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1. The Cardinal of the Kremlin (Jack
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2. The Speed of Dark (Ballantine
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3. The Hanged Man's Song
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4. Vixen 03
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5. Red Storm Rising
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6. The Hunt for Red October (Jack
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7. Cryptonomicon
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8. Patriot Games (Jack Ryan Novels)
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9. Shock Wave (Dirk Pitt Adventures
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10. Sphere
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11. Hidden Agendas (Tom Clancy's Net
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12. The Circuit: Stories from the
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13. Wild Card (Power Plays)
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14. Utopia
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15. Back to the Moon: A Novel
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16. Clear and Present Danger (Jack
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17. Scimitar SL-2 (Robinson, Patrick)
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18. The Day Before Midnight
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19. Dead Lines (Bear, Greg)
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20. The Zenith Angle

1. The Cardinal of the Kremlin (Jack Ryan Novels)
by Tom Clancy
list price: $7.99
our price: $7.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0425116840
Catlog: Book (1989-06-01)
Publisher: Berkley Publishing Group
Sales Rank: 13574
Average Customer Review: 4.39 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

Two men possess vital data on Russia's Star Wars missile defense system.One of them is CARDINAL--America's highest agent in the Kremlin--and he's about to be terminated by the KGB.The other is the one American who can save CARDINAL and lead the world to the brink of peace--or war. ... Read more

Reviews (127)

5-0 out of 5 stars His best...
This book, I found while readding it, is by far the best that Clancy has ever written. The story holds you in tight and refuses to let you go.
This book showed the height of the space race between the USSR and the USA during the cold war, and with Clancy's story-telling and attention to detail, the reader sees why we were so worried at that trivial time.
As with most of his fiction, this is a Jack Ryan/John Clark book (being the first for the latter).
The book takes place a year after the Hunt for Red OCtober as Ryan and Ramius watch the Russian submarine set to sea one last time. It continues with the top-secret developements of the Star Wars programs, spies with high level friends, old lies coming to light, and the ultimate task of rescuing the greatest spy the CIA has had placeds in the Soviet Government -- and that's just revealed in the first half, along with a great deal more.
I enjoyed two things with this book. First, it greatly tied in with previous novel in the series. Throuhgout the rest of the series, you get references to the past books, but The Cardnial of the Kremlin truly stays within the set universe of Ryan/Clark. I dealing with that, it was nice to see how Marko Ramius was doing in American since his defection in Red October.
The next thing I enjoyed was the humanity involved with this nvoel. You get to see what Russians thought about the US, as well as what they thought about Afganistan and the war there. It is truly astounding to see a war between Russians and Afgans (with American support to the latter) from three points of view, and still hold a common heart to all.
This was also the pivitol novel in which Clancy introduced us to John Clark and his brief time abourd the USS Dallas (yes people, Jonesy and Mancusco were in this book as well).
It was just nice to see how these epoeple all became connected or stayed connected, and for that reason with the others I have stated, it made this Clancy's best. A must read, especially if you wish to understand the majority of references and characters in the latter books. It is not as long as other Clancy novels (thankfully). It seemed to be the last book that Clancy wrote for fun, rather to make money, as this book is fun in the aspect you get all of Red October and more. A classic book, and the last one during the cold war (unless you count his prequels). Though it;s not as famous as his others, it is a great and I recommend it highly to anyone who enjoyed Red October.

5-0 out of 5 stars Cardinal is Clancy's best work
I am an avid Tom Clancy fan. I have read all of his books, and The Cardinal of the Kremlin is by far the best. Focusing less on military hardware and more on espionage, this book is ripe with themes on honor, justice, and vengance. A much more human tale than some of Clancy's other offerings, The Cardinal of the Kremlin forces the reader to sympathize with agent CARDINAL and to share his hatred for the political system that ruined his family and his life. Jack Ryan returns, making decisions based on his conscience and his strict virtues, and at the same time, Clancy introduces Ryan's counterpart-the enigmatic Mr. Clark. This cool, calculating man of mystery grows throughout Clancy's novels to become Ryan's dramatic foil: while Ryan's choices revolve around ethics, Clark's life is governed by cold reason. Their relationship develops into an intriguing contrast in Clancy's later novels, and Mr. Clark gets his start in Cardinal. To summarize, I would reccomend this book to any Clancy fan or to any reader looking for a challenging, excitng read.

4-0 out of 5 stars Very good
After reading more action-intensive novels from the "Ryan-verse" such as "Rainbow Six" and "Patriot Games" I found this book to be more on the political side of things. This made for a suspense filled and exciting story in the world of espionage.

4-0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable classic Cold War spy thriller
I had been meaning to read "Cardinal of the Kremlin" now for several years. Published in 1988, it is one of the older Jack Ryan technothrillers, one that I had bypassed when I started reading Clancy's works, first "Red Storm Rising" and then beginning the Jack Ryan saga with "Clear and Present Danger." I had - with the exception of "Without Remorse" and the newly published "Red Rabbit"- read all of the other subsequent books, and those books that I did not read I had seen the movie version (namely "The Hunt For Red October" and "Patriot Games"). I had resisted reading this one, or perhaps I should say I hadn't placed a high priority on this one, as they never filmed it, and it was a book very much steeped in Cold War intrigue, much of the novel taking place in the Soviet Union and involving two staples of the last years of the Cold War; "Star Wars" or the Strategic Defense Initiative (or to be more precise, something equivalent to it in the novel, a high-tech antiballistic missile or ABM system) and the Soviet war in Afghanistan. I was worried it would be antiquated, or that it would depict a Soviet Union that didn't really exist, as the collapse of the USSR in the late 1980s/early 1990s showed that how little the West really understood what the reality of the Soviet Union actually was.

I decided to read the book recently, partially to say I had read all of the Jack Ryan novels, partially because I wanted to know more of Ryan's history (events in this novel were referenced several times in Clancy's later works), and partially because I had decided to treat it as a period piece (and I have in the past enjoyed good tales of Cold War intrigue). I figured it would show an interesting, early Ryan, quite a bit different from the powerful and experienced one who eventually becomes President of the United States later on in the "Ryanverse" series.

I must say I enjoyed it. It wasn't my favorite of the Ryan series but it certainly held my interest and I found it a fast read. It was actually a rather enlightened novel, as it showed the Russians as real people; some were good, some were bad. The Soviets depicted were for the most part fairly well rounded individuals, who just like Americans simply wanted more or less the same thing out of life; basically success and happiness. Some were not good people but even they weren't depicted as moustache-twirling, cackling Cold War villains, though to be sure there were bad guys in the piece. While it is not surprising that the title character of the book - the Cardinal, Colonel Mikhail Filitov, a highly placed spy in the Soviet military - is shown as a good person, it was somewhat surprising that many of those opposed to his actions were not shown as evil or vile but simply as often good people doing their job. In essence, Clancy showed that while the Soviet regime was bad, its people weren't necessarily so. His view of governments versus people - particularly with regards to the Russians - holds true in his later works as well, showing a good deal of consistency in his writing. Perhaps I didn't give Clancy enough credit in this regard, I don't know. In any event I found myself occasionally rooting for characters in the novel who were actually opposed to Filitov, Ryan, and the other protagonists.

The novel itself was as some have said more of a straightforward spy novel than some of the other volumes in the Jack Ryan series, with many classic espionage scenes taking place in Moscow and involving the KGB. Five major plotlines are followed in the novel, with four of these plotlines tightly interwoven; the Soviet Union is pursuing a largely ground-based ABM system (Bright Star), the United States is also pursuing one named Tea Clipper (these plots also involved those in one program trying to spy on the other nation's efforts), Colonel Filitov is spying for the Americans (and related to that plotline, there are Russians trying to uncover him), and Jack Ryan and others in the American government are conducting arms reduction negotiations in Moscow (ultimately the latter storyline becomes subservient to the others) The fifth plotline revolves around an Afghan mudjaheddin named the "Archer" and his actions in Afghanistan against Soviet forces and doesn't tie in hardly at all at first though it does in the end (more or less I think).

