Adam Erickson's Reviews > Phantom

Phantom by Ted Bell
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's review
Apr 03, 2012

it was amazing

There are many things that I'm thankful my father has shared with me. An interest in politics, my love of sailing, and my love of the Hawke series, just to name a few. Ted Bell's newest book in the Hawke series, Phantom, is a fine addition that includes all of these things.

The difficult balance in any "spy thriller" is to create a story that walks the fine line of believability and outlandish. The story must be just slightly beyond what is something you would expect to hear in the news, but not so outlandish that it's downright unbelievable. Ted Bell has hit this mark on the head with Phantom. The character of Hawke has easily been established in previous books. He's a polite, emotionally connected world superstar with the wealth to do as he would like. He has a fortune and skill set that puts Bruce Wayne to shame. He has the connections that James Bond could only dream to have. He knows how to be there emotionally for the ones he loves, yet has no problem putting those emotions aside to get a job done. In spite of all that, he still is respectful of those that he has to bring to their untimely demise. Thanks to his character's establishment in prior books, the "coincidences" and connections he has are all easily explained within his universe. It comes across as believable that he could afford mansions and mega yachts while rubbing shoulders with world leaders. He is surrounded by individuals who have the skill sets to overcome uncomfortable situations.

Ted Bell has done a masterful job crafting a villain that creates a formidable foe for even Hawke. No stranger to extreme situations, the ultimate foe in Phantom creates situations where the reader will be curious how Hawke and others can overcome. This villain creates an opportunity to evaluate philosophies of Humanism and the potential upsides or downsides of Singularity. What role does Humanity face, both now and in the future? Will current technological advancements in computing present positive or negative opportunities for Humanity? The villain will bring these questions and more to the mind of the reader and force them to be aware of an engage these philosophies. Phantom ends up being more a battle of the minds between Hawke and this villain, a new turn for the series. It is a welcome approach though, keeping the Hawke series fresh and interesting. Don't worry, though, Bell has crafted some of his best action sequences of the series. The contains some thrilling sea battles that had me wanting to head out on my 16' Compac Sailboat and storm the waters of enemies. All of this being said, though, I would have loved to see a little longer of a cat and mouse game between the villain and Hawke and a little less distraction towards the secondary villain.

Ultimately, Phantom is a welcome addition to the Hawke legacy. I once mentioned to Mr. Bell that, in spite of the fact that I buy my books on the Kindle, there are certain books that I buy an additional hard copy of because I want to be sure I have it around no matter what. Phantom easily falls into this category, and it will join the rest of the Hawke series neatly on my physical shelf.
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Reading Progress

April 3, 2012 – Started Reading
April 3, 2012 – Shelved
April 3, 2012 – Finished Reading
November 13, 2013 – Shelved (Paperback Edition)
November 13, 2013 – Shelved as: to-read (Paperback Edition)

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