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Philip Mercer #8

The Lightning Stones

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What was Amelia Earhart carrying on her final flight? The adventure begins two thousand feet beneath the surface of the Earth.

Philip Mercer, a preeminent geologist with a taste for international intrigue and danger, rides an elevator two thousand feet into the earth at the Leister Deep Mine in Minnesota. Mercer is there to visit his old friend and mentor, Abraham Jacobs, who is leading a research team to the deepest section of the mine for a groundbreaking study on climate change. But as Mercer approaches, he is stunned to hear automatic gunfire in the massive underground chambers. By the time he finds his way to them, Abe Jacobs and the entire research team have been brutally attacked—and Mercer is left seeking not only answers but revenge.
     Mercer immediately retraces Jacobs’s tracks, searching for clues to the secret project on which the distinguished scientist was working. Staying one step ahead of a highly trained team of assassins, Mercer follows a trail that leads from a harrowing close call in the Midwest to a nail-biting showdown in the rugged mountains of Afghanistan to a remote island in the middle of the Pacific. At stake is an extraordinary scientific discovery that could irrevocably alter the planet, centered on a cache of rare crystals called lightning stones—rumored to have been aboard Amelia Earhart’s plane when it vanished on July 2, 1937.
     With his trademark combination of intellectual swagger, riveting action, and cutting-edge science, internationally bestselling author Jack Du Brul has crafted a superbly entertaining novel that will thrill his fans.

352 pages, Hardcover

First published August 11, 2015

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About the author

Jack Du Brul

42 books396 followers
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.

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5 stars
564 (38%)
4 stars
541 (36%)
3 stars
271 (18%)
2 stars
73 (4%)
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32 (2%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 135 reviews
Profile Image for Michael Jensen.
Author 4 books134 followers
September 6, 2015
I don't normally make it a habit to factor an author's political point of view into my reviews, but when the author uses his book to make political points, well, then he's asking for it. Don't get me wrong, Du Brul has the right to interject his views into his books. Just like I have the right to critique them.

There are two political angles to this book that pissed me off. First off, it appears that Du Brul doesn't believe in climate change. His main character certainly doesn't and the book's antagonist is an effete, French environmentalist who is trying to manipulate the gullible public into thinking climate change is really happening. I was prepared to let that slide, maybe even just chalk it up to nothing more than what was needed for the plot (though Du Brul lectures us too many times for me to think it isn't what he really thinks).

Then I got to this sentence on passage 309 of the book where the hero is trying to avoid the destruction of the planet:

"Ira, this transcends politics."

"Nothing transcends politics to the current occupant of the White House. The national security adviser is a former policy director for a leftist think tank who once opined that Neville Chamberlain didn't appease Hitler enough. I can't go to her with this."

Got that? Democratic presidents believe in appeasing Hitler and nothing transcends politics for such a president. You know what, Mr. Du Brul? &%$# you. It's laughable that after the Bush administration any conservative could accuse a Democrat of acting like nothing transcends politics. That's all the Bush administration was about. Remember, the Republicans are the ones who said on Day One of Obama's presidency, their sole goal was to make sure he was a one term president.

I hope Du Brul's book sales are absolutely fantastic because not only will I not read another book of his (and I actually would have if not for his politicizing the book), I'm making it my mission to tell as many people as I can about his reprehensible views.

Profile Image for Lisa B..
1,262 reviews6 followers
October 27, 2015
My Thoughts
Philip Mercer is a geologist who sure seems to attract trouble. For me, this had an Indiana Jones feel - one of my favorite movie characters. Lots of action. Some a bit implausible, but who cares? I thought the story was very entertaining. Philip is smart and uses all his background knowledge to whip up on the bad guys. Rock ‘em, sock ‘em and fast paced from beginning to end. I would definitely read more stories with Philip mercer as the lead character!

Thanks to Doubleday books, via Netgalley, for allowing me to read this in exchange for an unbiased review.
Profile Image for Robert.
3,397 reviews18 followers
January 3, 2023
Du Brul delivers.

Adventure from beginning to end, interspersed with interesting history and locations, just as he's been doing for years.
Profile Image for Marten Wennik.
208 reviews6 followers
March 29, 2018
I picked this book to read because I have always enjoyed Clive Cussler and DuBrul has been one of his assistant writers. Also, I love aviation and the fact that the story started with Amelia Earhart and her historic and tragic flight around the globe was a hook. Let it be clearly stated that I had no hopes for this to be excellent literature, in fact, I suspected it was going to read like a typical Clive Cussler type novel.

BUT IT IS WORSE!!! Not only is the main character, Mercer, so painfully perfect in all he does and knows, has it all and is irresistible to everyone (especially any woman), but can do anything (shoot, rock climb, drive, etc.). While there are characters like this out there (Indiana Jones, James Bond, etc) who are likable, Mercer just isn't. He isn't believable and DuBrul's own writing makes Mercer come off as an arrogant prick.