Action-wise the book was middle of the road (if anything fairly light) until the end when several plotlines end in some violence (particularly the Archer plot). The storyline with Filitov ended with some surprise for me, though it was an ending hinted at in the later Ryan books I had read.

I am glad I read the book and have an appetite for more, both from Clancy and from another similar author who I have really grown to respect, James W. Huston (I highly recommend his works). Often overlooked by Clancy fans - it certainly was by me - I think it is a shame more haven't read it.

3-0 out of 5 stars A great spy story - 3 1/2 stars
I had a tough time deciding between 3 and 4 stars on this one, so I think I will actually give it 3 1/2 stars. I think the story was good and mostly believable. Clancy gives a great deal of realistic information on spying as well as counter-espionage during the Cold War. Certain parts of the plot require the reader to suspend their disbelief a great deal. This book is fun and exciting to read and I recommend it to anyone who is interested in the genre (or thinks they might be). ... Read more


2. The Speed of Dark (Ballantine Reader's Circle)
by ELIZABETH MOON
list price: $13.95
our price: $10.46
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0345447549
Catlog: Book (2004-03-02)
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Sales Rank: 8573
Average Customer Review: 4.42 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

In the near future, disease will be a condition of the past. Most genetic defects will be removed at birth; the remaining during infancy. Unfortunately, there will be a generation left behind. For members of that missed generation, small advances will be made. Through various programs, they will be taught to get along in the world despite their differences. They will be made active and contributing members of society. But they will never be normal.

Lou Arrendale is a member of that lost generation, born at the wrong time to reap the awards of medical science. Part of a small group of high-functioning autistic adults, he has a steady job with a pharmaceutical company, a car, friends, and a passion for fencing. Aside from his annual visits to his counselor, he lives a low-key, independent life. He has learned to shake hands and make eye contact. He has taught himself to use “please” and “thank you” and other conventions of conversation because he knows it makes others comfortable. He does his best to be as normal as possible and not to draw attention to himself.

But then his quiet life comes under attack. It starts with an experimental treatment that will reverse the effects of autism in adults. With this treatment Lou would think and act and be just like everyone else. But if he was suddenly free of autism, would he still be himself? Would he still love the same classical music–with its complications and resolutions? Would he still see the same colors and patterns in the world–shades and hues that others cannot see? Most importantly, would he still love Marjory, a woman who may never be able to reciprocate his feelings? Would it be easier for her to return the love of a “normal”?

There are intense pressures coming from the world around him–including an angry supervisor who wants to cut costs by sacrificing the supports necessary to employ autistic workers. Perhaps even more disturbing are the barrage of questions within himself. For Lou must decide if he should submit to a surgery that might completely change the way he views the world . . . and the very essence of who he is.

Thoughtful, provocative, poignant, unforgettable, The Speed of Dark is a gripping exploration into the mind of an autistic person as he struggles with profound questions of humanity and matters of the heart.


From the Hardcover edition.
... Read more

Reviews (33)

4-0 out of 5 stars Life lessons for each and all
With *The Speed of Dark*, Elizabeth Moon steps out from her usual role of science fiction author to deliver a gimlet-eyed perspective of what it means to be 'normal,' and in the process shows the reader what normal means.

Others elsewhere ably limn the story's plot; surprisingly, few note how Elizabeth Moon has used the medium (its context) to help tell her tale -- and convey her message -- via employing a style at once affectless yet lucid. This is a worthy parallel (and metaphor) to protagonist Lou Arrendale's changed mental and emotional state, and showcases an author at the top of her form.

I enjoyed the insights about "pattern recognition"; I enjoyed learning about the inner world of fencing; I enjoyed the insights into the inner turmoil autistics (and those close to them) suffer; I enjoyed reading each word, as 340 pages flew by. Chapter 18, in particular, left me agog in wonder, and I immediately re-read it to savor its finer qualities.

Yet don't let my dry prose deter you from a stellar reading experience. Recommended.

4-0 out of 5 stars Entertaining read
I just finished THE SPEED OF DARK and found the read an enjoyable one. I genuinely liked Lou Arrendale, in part because I found refreshing his logical and no-nonsense approach to the world. You don't have to be autistic to realize how common it is to say unnecessary things, to perform unnecessary actions during the course of a normal day simply because of habit or to satisfy social custom. On the other hand, his occasional confusion about the meaning of certain phrases, facial expressions, etc. were frustrating to him, and gave me a brief glimpse into the life of a person with autism.

As much as I enjoyed this book, I will say that I found many of the characters and their dilemmas one-dimensional. Had Moon chosen to tell the entire story from Lou's point of view, I would have found it easier to believe. But by telling a portion of the story through the eyes of others (in order to sharpen plot points that otherwise might have been a little vague), she was obligated to add a little more texture than she did. Yes, there are single-minded corporate go-getters in the world, but one character in particular made such poor decisions that his actions were nearly cartoonish. His complete lack of compassion toward the challenged individuals under his command seemed a little contrived without more character development on his part.

I would also have preferred Moon end the book before Lou began treatment. This is a judgment call on the author's part, but it might have been more interesting had the story not wrapped up so nicely.

All told, I definitely recommend this book to anyone who'd like a fiction read a little off the beaten path. I don't think you'll be disappointed.

4-0 out of 5 stars A fascinating look on people!
"The Speed of Dark" tells a story of an autistic man, Lou, in a near future. The date is not specified, but it should be around 2040. Our protagonist works for a big firm, doing pattern recognition, but a new manager deciedes, that he will be better as a guinea pig for a new method to cure autism. So, this looks like a thriller, a man against the system, that kind of thing.

But it's not. This story, told from Lous' point of view, is a tale of his trying to understand 'normal' people. And it's a wonderful look on people, which managed to paint the autistic persons more human, then the 'normal' ones. Lous' attempts to understand human behaviour, to see patterns in it are very interesting, and gave me food for thought for a long time to come.

There are several drawbacks to the novel.
One is the black and white colors of the characters, which make the bad guys of the novel more caricatures, then realistic characters. While it can be justified by the overall structure and purpose of the novel, I would liek them, at least, not to be so in-your-face-arrogant-SOBs.
Another drawback for me was the adrupt ending of the book. I won't get into the details, but at one point Lou had to make a very seriouse decision. The results of it are given just a couple of pages, and one of the storylines, which was very important, and a delight to read, got only ONE SENTENCE!

Still, this book told me a lot, not only about autistic people, but also about myself. Read it.

4-0 out of 5 stars Thoughtful, but sometimes frustrating
This book is moderately interesting and mostly well thought out. It portrays the normal life of an autistic person credibly, and cautiously approaches some important dilemmas about identity.
But what it leaves out is sometimes frustrating. The ending is a bit too cryptic. The ape research that plays an important role in the story is hardly explained at all, as if it could only be understood by experts, when it seems to me that the research must have included some observations of behavioral changes in the apes that an average person could understand and which should influence the protagonist in his difficult choice.

