Greyweather's Reviews > Busted Flush

Busted Flush by George R.R. Martin
Rate this book
Clear rating

's review
Nov 22, 2009

really liked it

Busted Flush is the nineteenth book in the Wild Cards continuum and the second book of the Committee Triad. The story basically picks up where the opening book of the triad, Inside Straight, left off. The recently formed Committee, a team of superpowered aces enlisted under the auspices of the United Nations Secretariat, is flush with success and new recruits after a series of peacekeeping and disaster relief missions. Unfortunately for them, there is no rest for the righteous, and they find themselves faced with a triple threat of global crises. First there is the massive hurricane headed for New Orleans, the story of which is covered mainly by authors Kevin Andrew Murphy and Caroline Spector. The second is an investigation of allegations of genocide in the Niger Delta, which is made up of the chapters contributed by Victor Milan. The last mission is a UN military operation aimed at ending the oil embargo instituted by the Middle Eastern superstate, known as the Caliphate, against the West as punishment for their interference in Egypt during Inside Straight. S. L. Farrell and Carrie Vaughn provide this branch of the narrative.

While the Committee is off saving the world, a massive detonation occurs in the oilfields of Texas. The incident, with no apparent involvement by America’s enemies, draws the attention of SCARE, the Senate Committee for Ace Resources and Endeavors. Their investigation turns up Drake Thomas, a young boy who is mysteriously the only survivor of the destruction of his hometown. He is turned over to the Biological Isolation and Containment Center (BICC), a US government facility dedicated to researching the Wild Card virus and ace abilities. There he encounters Niobe Winslow, who has the most bizarre ace power in the history of a series built around the notion of bizarre superpowers. Niobe ends up engineering both her and Drake’s escape from BICC after discovering that the facility is not what it pretends to be. Walton Simons and Ian Tregillis were in charge of this plotline, with John Jos. Miller contributing the story of SCARE’s attempt to recapture the escapees from the BICC facility.

Masterfully tying together all the separate threads of Busted Flush are Melinda Snodgrass’s “Double Helix” chapters. Noel Matthews, an ace loyal to England’s Silver Helix intelligence agency, has managed to infiltrate both the Caliphate, as the teleporting man Bahir, and the Committee, as the teleporting woman Lilith. Ordered (as Lilith) by the Committee to investigate the explosion in Texas, he learns that it was nuclear in nature, a fact US authorities were trying to cover up. He also learns through his Bahir identity that Drake Thomas was not just a survivor, but also the cause of the atomic blast. Acting as a liaison between the Silver Helix and SCARE to hunt down the fugitives from BICC, Noel learns about Niobe Winslow. The young joker woman fascinates Noel, and for the first time he finds himself at odds with his superior at the Silver Helix, who has ordered Noel to capture her companion Drake before SCARE can recover him.

Needless to say, there is a whole heck of a lot going on in Busted Flush. The surprising part is how tightly integrated the story is despite the wide assortment of events, locales, and point-of-view characters. It is a real testament to the skill of the editors and contributing authors that a book written by ten people, one of whom was completely new to the Wild Cards series, is more cohesive than most novels penned by a single author.

If, after reading Inside Straight, you had any inclination to read more, rest assured that Busted Flush is ample reward for doing so. There is no middle book syndrome to worry about here. Busted Flush is the rock-and-roll follow-through to the smooth jazz set-up of Inside Straight. I don’t know how I’m going to fit the final book of the triad, Suicide Kings, into that metaphor, but I am burning with curiosity to find out the answer.

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read Busted Flush.
Sign In »

Reading Progress

November 22, 2009 – Shelved
November 22, 2009 –
page 1
0.25% "Happy to see Carrie Vaughn involved. Sad to see Daniel Abraham is not."
November 23, 2009 –
page 36
November 24, 2009 –
page 64
16.08% "Okay, this is seriously messed in the head."
November 25, 2009 –
page 194
November 26, 2009 –
page 243
61.06% "Both disturbing and hilarious."
November 26, 2009 –
page 248
62.31% "I just realized they screwed up with Drake getting sunburned."
November 26, 2009 –
page 350
Started Reading
November 27, 2009 – Finished Reading

No comments have been added yet.