Alright, I also admit that I was totally out when I got about half way through the book and the Author started to clearly reveal his true ideology. But he hid it behind "science". He began making the argument that Global Warming is public hysteria and has no credibility. That science shows that yes the earth is warming and the ozone is depleting, but it is not because of human actions and not because of Carbon usage. Then, through Mercer, a geologist by trade, he strongly suggests that most humans are too stupid to actually understand the real science and just listen to fake news. If Mercer were a real human being, he would be immediately appointed to Trump's department of the Interior. Maybe DuBrul is fishing for a position.

Either way, I could not stomach the poor writing, misogynistic attitudes, self-promoting writing anymore and shut the book. I would suggest that you avoid reading DuBrul unless you are currently the POTUS and need a new bandwagon member.
Profile Image for Ray.
90 reviews4 followers
February 2, 2016
I received a free copy of this novel from NetGalley in exchange for a review.

It has been a while since I read a Jack Du Brul novel, and, after reading The Lightning Stones, I am trying to figure out what I have been thinking all these years. Du Brul writes excellent adventures, as this one was full of action from start to finish. The Lightning Stones is a globe-spanning rollicking escapade with protagonist Phillip Mercer taking the reader from the mines of Minnesota to suburban Washington, D.C., to the mountains of Afghanistan, back to the U.S., and off to the vast Pacific Ocean. All this globetrotting is framed by the "true" story of what happened on Amelia Earhart's ill-fated attempt to circumnavigate the earth by airplane in 1937. Du Brul connects Earhart's 1937 flight to the present day very well, and his use of the global-warming "conspiracy" in doing so is inspired plotting. What a great story!

The story's hero, Phillip Mercer, makes the story even better. After reading Du Brul's earlier Mercer stories (it has been several years since the last one), I thought that Mercer was an under-appreciated literary action hero. Dirk Pitt, Jack Ryan, and Jack Reacher get a lot more publicity and acclaim, but Mercer is just as heroic, just as dashing, and just as ingenious as those other guys. He is intelligent, daring, and has a keen sense of justice. His job as a geologist allows Du Brul to place Mercer in situations that other heroes could not be in. This story could not happen to Jack Ryan or Reacher, as neither has the scientific acumen to pull off the research and scientific aspects of this story. He is certainly a 21st century action hero.

With a great plot and a great hero, Jack Du Brul has hit a home run with The Lightning Stones. Go check it out soon!
503 reviews15 followers
October 12, 2015
this was the first Jack DuBrul title that i have not found to be excellent. it has been almost 10 years since the last Philip Mercer adventure, and maybe the author has just moved on mentally. while the story is still interesting, and the plot works in lots of great (and highly improbable) action, with fascinating historical points, it is clear that DuBrul's primary goal with this book was to put out an anti-global warming agenda. it would have been OK if he had bothered to work the science/technology side of the story as much as he normally does. instead, he postulates a miracle mineral that was only discovered once in history that has many, many incredible properties including the ability to focus energy into the Earth's magnetic field thus affecting climate. then we get the standard issue evil Euro billionaire who decides that the best way he can use all of the miraculous properties of this new material is to try to accelerate global warming so that his own clean energy companies can profit. this is so laughable that it is on par with some of the worst Bond villains. on the bright side, Mercer is still Mercer, the dialogue is still quick and full of witty repartee and lots of stuff blows up...and of course the world is saved in the end. all of the other DuBrul Mercer books are better than this one. recommended only for die hard fans like me.
1,474 reviews20 followers
August 11, 2015
Mr DuBrul has been writing with Clive Cussler for a few years and this is his first Phillip Mercer book in awhile. I have enjoyed the Cussler books but am glad to see a Phillip Mercer book. I have missed this character but the wait was definitely worth it! When Mercers old friend and mentor Abe is killed Mercer is determined to find the killers and avenge his friends death. Abe was involved in a project that has attracted some very ruthless people. Mercer has to figure out what it was to find the killers, but they seem to be able to stay one step ahead of him. Intrigue, betrayal, futuristic science and history all blend together to lead you on a trip filled with action and adventure. Glad to see Mercer back. Hope to see another book by Mr DuBrul soon!
Profile Image for Joan.
217 reviews5 followers
August 25, 2015
The Lightning Stones is full of action, suspense, a lot of killing, a little romance, and has an imaginative take on Amelia Earhart's disappearance.

As is often too true, the person in the story who is responsible for all of the mayhem has what he deems a good cause, is interested in making money, doesn't really understand the ramifications of his actions, and hasn't a clue about what is actually happening.