4-0 out of 5 stars CHAPTER TWENTY ONE
4.5 Stars. What made me want to read this novel was two-fold: it won the Nebula Award and it has often been referred to in the same breath as "Flowers for Algernon" by Daniel Keyes. The Nebula Award is not always given to the book I would choose, but any story mentioned with Daniel Keyes' fantastic short story(later expanded by the author into a fine novel) is worth any Science Fiction fan's attention. As for the title of my review, "CHAPTER TWENTY ONE" is the chapter in "The Speed of Dark" where I thought that perhaps this novel had initially been a short story and later expanded, as well. I will return to this book again many times in the future just to read from that chapter to the end of the book. I lost sleep reading this book, which is always a sign that the novel has me enthralled. As for negatives, there are a few minor complaints such as one of the villainous characters in the story getting his come-uppance a little too easily, "And the day...is saved!" That plot resolution was too tidy and too quickly resolved. The first twenty chapters are solid 4-star material with some excellent writing and a genuinely original perspective from the protagonist, Lou Arrendale, who is an autistic man given the chance at a cure for his condition. The only other negative I felt sour about was the all-too-expected and somewhat sanctimonious scene in the novel where Lou is trying to figure out what is "normal" anyway? If the world were predominantly autistic would "normal" people seek treatment to fit in better with society? Anyway, that section does not last long. I have never been a fan of writers who have their characters self-reflect for pages on end, but that very short section was the only moment where I thought the author let out the slack a little too far. The rest is very enjoyable. This book is thoughtfully written and obviously very personal for the author, Elizabeth Moon, who is the mother of an autistic child. While reading this book don't be surprised to find yourself finding patterns in multi-colored carpet fibers or architecture or other things with a definite or potential mathematical structure to them. The main character's profession involves pattern analysis and it echoed into my own life on more than one occasion. This book affected me on many levels, altering my perspective about people and how they relate to one another, and to a lesser degree whether or not "change" is a good thing or not when considering individuality. Any book that makes me think is definitely worth recommending to others. On the cover of this novel is a picure of a white-and-red pinwheel with several rows of binary numbers overlapping the cover from top to bottom. After reading this book the cover makes more sense than ever before. That, and I will never look at a pinwheel in the future without thinking fondly about this book. Pick up this splendid novel and enjoy! Thank you for reading my review. ... Read more


3. The Hanged Man's Song
by John Sandford
list price: $25.95
our price: $17.13
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0399151397
Catlog: Book (2003-11-01)
Publisher: G. P. Putnam's Sons
Sales Rank: 13958
Average Customer Review: 4.39 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

Just about everybody knows John Sandford for his long and successful Prey series. But just as well written and maybe more fun are his Kidd books, of which this is the fourth. Kidd is a professional thief for the Internet age: a cyberprowler, a hacker extraordinaire. In The Hanged Man's Song, he gets word that one of his key contacts--a superhacker known only as Bobby, whom Kidd has never met but has relied on many times--has disappeared. Kidd and an old buddy, both of whom could be compromised by data in Bobby's files, go looking for him. Finding his brutally murdered body draws them into a Hitchcock-esque intrigue that eventually involves stolen government secrets, crooked politicians, and a rogue CIA agent who's as crafty as he is creepy.

While filling his tale with fascinating and authentic-sounding lore about the hacker subculture, identity theft, and security cracking, Sandford keeps the action brisk with plenty of white-knuckle chases, tense stakeouts, and hairsbreadth escapes. Couple that with a smart, agreeable narrator and a cast of vivid characters evoked with an old pro's ease, and you've got one winning thriller. --Nicholas H. Allison ... Read more

Reviews (28)

5-0 out of 5 stars The best Kidd novel yet!
While the "Prey" series featuring Lucas Davenport is more widely known, the Kidd series just seems to have even more intrigue than the well-written Prey novels. Kidd is just on the other side of the law, brash, and technologically-sound to the point that computers can get him anything he wants. Sure it's not legal, but you find yourself cheering him on...his actions are illegal, but he's still the protagonist!

The plot centers around the murder of Bobby, a character all readers of the Kidd novels are familiar with. I won't go into the details of the plot so nothing gets spoiled, but I'll admit that when I first read the synopsis, I figured I wouldn't like the fact that Bobby was killed off.

I was wrong.

As the story comes together, things begin to make sense. But in the final few pages of the book, everything is revealed and you finally understand why it was necessary for Bobby to be killed off...and you begin to wonder what the next Kidd adventure will be because so many possibilities have been opened up!

Best Kidd book yet...but the ones that are upcoming are sure to be right on par as well!

5-0 out of 5 stars A great computer hacker crime novel...
Since there wasn't much one could do with the snow outside, I decided to finish up a novel I started yesterday. It is The Hanged Man's Song by John Sandford. I like Sandford's Prey series with Lucas Davenport, but I don't think I've read any of his Kidd novels. Kidd is a painter and a hacker who lives pretty much on the wrong side of the laws when it comes to computer crime. In this installment, an uber-hacker known as "Bobby" is murdered and his laptop is stolen. When incriminating stories about government officials and programs start hitting the news, it becomes obvious that the person who stole the laptop was able to break the encryption codes and unleash the attacks until he gets what he is after. Kidd needs to stop him in order to prevent his own life from coming to an end if there is damaging information about him contained in the files.

The writing is tight and realistic, and if you're at all into computer crime novels you'll enjoy this one a lot.

3-0 out of 5 stars Hackers, Whackers, What?
This is a very slow moving story, in which criminals (hacker Kidd and his burglar friend LuEllen) are trying to catch another criminal and fail lousy. The other gangsters in the story are politicians; this part is somewhat in sync with Fahrenheit 9/11 with the only contrast that one is a documentary and this one is fiction. I was trying to be entertained by this book, but fell asleep over and over again. The story is very nerve soothing. In case you need a tranquilizer read this book!

5-0 out of 5 stars A Glimpse of the Future, or is the Future Here Today?
Kidd is a computer hacker par excellence who is also into painting. He hacks information and sells it to the highest bidder. Kidd's friend and sidekick LuEllen is a cat burglar who is usually involved in Kidd's shady schemes. When they learn their friend Bobby, a super hacker, has been hacked to death and his hard drive stolen, they are determined to find Bobby's killer. For two reasons, Bobby was their friend and there could be damning evidence against Kidd on that drive. While trying to catch the Killer, Kidd and LuEllen uncover a secret government organization, not a lot unlike what we have going on in Washington now that is apparently legal, that is illegally monitoring U.S. Citizens in the name of national security. It appears the info on Bobby's hard drive is also damning to some high level government types and it also appears that once again Mr. Sandford has written a super thriller.

5-0 out of 5 stars Always a favorite with me John Sandford has gone over
the top with this cyber thriller. Crooks and spies and burglars oh my! There is truly nothing this novel does not have. Starting with a brutal, seemingly senseless murder this book careens us through a sub-world of sleaze and mayhem.

The fascinating fact is that you cannot help but attach yourself to Kidd and LuAnne in their quest for the murderer of Bobby. Bobby who himself was a conundrum..shrewd and secretive.. he held many lives in his hands or rather in his computer.And now that computer itself was gone; floating around perhaps in cyberspace itsef. In the wrong or maybe even the right hands, it could destroy or end other lives.

I loved this book. The narrative is fast-paced and compelling and it is a crime/action scenario. It sling-shots you from one chapter to the next. Very 'today'! Clear in what it has to say and why it has to say it. If you like your heart to speed up and your brain to seek out solutions...read this one. Thanks for a very enjoyable read,JS! ... Read more


4. Vixen 03
by CLIVE CUSSLER
list price: $7.99
our price: $7.19
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0553273906
Catlog: Book (1984-09-01)
Publisher: Bantam
Sales Rank: 17598
Average Customer Review: 3.96 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (23)

2-0 out of 5 stars I don't know if this was the usual Cussler fare.
When I started Vixen03, I thought I'd get some oldtime, classic Clive. Instead, after reading about 200 pages of it, I wasn't so sure what I was reading. Sure Dirk gets it on with Loren, drives his old car around, and fights off some old geezers, but it wasn't the same. The transition between Africa and the American parts left me wondering what was going on. oooo, the psychosamatic white guy living in Africa whose family was torched was really disturbed. So what. I'd read 10 pages and still be back at square one. Who really cares about what the stupid African kingpin was doing anyway? It didn't even say if he was involved! In conclusion, Vixen 03 was probably the boringest Pitt novel I've read.

3-0 out of 5 stars disappointed....
i have loved 10 other dirk pitt novels, but this one just didn't do it.....

2-0 out of 5 stars TOO MUCH TALK
This book started out really good. Out of all the beggining were a ship was destroyed this had the best. AT first i thought that it was just getting off to a slow start. I thought that with all this boring stuff that they would at least put on a great ending action part. I was wrong. This has Giorodino in it for about two secounds, and Dirk Pitt takes forever to fight in the end. I have enjoyed all other Dirk Pitt books that I have read except Raise the Titanic. So Check out the other ones and forget about this one.

5-0 out of 5 stars This One Is Great!
If you love Cussler, or even if this is your first of his to read, you're going to love it. Perfect summer reading when you don't want to have to think too much.

