's skipper, Captain Turner. There's enough arrogance to go around on the part of British officialdom as well as the management of the Cunard Line, owners of the ship to say nothing of most of the passengers who were convinced they were safe in spite of a warning posted in a NY newspaper warning that the ship was going into a war zone.
Larson does as good a job as any historical author of bringing his research to life and humanizing people long gone. He presents facts in such a way that the reader is drawn into the narrative even though you already know the outcome.
This may be the best T.J. Parker I've read. It introduces us to two great characters, Charlie Hood, a Iraq war veteran and now an L.A. County Sheriff'This may be the best T.J. Parker I've read. It introduces us to two great characters, Charlie Hood, a Iraq war veteran and now an L.A. County Sheriff's deputy and Allison Murrieta, who claims to be a descendant of the famous California outlaw, Joaquin Murrieta, who was shot and beheaded in 1853.
Allison has become a folk hero as she robs gas stations and fast food restaurants and later posts videos of the event as well as distributing part of the proceeds to local charities including the LA Police Dep't. Charlie, wants to do the right thing but bumps up against his feelings for Allison's alter-ego Suzanne Jones, a highly respected eighth grade teacher. While Charlie doesn't know for sure he suspects the connection between Suzanne and Allison.
Things get complicated when Allison goes after $45,000 worth of jewels and in the process comes on a repair garage with 10 recently shot people in it. She takes the jewels but is seen by Lupercio, a paid assassin who knows she has the diamonds. She is also stopped by Charlie as she peels away from the site of the massacre in a stolen Corvette. The pursuit by Lupercio and the romance between Charlie and Suzanne provide most of the action for the rest of the story.
We are introduced to a number of interesting characters as the plot unfolds including Suzanne/Allison's neighbors and family as well as a mastermind who sends Lupercio after the diamonds.
Parker keeps things moving. I finished the book quickly. The ending was just a little too pat but not excessively so. I highly recommend this book.
This is the fourth in the Medieval West Country Mystery Series sometimes also called the Knights Templar series. In this one, Jecks has really hit hisThis is the fourth in the Medieval West Country Mystery Series sometimes also called the Knights Templar series. In this one, Jecks has really hit his stride.
The town of Crediton is awaiting the arrival of the Bishop of Exeter when it is also visited by a band of mercenaries, led by Sir Hector, their captain, on their way back to Gascony. They take over the local Inn and as soldiers will, behave badly. They attempt to rape, Sarra, a serving girl, who's saved by Sir Hector's interest in her, among other mostly harmless but noisy deeds.
The local bailiff Simon Puttock and Sir Baldwin Furnshill, Keeper of the King's Peace, have their welcoming dinner with the Bishop interrupted when a robbery and murder are discovered at the Inn. They leave to investigate and are told the newest member of the band, Phillip Cole, is accused of stealing Sir Hector's silver stash and also killing Sarra the servant girl found in a nearby chest. Cole is captured with some of the silver and jailed. His captors John Smithson and Henry the Hurdle say they were following him because he was acting furtively. Simon and Baldwin are skeptical of the entire set up and the rest of the book follows their investigation as they try to uncover the truth.
The story is a akin to a police procedural as Simon and Baldwin go down many blind alleys with bodies piling up and suspects multiplying. There are a few sub-plots, the major one being the effect of Simon's son, Peterkin, recently unexpectedly dying. Just when they and possibly the reader are sure they know what's what, something happens to muddy the waters. The ending is a bit of a surprise and a brief epilogue ties up whatever loose ends are left after the theft and the murders are solved.
This book can be read as part of the series or as a stand-alone story. I recommend it either way.