This book is well-written, has a lot of surprises, and keeps the reader on edge, with just enough relief at well-chosen places to keep one's head from exploding!

Profile Image for John Wenskovitch.
4 reviews1 follower
July 20, 2017
This book could've been 5x better if Du Brul wasn't frequently inserting his own opinions about climate change as page-long monologues and dialogues with useful idiots recently exposed as bad guys. Ignoring the fact that he uses outdated facts and long-debunked theories, it's just poor writing and immediately breaks the flow of the story. I'm surprised that no editor was competent enough to say "Dude, we got it the first time, you really don't need 7 of these."

The story also felt rushed in general, and didn't capture the magic of some of the earlier books in the series.
Profile Image for Randall Krzak.
Author 7 books163 followers
August 20, 2017
The Lightning Stones involves Philip Mercer, a geologist who always seems to be ending up in bad situations. No different this time, but a good twist involving a historical figure ties the past to the present.

While Mercer always seems to sort things out, sometimes he ends up in serious situations where his life can be on the line. This is another well-crafted story, with plenty of descriptions and action. Some might want more action, but I believe Jack has done a good balancing action and I look forward to reading more about Mercer's adventures.
Profile Image for Ismail.
Author 50 books155 followers
August 24, 2015
Same old... same old. Repeated formula, poor execution. Very disappointed.
Profile Image for Patty.
1,601 reviews84 followers
October 1, 2015

The Lightning Stones
Jack Du Brul

What it's all about...

Dr. Philip Mercer finds himself in the midst of a huge mess that has killed his mentor and goes back to Amelia Earhart's Pacific flight! It seems that everywhere he goes he finds mayhem. From the trip deep down into the mines to his travels all over the world...trying to stay alive and find those Lightning Stones.

Why I wanted to read it...

It sounded as though this book was going to be an adventurous kind of book...sort of an Indiana Jones kind of adventure. From the moment Mercer entered the mine and saw the bodies and began his chase...I didn't really realize there would be so much fire and death and destruction and evil people and mercenaries. My bad!

What made me truly enjoy this book...

Here is the thing...I didn't truly enjoy this book. It wasn't the kind of book I would normally read. It had its highlights and Mercer was pretty freaking amazing but I was not in love with this book.

What potential readers might want to know...

This book had tons of action and moved really quickly. If you are a reader who likes this kind of action in a book I think that you will enjoy this one!

Profile Image for Chris.
1,349 reviews32 followers
September 4, 2015
I've read some over the top thrillers but I couldn't take any more of this nonsense. Made it to page 78. I don't know which actions I found more unrealistic and stupid: the protagonist's or the villain's. Bad guys have just massacred some academics in a mine in Minnesota. Hero takes a huge mine dump truck and chases them down switchbacks. Trying to imagine the switchbacks in Minnesota. I've heard of the Mesabi Range but.....The hero is always a step behind the bad guys. They both show up at the head scientist's home town in Ohio within minutes of each other and the villains proceed to burn the scientist's house and start a terrorist event at the local college. You'd think the bad guys after killing so many would want to have a stealthier profile in Ohio and not draw attention to themselves. And we meet Amelia Earhart in the introduction. Evidently she and the dead scientists share a connection with some rare rock that has electromagnetic energy oozing out of it.
4 reviews
August 20, 2017
A fun, raucous, adventure very much in the Clive Cussler style. Nothing too heavy or deep, this just isn't that kind of story, but if you're looking for a quick action heavy romp around the world then you're in for a treat.

As a pilot and engineer myself I very much enjoy DuBrul's plot lines with his imaginative science and healthy dose of aiplanes. I am amazed to read other reviews where people were appalled that the antagonist was a global warming believer instead of the usual big business or oil company exec. You can get that from 99 out of a 100 books with these types of plots so go cry somewhere else and enjoy the book for what it is. Sheesh!
Profile Image for Alan.
143 reviews
August 31, 2015
After a long awaited period of time for Jack DuBrul's next book to be released; I am not disappointed at all. Of course he was writing books with Clive Cussler and I very much enjoyed those also; so thank you for those. But I was beginning to wonder when we would next see Mercer and of course his "crotchety sidekick", Harry.

This is a masterfully written novel rich in history and of course comes with plenty of action and drama one also expects with Mercer in any book as his middle name should be "trouble that finds me"
August 17, 2015
Damn good read!