5-0 out of 5 stars Cussler delivers....as usual!
Clive Cussler never fails to excite, and intrigue. This is one of his BEST books! If you're a Cussler fan who's never read Vixen, or just the average adventure/spy/action novel fan, this book is a sure fire hit. ... Read more


5. Red Storm Rising
by Tom Clancy
list price: $7.99
our price: $7.19
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 042510107X
Catlog: Book (1997-07-01)
Publisher: Berkley Publishing Group
Sales Rank: 21673
Average Customer Review: 4.59 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

2 cassettes / 2 hours
Read by F. Murray Abraham

"Allah!"

With that shrill cry, three Muslim terrorists blow up a key Soviet oil complex, creating a critical oil shortage that threatens the stability of the USSR.

To offer the effects of this disaster, members of the Politburo and the KGB devise a brilliant plan of diplomatic trickery - a sequence of events designed to pit the NATO allies against each other - a distraction calculated to enable the Soviets to seize all the oil in the Persian Gulf.

But as this spellbinding story of international intrigue and global politics nears its climax, the Soviets are faced with another prospect, one they hadn't planned on: a full-scale conflict in which nobody can win.

... Read more

Reviews (238)

5-0 out of 5 stars The Most Enthralling WAR Book of All Time
Red Storm Rising begins with a rogue group of Muslim terrorists destroying Russia's most important oil refinery. Remember, this book was written while Russia was still a Communist country, and is still known as the Soviet Union. Russia's Party leaders eventually "agree" that they must seize oil from the Persian Gulf to keep their economy from falling. But, to draw the NATO forces from the area, they must launch a massive ground and air assault against Germany and other European nations. With this they also plan to put political pressure on these NATO countries. Air supiority is key for all fronts: land and sea. Iceland, as one would guess is an important air and naval base. From the SAMs and torpedos in the Atlantic, the dogfights and bombing runs in the air, and tanks and artillery fire on the once beautiful German landscape, the action never misses a beat in this engrossing page turner that will keep a reader with an intent focus on getting to the next suspenseful battle. Red Storm Rising perfectly mixes character development and explosive action which will make sense to anyone who has heard of the military and WWII. Unlike other Clancy books, this one doesn't focus on one character, instead it has many characters one will come to like and might even admire. None of this book feels stale or terse because no one author has ever attempted to write such a complex book to my knowledge.(This book was written by two people though: Tom Clancy and Larry Bond) If you are a fan of Tom Clancy, this is a must-read, and if you are not I would still whole-heartidly recommend this book as an excellent read. BAR-NONE.

5-0 out of 5 stars Superb speculation about WW3 with the Soviets!
This is probably the best novel ever written that speculates about what a conventional war between NATO and the old Soviet Union would have been like, circa 1985 or so. Of course, when the book was written the Soviet Union still existed, and the possibility of such a war was all too real. Despite the changes in the world since that time, this novel is still highly entertaining and interesting, if perhaps somewhat less relevant.

Without putting out any spoilers, the plot of the novel is straightforward. The Soviet Union suffers a catastrophic failure of its internal fuel/oil supplies, which its leaders learn will soon bring the Soviet economy to its knees. Rather than deciding to deal with this setback through trade and negotiations, the Soviet leadership, dominated by hard-liners, decides to seize the Middle East oil fields immediately following a blitzkrieg campaign against NATO (to distract NATO from intervening in the Middle East). Therein lies the story.

Clancy does an excellent job showing us a scenario of rising tension and the preparations by the Soviets for the surprise attack. His speculations as regards Soviet strategy, while imaginative, are very reasonable and plausible. In fact, supposedly the strategy in this scenario was "war-gamed" with the superb strategy game "Harpoon."

Like most Clancy novels, the character development here takes a backseat to the military-political story he is trying to tell, but the novel is fine for all that, and there are in fact some interesting characters in this book. Overall, this book is an interesting and satisfying read, moves along at a brisk pace, and always holds the reader's interest. Without giving anything away, I thought that the ending was very representative of prevailing thought and attitudes prior to the end of the Cold War.

By the way, this is one of the few true Clancy novels that is not a "Jack Ryan" novel. This is not part of the Jack Ryan "universe" and Ryan is nowhere to be found in this novel.

As always, Clancy's depiction and understanding of NATO and Soviet military hardware, strategy, and tactics, is the strength of this book. Even today, this is one to read, and most readers will enjoy reading this one more than once.

5-0 out of 5 stars good
This was the first book of his I read and it had me hooked to the novel. now i like his novels.

4-0 out of 5 stars Red Storm Rising
Red Storm Rising is an amzing book that takes place in WWIII. It happens when the USSR declares war on the middle east and NATO after they were attacked by easterners that lit their gas and oil plants on fire.
The USSR is now taking control of the war and trying to fight the USA. The final battle takes place in Iceland with the main character Bob Toland who leads the attack which finally make the Russians retreat. This then ends WWIII.
Tom Clancy is an amazing writer. He shows you this by showing what are societys real problems are. Such as, are dependecy on oil form the midlle east. This book is a must read.

4-0 out of 5 stars Red Storm Rising
I thought that the book Red Storm Rising was and amazing book.Its starts off with middle eastern men lighting oil factorinies off in Russia. Tom Clancy shows how well WWIII could eaasily happen in his story.
This is a story about the russian governmant declared war on the middle east and NATO. It shows how one coutry can be defeated so easily. Tom Clancy also shows how our world that we live in is so dependent on oil and gas, and how if one thing goes wrong countries attack each other.

Overall, this was a great book about the trigger affect. That if one thing happens it will set of a chain reaction. It also shows th main character Bob Toland and hes fight on Iceland to retreat the Russians. This was a great book about modern day war. ... Read more


6. The Hunt for Red October (Jack Ryan Novels)
by Tom Clancy
list price: $7.99
our price: $7.19
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Asin: 0425133516
Catlog: Book (1997-03-01)
Publisher: Berkley Publishing Group
Sales Rank: 18152
Average Customer Review: 4.42 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Beneath the Atlantic's chilly waters, the captain of Russia's top secret missile submarine, Red October, secretly intends to defect--and U.S. intelligence agent Jack Ryan is eager to help him succeed. The Hunt for Red October is the runaway bestseller that launched Tom Clancy's phenomenal career. A military thriller so accurate and convincing that the author was rumored to have been debriefed by the White House. This techno-thriller is complete and unabridged, with a remarkable and gripping narration by one of the audio's best readers. 10 cassettes. ... Read more

Reviews (259)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Great Read
This book is a great book, and I recommend it to everyone. It has great detail, character developement and a good amount of military intelligence. Jack Ryan, a CIA agent, is called in by the government to track down an invisible nuclear sub. The pilot of the Red October, Marko Ramius, is secretly trying to get revenge on his motherland. When he goes missing during a wargame, the entire Russian fleet searches. This excites the US government who dispatches 3 carrier groups to keep the angry Russians at bay. The USS Dallas, a top-of-the-line submarine equipped with the best sonarman in the US tracks the Red October for miles. Then, the Russians find out. This suspenseful thriller will keep you reading for hours on end. I was so into it that I read 100 pages a night. It was amazing. Other books I recommend: the Redwall series by Brian Jacques, the Jack Ryan Series by Tom Clancy, Rainbow 6 by Tom Clancy.
Bye

5-0 out of 5 stars The Hunt for Red October
If you are a person that is looking for an adventure. Someone that is looking to get lost in a book. Then you should read The Hunt for Red October. It is a suspenseful, adventure filled, mysterious ride that will leave you on the edge of your seat at every turn of a page.

I have read the book and it took me in so quickly that I couldn't put it down. Tom Clancy is an excellent author that captures the reader in the moment of the scene and almost lets them experience it for themselves. The characters are so finely detailed that you think that you have known them all your life. It is just amazing how Clancy does it and is able to do it throughout the book. This is a suspenseful adventure that keeps you thinking. Basically, this book was wonderful, and so was the movie. Clancy's technical information was amazing. He must have spent numerous hours researching for this book.

I have been reading a John Grisham book but that doesn't even come close to Clancy and his brilliance. Clancy writes with such restriction but is so free at the same time. He really knows how to build up to a fight scene or major conflict. If I had to suggest an author it would definitely have to be Clancy but second it would be Grisham. His plot is clever, with a good plot and characters. Check this book out, it is a great pick.

2-0 out of 5 stars Exciting but fundamentally flawed
I don't want to trash a really good book, but one aspect of this book is really off the mark. Tom Clancy's research is legendary so I don't know how this got by him. Captain Marko Ramius is the Lithuanian-born commanding officer on the Soviet nuclear submarine Red October. That's the problem right there. The Soviets would never, ever, ever, ever, ever let a Lithuanian (even a half Lithuanian) be captian of anything....ever. It never happened, it never would. So that ruined the beginning of the book for me.

1-0 out of 5 stars The Hunt For Red October
I was really dissapointed in this book. It's the first and only book i've read by clancy. The book starts out ok during the first few pages, but after that it gets purely ridiculous. Page after page after page of technical information on nuclear submerines.
I've heard by a lot of people that this is his best book. If thats the case then his other books must be horrible. Nothing even remotely related to suspense or action occured during the first 300 pages of the book. Clancy just BSed his way through this. Then at the end, when their was some action it was hard to follow. Everybody saying- Comrade Captain, Alfa spotted at 2-3-7 at 7 knots reduce speed by 1/3! Aye,Aye, Captain. Speed reduced by 1/3.
BS like that. So I will try another one of his books to see if it's any good. But I would not recommend this book. Its a real turnoff.

4-0 out of 5 stars Still, one of his best.
A great novel that introduced us to Jack Ryan, and kicked off the techno-thriller novel. Captain Marko Ramius, commander of the Soviet missile submarine Red October, uses his vessel as a getaway vehicle to defect to the US, and only CIA analyst Jack Ryan can convince the West of his intentions. Meanwhile, the Soviet Navy is at sea, with orders to pursue and destroy Ramius. The main story is always tense, and exciting, and the characters are quite memorable. The book does have a number of flaws, aside from the already dated plot. Like many Clancy novels, British characters are stereotyped ("Jolly good"). There are also a number of inaccuracies like F-14s dropping balloons to decoy missiles. Some of the sub-plots can be distracting and often slow the pace down, but it always picks up again when it switches back to the main story. Still, it's a much simpler, and more accessible novel than some of Clancy's later flag-waving novels. ... Read more


7. Cryptonomicon
by Neal Stephenson
list price: $16.00
our price: $9.60
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0380788624
Catlog: Book (2000-06-01)
Publisher: Perennial
Sales Rank: 7441
Average Customer Review: 4.16 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

With this extraordinary first volume in what promises to be an epoch-making masterpiece, Neal Stephenson hacks into the secret histories of nations and the private obsessions of men, decrypting with dazzling virtuosity the forces that shaped this century.

In 1942, Lawrence Pritchard Waterhouse - mathematical genius and young Captain in the U.S. Navy - is assigned to detachment 2702. It is an outfit so secret that only a handful of people know it exists, and some of those people have names like Churchill and Roosevelt. The mission of Watrehouse and Detatchment 2702-commanded by Marine Raider Bobby Shaftoe-is to keep the Nazis ignorant of the fact that Allied Intelligence has cracked the enemy's fabled Enigma code. It is a game, a cryptographic chess match between Waterhouse and his German counterpart, translated into action by the gung-ho Shaftoe and his forces.

Fast-forward to the present, where Waterhouse's crypto-hacker grandson, Randy, is attempting to create a "data haven" in Southeast Asia - a place where encrypted data can be stored and exchanged free of repression and scrutiny. As governments and multinationals attack the endeavor, Randy joins forces with Shaftoe's tough-as-nails grandaughter, Amy, to secretly salvage a sunken Nazi sumarine that holds the key to keeping the dream of a data haven afloat. But soon their scheme brings to light a massive conspiracy with its roots in Detachment 2702 linked to an unbreakable Nazi code called Arethusa. And it will represent the path to unimaginable riches and a future of personal and digital liberty...or to universal totalitarianism reborn.

A breathtaking tour de force, and Neal Stephenson's most accomplished and affecting work to date, CRYPTONOMICON is profound and prophetic, hypnotic and hyper-driven, as it leaps forward and back between World War II and the World Wide Web, hinting all the while at a dark day-after-tomorrow. It is a work of great art, thought, and creative daring; the product of a truly icon ... Read more

Reviews (682)

3-0 out of 5 stars Cleverly plotted, but overwritten and underedited
Before I read Cryptonomicon, I read comparisons to Pynchon, especially Gravity's Rainbow. Those comparisons sounded overblown, and now that I've read Stephenson's book I'd say they are foolish--Cryptonomicon comes nowhere close to Pynchon.

But being judged a lesser work than Gravity's Rainbow is hardly damning. Cryptonomicon is cleverly plotted. Stephenson sustained his narrative well enough to pull me through 900+ pages, which is no small accomplishment. If you think such profluence, as John Gardner called it, is easy, I suggest you try it for yourself. I enjoyed every night I spent with Stephenson's story.

The book *is* overwritten. I had the sense that Stephenson went off on his rambles (e.g. the Capn Crunch section) just because he could, not because they served his book. I'd estimate that about 100 pages could be whacked without harming the narrative.

Characterization? Unsubtle. The Shaftoes, in particular, are a collection of cliches, especially Bobby the Marine. I found Randy Waterhouse to be the most engaging. For me, the story, not the characters, kept my attention. I simply wanted to see what happened next.

Finally...did *anyone* proofread the page proofs? The frequent errors were a distraction.

5-0 out of 5 stars A sprawling powerhouse of a book - a 'must-read'...
Stephenson is once again showing his chops. The comparisons to Dickens (even absent the cutesy intentional anachronistic neo-Victorian touches of The Diamond Age) are becoming almost cliche but ring true.

Considering the challenges of a 900+ page book (cf. Infinite Jest, the Otherland series), the fact it takes place in two intertwined time-lines, throw in the present tense, multiple POVs, use of historically real characters (Turing, Reagan...), scientifically valid yet readable expositions of cryptography, van Eck phreaking, and the Riemannian zeta function -- you got to give the guy credit for hanging it all together pretty darn well.

I usually rush through books in a single sitting, but this one I'm savoring as I go (so I'm really only reviewing the first 400 pages - a normal book!) It's got a lot to chew on and is *amazingly* stimulating.

5-0 out of 5 stars Easily the coolest book I've ever read
I've read Cryptonomicon twice now and am convinced that while this is very tough read, it is both highly entertaining and extremely educational. Stephenson has a tendency to weigh the reader down with minutae, but it's the kind of information that'll make you hit the internet to learn even more about. The plot switches back and forth between two eras: 1940s in both the Atlantic and Pacific theaters of WWII and in present day. If you're a technically minded person interested in historical fiction, cryptography, and the evolution of currency (i know, sounds weird but is highly interesting written by Stephenson), this is a must read.

5-0 out of 5 stars High entertainment
I enjoyed this book from start to finish, and went right to the computer to order more books by the author.

The style can be a little trying -- the metaphor density is about 6 to the page -- and it can get a little arch. Still, most of the flourishes are pretty fresh, while some are genuinely startling.

One review on this site complained of the overly "freakish" characters. That's certainly fair. If your taste doesn't run to characters who are extreme outsiders, you won't enjoy the book. Personally, I found the characters engaging.

Science fiction writers like to work a Theory of Everything into their plots. This author has a handful of Theories of Everything. I didn't mind. Most of the theories were interesting enough to serve as enhancements of the story rather than annoying digressions.