I am so glad to see Philip Mercer is back. I have always been a fan of Jack Du Brul and have missed his fast paced adventure and dry wit. I had to make myself slow down so the thrill would last! I would recommend his books to anyone who loves adventure with a touch of education . Jack brings his characters to life and makes them someone you want to hang with.
Profile Image for Jane Russo.
366 reviews8 followers
October 10, 2015
Like it so far. Have to return to the library and pick up where I left off when I get it back.
It kept my interest, I admit I scanned a few pages but otherwise action packed. I am keeping review short and sweet unlike other reviewers.
Profile Image for Knigoqdec.
910 reviews142 followers
August 2, 2016
След кратка борба със себе си, оценката, която давам, си остава 2. Имаше твърде голямо неразбирателство между мен и Мърсър, поради което ОК ме устройва.
Малко повече за впечатленията ми - тук~
Profile Image for Nina Houghton.
100 reviews1 follower
November 7, 2018
Well done action and adventure with a realistically flawed hero. I c
hose to read this book because I have enjoyed Jack Du Brul's books co-authored with Clive Cussler, one of my favorite authors. I wasn't disappointed.
Profile Image for Carissa Harrington.
35 reviews4 followers
March 2, 2020
I enjoyed this read. I love the science and weather ideas, no matter how far-fetched they may be. It was a fast-paced and dramatic thrill ride. I also thought it was pretty interesting the hark back to the past with Amelia Earhardt. It was very clever.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
10 reviews
May 21, 2020
Great read!

I have finished all Mercer books in a couple months. Couldn’t put them down! Recommend to anyone that likes these type adventures. Hope there are more Mercer books in the future.
Profile Image for Gene.
404 reviews4 followers
June 2, 2020
Without a minutes rest, this covers much of the globe with action, intrigue and information about climate change, cosmic rays and terrorism. The main character is a great action figure as well as a geologist, which you would probably never expect.
442 reviews3 followers
November 23, 2020
A mining engineer sets out to avenge his mentor's murder and recover what was stolen. His search takes him from Minnesota to Afghanistan to the South Pacific - and a search for Amelia Earhart's plane.

Lots of action. Love this character.
15 reviews
August 7, 2022
Immediately put-downable. Didn’t get past page one of the do-nothing prologue. The good bit was that the disembodied author-itarian permitted the two human captives under surveillance to speak on the first page. Most Creators prefer pages and pages of their own words.
Alas, what I discover is the usual vicarious mind-reading, hidden camera surveillance and steaming open private telegrams (the Nineteen Thirty’s equivalent of tracking cookie data).
The United States named a ship after Amelia Earhart. That is who she is. A book, like all relationships, should begin with respect for the person and not with an eye to the key-hole. This book doesn’t demonstrate respect and so to me it can gather dust now, a pristine and unbent slab of yellowing paper.
Reading is too important a gift to waste. Why be hamstrung by writers?
Profile Image for Steven Allen.
919 reviews14 followers
November 28, 2017
I really like the Philip Mercer books. These books are very formulaic, and follow a certain pattern which is comfortable and familiar.

I wish that Mercer would settle down with one woman rather than go through a series of brief affairs, but that might change the formula of the books and cost the author readers. While some readers may like Mercer bedding a new woman (or two) each new book, I would rather see Mercer settled with one woman for good.

Other than Mercer's bedroom companions, I have little to complain about this book other than some parts were predictable. Some things were a little too obvious but the author did a good job of surprising me with a few plot twists that I did not predict.
5 reviews
June 19, 2022
Poorly written story by a misogynistic, casually racist climate denier.
Seriously, I went into this with hoping for a fun thriller based in archeology and got a book that could have been written in the 1950's. The author has the emotional range of a 13 year old boy. I'm not sure which is worse, the bad sexual word play or the idiotic and poorly researched "science" in this book. I honestly wonder if he has ever met a real female in his life? He also pushes pseudo science while blaming others for ignoring "real science" in a book that the protagonist is supposed to be an expert in geology...
12 reviews
June 7, 2018
How big business will go to extremes to profit

Always fast paced. Plot is hard to swallow but did not really diminish enjoyment of this book. I do enjoy Phillip Mercer books and would like one at least annually. Disappointed in introduction of political hyperbole. Let's leave it to the liars in DC.
42 reviews1 follower
November 25, 2018
I really enjoy Jack DuBrul's Phillip Mercer books. This one does not disappoint. If you are a fan of Clive Cussler, you will enjoy these books. Mercer is a geologist who finds himself in unusual situations. In this book, he is on the trail of stones that may have caused Amelia Earheart to go off course. Action, adventure and a bit of romance (with a bite!) made this book a pageturner for me.
Profile Image for Tara Severns.
21 reviews3 followers
May 30, 2018
Meh. Another failed run at reading outside of my preferred genre. The audiobook more or less kept my attention during my commute. Had I rolled my eyes any more, though, it might have made for hazardous driving.
78 reviews3 followers
June 18, 2019

Great story, great characters, the only improvement would be 30 more Mercer books!!! If you like adventure, mystery, history, you have to read his books. Clive Cussler is right "the best writter!"
Displaying 1 - 30 of 135 reviews

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