5-0 out of 5 stars "Glory"
Plot Summary: How to summarize this plot...Well, It starts with 2 professors and 1 student riding bikes at a late 1930's Princeton talking about zeta functions and building a machine to do calculations. Then there are WWII stories from Bobby Shaftoe's and Lawrence Waterhouse's (the student above) very different perspectives. They are both part of a code-breaking part of the US military where Waterhouse is one of the chief enemy code crackers, along with Alan Turing for the British from the bike ride above, and Shaftoe one of the soldiers carrying out seemingly strange orders to make the results of these cracked codes look like random occurances. It takes a long time in the book for Shaftoe to realize the true agenda behind 90% of his missions. Waterhouse has added large sections to the Cryptonomicon, the compendium of all crypto knowledge, as a result of his work. The other part of the story involves Randy Waterhouse (grandson of Lawrence) and his new company Epiphyte trying to develop a data haven in the south Pacific and the various legal and technical troubles that it involves and the enemies they accrue. Randy and co. meet up with the Shaftoe descendants as part of a surveying and cable laying venture in the Philippines. One of the WWII era characters, Enoch Root, starts emailing Randy Waterhouse messages concerning a certain crypto system that was not broken during the war. This is the same secret code that Randy's grandfather Lawrence was also working on in his lifetime incidentally. Eventually, almost every decendant of a war era character, if not that character himself, becomes involved in what becomes a large treasure hunt. The plot is in no way as simplistic and boring as I made it sound, despite the seemingly boring subject matter of cryptography and digital currency may be.

Opinion: This is a long book, but I loved it. It is incredibly funny at several points and had me chuckling out loud. The 2 main plotlines are pretty seperate for like 700 of the 900 pages but come together in a very nice way. I liked the writing style most of the time. Long, train-of-thought sentences, very descriptive. It drew a nice mental picture of things. The story was very engaging all around and I never felt like the novel was dragging. The characters were very believable. I'm an engineer and didn't get lost in any of the technical, code-breaking and cryptological discussions, some people might. There are graphs in this book which usually deal with something like Lawrence's work performance vs. how many times he has ejaculated and how to optimize his work, so don't be intimidated with those, they are tangents most of the time. For the super nerdy among us, there is a complete description of the "Solitaire" encryption method in the Appendix...not to mention a PERL script in the text somewhere around page 450.

Recommendation: Read it. 5 out of 5 stars. Did I mention this is funny? I will be reading more Stephenson due to how much I enjoyed this book. ... Read more


8. Patriot Games (Jack Ryan Novels)
by Tom Clancy
list price: $7.99
our price: $7.19
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0425109720
Catlog: Book (1992-05-01)
Publisher: Berkley Publishing Group
Sales Rank: 13596
Average Customer Review: 4.29 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Tom Clancy's Patriot Games is filled with the exceptional realism and authenticity that distinguished the author's two previous bestsellers, Hunt for Red October and Red Storm Rising. Patriot Games puts us on the cutting edge of another type of war -- the international battle of terrorism.

Years before the defection of a Soviet submarine will send him hurtling into confrontation with the Soviets in Red October, Jack Ryan, historian, ex-marine, and CIA analyst, is vacationing in London when the Ulster Liberation Army makes a terrorist attack on the Prince and Princess of Wales. By instinctively diving forward to break up the attack, he gains both the gratitude of a nation and the hatred of its most dangerous men. Jack Ryan must summon all of the skills and knowledge at his command to battle back against his nemesis.

Patriot Games is a major new film from Paramount starring Harrison Ford.

Two Casettes. ... Read more

Reviews (149)

5-0 out of 5 stars Best-selling Author Strikes Again!!!
Best selling author Tom Clancy's third book, Patriot Games, is an excellent action/drama story. Jack Ryan, the main character, is on vacation in London with his wife, Cathy, and his daughter, Sally. Jack is meeting his wife and daughter, at an outside restaurant when a bomb goes off. Jack sees the Royal Family's limousine being attacked by terrorists. Jack takes out the terrorists and saves the Royal Family from death, and becomes a hero to London.
There is action and suspense in Patriot Games, but you'll have to read the book to find out more.
This book is definably NOT for younger readers. With over 25 F-words and 14 Sh- words, intense violence, sex, and gore, Patriot Games for mature teenagers and adults. But all in all, the book has very good detail, plot, and it is very easy reading. There are 540 pages.

4-0 out of 5 stars Jack Ryan's First Adventure!
International terrorism is the topic Clancy tackles in his novel, 'Patriot Games.' When history teacher and sometime CIA anylist Jack Ryan intervenes in an IRA hit on the Prince of Wales, he soon finds himself a political target. When his family is attacked in Baltimore Ryan again goes to work for the CIA in the hopes of stopping the terrorists. While the story is gripping and the action scenes fast-paced and exciting, the first two hundred pages of the book are for the most part slow. If you're a patient reader you should get through it okay. The ending is a climax in the great Clancy tradition and the characters, as always, are people you'd like to know. There is much more in the book than in the movie, but it's essentially the same story. On the whole it's a great first ride for Jack Ryan.

5-0 out of 5 stars Must Read!
This book is excellent. I have read two other Clancy books before and this was my first plunge into the so-called Jack Ryan series. It absolutely confirmed my interest in this series. I recommend any reader interested in counter-terrorism and military action to read this work.

4-0 out of 5 stars My first Clancy novel. Still my favorite.
After this I found Tom Clancy's novels unnecessarily long and sometimes rather boring when he goes into long passages of Military descriptions and technical info. There's fifteen pages in Executive Decision devoted solely to explaining how Jack Ryan is drinking his coffee. That's a bit much, and explains why his novel was over 1200 pages long.

However before he went overboard Clancy struck gold with this one. Addictive, sometimes a bit boring but with a killer ending (literally!). Better than the movie. I own all of Clancy's books - this is still my favorite.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Book
I love to read Tom Clancy and this would have to be my favorite book that I have read of his. Including The Hunt for Red October and Red Storm Rising. The characters are developed nicely such as the transition of Jack Ryan and his family. There's a balanced amount of action and setting of the plot. Theres also not as many technical details as in The Bear and the Dragon. All in all this is a great book. ... Read more


9. Shock Wave (Dirk Pitt Adventures (Paperback))
by Clive Cussler
list price: $7.99
our price: $7.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0671000306
Catlog: Book (1996-12-01)
Publisher: Pocket
Sales Rank: 11876
Average Customer Review: 4.24 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Dirk Pitt® is the world's greatest adventure hero -- a man of action who lives by his wits and daring. As Special Projects Director for the U.S. National Underwater and Marine Agency (NUMA), he is cool and courageous, with a love of fast cars and extreme danger.

After an unknown force kills thousands of marine animals plus nearly two hundred people aboard a cruise ship, Dirk Pitt traces the destruction back to a merciless Australian millionaire. From a chilling escape at a high-security diamond mine to a tiny boat adrift on lonely, shark-infested seas, the ingenious Dirk Pitt races to stop a madman's ruthless plans -- before an unthinkable disaster claims millions of innocent lives! ... Read more

Reviews (87)

5-0 out of 5 stars THE BEST DIRK PITT BOOK EVER!
I have read Inca Gold, Sahara, Cyclops, Dragon, Vixen 03, and Shock Wave. They were all very good but I still think Shock Wave is the best. The ending has more action and is more suspenseful and entertaining than all of his other books, well....out of the ones that I have read. I haven't read Flood Tide yet so I can't say for sure but it really seems like Cussler is getting better and better with every new book. The only thing that I find kind of unbelievable in his books is that Dirk Pitt is a little too invincable. I love that he never gives up and is a strong and powerful character, but sometimes Cussler exagerates just a little too much.

4-0 out of 5 stars Sci-Fi meets Reality
It's interesting to note the other reader's variety of taste in reading material. This book was my introduction to Clive Cussler's style and action. Normally, I dislike science fiction, but this one made it tolerable and nearly believable.

Like some of the other reviewers, it's difficult to believe one man could survive the injuries that Pitt sustained, but I'm glad he did, and continued on... (He has to survive or there would be no more Dirk Pitt novels.)

The twists and turns in this novel are so original and surprising that I couldn't believe there were any more surprises, and was wrong. They were outstanding.

What I appreciated the most was the use of the English language. When the majority of modern writers resort to totally foul and disgusting language, Clive Cussler uses other choices from the dictionary that make you 'think'. Halleluja! ...and thank you, Mr. Cussler.

By the way, I wondered if C.C. uses his name in other books for a minor character. That tickled me. (The scientist in the cave.)

5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Wonderful Wondeful
My mom has read Clive CUssler for years. I on the other hand thought the book jackets always sounded a little to action adventurious(SP?) for my taste. Well I picked up this book used and thought why not. I absolutely loved it. I am a fast reader and was completly absorbed into this story and finished it in 2 hours. Dirk Pitt is such a wonderful character he combines all the parts of man you love and hate. As soon as i finished I caled my mom and borrowed all of hers and am currently reading them in order and even the first ones seem to be of the same caliber. I personally love mysteries and this combines a good mystery wih some grat action and the descriptions are so wonderful I can just picture them in my head. I love that he gives the background of the story and hen beautiful moves into the newer story. Wondeful!!!!!

4-0 out of 5 stars "Mind-boggling Action To The Extreme"
The best way to describe this book . . . Freakin' awesome! I've seen Dirk Pitt in some unbelieveable life and death situations, but this time Cussler outdid himself. Setting Pitt, his buddy Al Giordino and Maeve Fletcher (the very nice estranged daughter of the very evil Arthur Dorsett) out to sea on an unpowered boat, then watching the three use all their wits to survive made for some of the most intense and jaw dropping scenes in the book. Dorsett is definitely among my favorite Cussler villains. He and his other two daughters were some of the most depraved people Cussler has ever come up with. I also really liked the more prominent role NUMA boss Admiral Sandecker took on as he circumvented the White House in order to stop Dorsett's mining operation before it kills millions. You really see how far Sandecker will go in order to do the right thing. An incredible and emotional end as Pitt and company assault Dorsett's island. I've always said Cussler can spin one hell of a tale, and in "Shockwave" he did not disappoint.

4-0 out of 5 stars Shockwave
Shockwave a book by Clive Cussler is a very good book, it's about a new weapon that has been developed and is threatning to the world which causes the character Dirk Pitt a NUMA agent who has to help put a end to the weapon for the safety of the world. You have to take the book for what it is. There have been many of books that have to do with the same subject just not much of them are written as good with detail in the plot. A good thing about Clive Cussler books is that they all have very diffrent plots one could be about a secret weapon threatning the world and another could be about find some secret artifact lost from existance for thousands of years. Comparing this book to others that kids like to read like The Lord of the Ring's or Harry Potter. Clive's books on the other hand have to deal with different things and not fantasy beings. ... Read more


10. Sphere
by MICHAEL CRICHTON
list price: $7.99
our price: $7.19
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0345353145
Catlog: Book (1988-07-12)
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Sales Rank: 21197
Average Customer Review: 4.43 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

Jurassic Park author Michael Crichton is possibly the best science teacher for the masses since H.G. Wells, and Sphere, his thriller about a mysterious spherical spaceship at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean, is classic Crichton. A group of not-very-complex characters (portrayed in the film by Sharon Stone, Dustin Hoffman, Samuel L. Jackson, and Queen Latifah) assemble to solve a cleverly designed roller coaster of a mystery while attempting (with mixed success) to avoid sudden death and expounding (much more successfully) on the latest, coolest scientific ideas, including the existence of black holes. Somehow, Crichton manages to convey the complicated stuff in utterly simplistic prose, making him, as his old pal Steven Spielberg puts it, "the high priest of high concept." Yet there is more to Crichton than science and big-ticket show biz. He is also, as any reader of his startling memoir Travels knows, a bit of a mystic--he is entirely open to notions spouted by spoon-bending psychics that most science writers would scorn. Sphere is not only a gratifying sci-fi suspense tale; it also reflects Crichton's keen interest in the unexplained powers of the human mind. When something passes through a black hole in Crichton's fiction, a lesson is learned. The book also contains another profound lesson: when you're staring down a giant squid with an eyeball the size of a dinner plate, don't blink first. ... Read more

Reviews (654)

5-0 out of 5 stars Enter the Unknown
I have recently read Sphere by Michael Crichton. I found this book to be filled with adventure and intrigue. It follows a very intelligent psychologist, Norman Johnson. He is sent to what he thinks is a plane crash site. He normally goes to them to help the families cope with the loss of loved ones. He thought it was just a routine job and that he would be home shortly, he was wrong. The government called him in to research an underwater spacecraft with a team of experienced scientists. He set up the team and went underwater into a habitat to study the craft. He gets more and more involved as the team enters the craft. The suspense starts to build up when they enter the ship and terrible things happen to the crew. As they venture further into the craft they find a shiny silver ball about the size of a large merchant ship. They enter the ship and that's when everything goes wrong. The sphere seems to be able to look into their minds and know what they are thinking. It will carry out the task that that person is thinking about. As the story develops more, each team member gets scared for their lives and starts to distrust one another. The sphere begins to carry out terrible tasks and many team members lose their sense of sanity. Norman has to take complete control of the team and make sure that the rest stays sane and in a working manner. As the sphere gets more and more violent, the team has to make a choice between leaving and forgetting about a scientific breakthrough or continue on with their important investigation.

5-0 out of 5 stars Rival to the Mighty Jurassic Park?
Sphere was one of the few books I ever speed-read. I finished it in one three-day weekend in 7th grade and loved every minute of it. Although, as is usual for Crichton, the last 20 pages were disappointing, the last 2 pages made up for it completely. The ending leaves you guessing about who did what: Do they still have "The Power"? I've debated this with a friend of mine who has read the book, she thinks they all forgot it, I think only the one lady kept it, and it appears some people on here think they all remembered. I guess only the soon-to-be-released movie will tell us truly (hopefully). This is one of, if not the, greatest Crichton books ever written. Like all his other books, it has a different subject than most are used to and it is no way similar in subject to his other books. The style is mostly the same, and you can see big flashing signs of "CRICHTON" throughout the book. A true great.

5-0 out of 5 stars great sci fi
basically.....this book is GOOD. if u love sci fi and michael crichton....you'll love this too.....very suspenseful and it isnt boring for the first 100 pages like mosst books....it keeps you thinking and thinking untill the end.

5-0 out of 5 stars this was the 2nd best book i ever read
Oh My God. Wow. This Book is Awsome. A must read. I watch the movie, and the book was much better. The ending was the best.

5-0 out of 5 stars Another Micheal Crichton masterpiece!
This book is truly great. Michael Crichton has the ability to create great thrillers like this. The plot is great and I couldn't put it down. I think one of my favorite moments was when they are talking to the computer and it decides it's going to try to kill them. This book is a must read for any Crichton/science-fiction fan. ... Read more


11. Hidden Agendas (Tom Clancy's Net Force, No. 2)
by Tom Clancy
list price: $7.99
our price: $7.19
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0425171396
Catlog: Book (1999-10-01)
Publisher: Berkley Publishing Group
Sales Rank: 167101
Average Customer Review: 2.45 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Read by Kerry Shale
3 CDs, 4 hours

In the year 2010, computers are the new superpower.Those who control them control the world.To enforce the New Laws, Congress creates the ultimate computer security agency with the FBI: the Net Force.

Instructions on how to make a bomb...a list of every U.S. spy in the Euro-Asian theater...Someone with access to classified information is posting it on the Internet-and it's costing lives.Net Force Commander Alex Michaels is in the hot seat.Now, before a hostile Senate committee, he must justify the very existence of the Net Force.

Meanwhile, a virus is unleashed that throws the federal financial systems into chaos.And the Net Force operatives must hunt the wily hacker through the twists and turns of cyberspace-down a path that leads them dangerously close to home...
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Reviews (44)

4-0 out of 5 stars Hidden Agendas By: Tom Clancy
This was an interesting book. It was easy to follow and not that hard to comprehend. It starts in the year 2010 and tells of the Net Force, the group that is in charge of the safety of the Internet. A conflict arises when they have to figure out who is hacking into the Internet.

One character who stands out in my mind is Alex Michaels. He is the Commander of the Force. He is an honorable man who wouldn't stop working until he found out who was hacking into the Internet. Also, he wouldn't let his affair with a co-worker interfere with his job. This shows that he is both a hard worker and an honorable man.

I truly enjoyed reading this book. Once I got into it, it was extremely difficult to put down. When I chose this book, I thought it was going to be stupid, so I didn't want to read it, but I'm glad I did. I would recommend this book more to adults then children. It doesn't seem like a book someone younger would enjoy, but I think that older people would enjoy reading it.

3-0 out of 5 stars Not Clancy but OK for a light read
First thing to establish is Tom Clancy did not write this book. I don't know why he puts his name on it, but the "Net Force" books are OK if you want something that is easy to read and doesn't make you think too hard.

The books are best read in sequence - I made the mistake of buying "Night Moves" and reading that first, before I realised it was a series.

I like the parallel stories a lot and the romantic angle between Alex and Toni prevents it all from being military tactics (which I also enjoy a lot).

One disappointing thing for me about "Net Force" is the name of the military head "Col. John Howard". Well, I am Australian and "John Howard" is the name of our Prime Minister. Whenever I read the name, I imagine a short, balding little weazel! Maybe Clancy and Steve Perry should check stuff like that out before they name their characters!

Conclusion: Good for a light read when you don't want to concentrate too much.

3-0 out of 5 stars Can summarize This Book in One Sentence...
About 300 Pages of great story telling, but then an extra 200 page of complete nothing.

Most of the book was great and entertaining, but for a good part of it I read stuff that didnt seem to have any relevance to the plot whatsoever and could quite frankly be left out of the book without changing the story at all.
But I did enjoy the book overall, even though it should only have been a 300 page book.

1-0 out of 5 stars Clancy - Be very ashamed
If you normally read Clancy because he writes well researched, feasible and well paced thrillers, then don't bother with this one. Clancy should be embarrassed putting his name to this pap. It is a story that is not only very unlikely but is poorly imagined and poorly written.

Write it yourself next time and read your ghost's copy before going to press.

4-0 out of 5 stars An entertaining book.
The year is 2010 and Net Force's Jay Gridley is cruising along in his viper, looking for clues. He's in a race with fellow computer geek, Joanna Winthorp, a tall and beautiful woman, to find out who is behind this latest adventure.

This Tom Clancy created (not written) novel continues the series with a new adventure for the gang at Net Force. From budding office romances, to armed assualts, you'll tag along with them as they search for clues to who is leaking classified and potentially deadly information on the internet.

All in all this is an enjoyable book and and easy read. ... Read more


12. The Circuit: Stories from the Life of a Migrant Child
by Francisco Jimenez
list price: $10.95
our price: $8.21
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0826317979
Catlog: Book (1997-09-01)
Publisher: University of New Mexico Press
Sales Rank: 32088
Average Customer Review: 4.55 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Cajas de cartón is the first title in the literary series Nuestra visión: U.S. Latino Literature, which features original works by Latino authors living and working in the United States. This work is the Spanish version of the author's award-winning collection of stories, The Circuit. Jiménez' 12 independent but intertwined short stories chronicle the experiences of a Mexican-American family of migrant farm laborers, as narrated by one of the children, Panchito. Unlike many readers for this level, which anthologize standard works, this book presents authentic, outstanding literature and themes that are highly relevant to native Spanish speakers in the U.S.

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Reviews (11)

5-0 out of 5 stars A must read for all ages
Francisco Jimenez brilliantly captures the voice of the young Panchito and the struggles and triumphs of his migrant family. The issue of Mexican immigration has become become hotly bebated, causing us to sometimes lose sight of the human vioce of those about which we so passionately talk. Jimenez's stories transform our understanding of Mexican sojourners, moving us from an abstract understanding of Mexican immigrantion to a more humane frame of mind. In essence, these twelve short-stories enable us to bear witness so that we may make a compassionate connection with those people who are represented by Jimenez's stories. What is more, the style with which Jimenez writes makes this book enjoyable for all ages. The Circuit should propel Jimenez into an arena with the great Chicano authors of our time.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Story of Democratic Justice Though the Eyes of a Child
Author - Jimenez, Francisco. The Circuit: Stories from the Life of a Migrant Child.

Publisher - University of New Mexico Press, 1997

Short Summary - A small book with huge heart, broken and mended over and over again, Jimenez voices the common "stories of many migrant children of yesterday and today", but not before asking "their forgiveness for taking the liberty to write about them." Many of the experiences shared bite like a bitter wind at the reader's heart. In his stories, tangible truths about what it is to live life in America rise out of the mists of these many invisible lives. Surviving some of the loneliest childhood moments, the boy teaches even more about life than he learns. Transformation of the spirit, like the delicate beauty of a butterfly's colors, belongs equally to all people. The poorest migrant boy who has nothing shows one who has everything how anything of value can only be kept by giving it away. When the boy, Francisco, learns to say, "It's yours," in English, the reader believes in miracles, and that miracles speak in all languages to all classes and races. 134 pages

Brief Evaluation - While green may not be a popular color for readers of this book, the stories receive the "green light" for readers to move forward, through the pages and beyond. Rates highly for poignancy and for shedding light on the on-going debates about the democracy and the development of social justice in the United States. Recommendations using VOYA evaluation codes: 5 for Quality/ 3 for popularity. A superior book for readers from late elementary into adulthood.

Read Aloud - pages 112-134, a deeply moving introduction to study of the Declaration of Independence
Literary Principle - Irony

Titles of similar interest For other interesting reading experiences, see:
Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan; Crossing Over: a Mexican Family on the Migrant Trail by Ruben Martinez; Baseball in April, and Other Stories by Gary Soto; Lost Garden by Laurence Yep; A Girl From Yamhill by Beverly Cleary; Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes and Louis Slobodkin; Istanbul Boy: the Autobiography of Aziz Nesin, Part I, translated by Joseph S Jacobson; The Beet Fields: Memories of a Sixteenth Summer by Gary Paulsen; For advanced readers, try The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck or, something a little shorter, In Dubious Battle by John Steinbeck. Others books by Francisco Jimenez are Breaking Through, La Mariposa, and The Christmas Gift/El Regalo de Navidad.

(...)

2-0 out of 5 stars The Pope vs The Circuit
If you want to forget your troubles and focus on someone else's, then read this book "The Circuit" by Francisco Jimenez. If you are looking for a book which is entertaining, enlightening, informative, inspirational, or even slightly interesting, look elsewhere. I would give this book a two out of ten for interest, five out of ten for content, and ten out of ten for realism, and I can safely say I will not read this book again.

The story is about Francisco Jimenez, whose parents sneak across the border with him into California in the hopes of a better life. While his parents work at various farms around the country, Francisco struggles with life as a poor illiterate Latino child growing up in America. Hardly the plot for much excitement or adventure. I honestly believe a biography about the Pope written by an eighty year old blind priest would be more interesting.

This book was alright in context, but it completely lacked sense of exploration or depth. I would say this book is best for a young child, someone still amused by Powderpuff girls and Pokemon, but not someone looking for an entertaining, enlightening, informative, or inspirational autobiography. If I am going to read a book about someone else's life, I would hope it would be something I can relate to, which is exciting, insightful, and most importantly, being interesting enough to be worthy of my time. This book however, was not.

(...)

4-0 out of 5 stars vivid without being polemic
A collection of interrelated stories based on the author's experience as an illegal immigrant from Mexico in the late 1940s, working with his family as a migrant laborer. Exposes hardships without being didactic. Ambiguous. Makes me feel what it would be like to be poor in a country where I didn't speak the language. A nice companion to books like Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry or Out of the Dust. Ages 10+

4-0 out of 5 stars Unparalleled Compassion
Francisco Jimenez doesn't preach, he doesn't tell, he doesn't demand that you change your views about the migrant population in the US; he does tell a story of a migrant family with more tenderness than I have read anywhere. He doesn't rely on dramatic anecdotes to relay his point, but rather allows the realistic simplicity of the stories to speak for themselves. Doing so makes the stories all the more meaninful, as the reader never feels like he is being told exagerated accounts of a migrant child's life. ... Read more


13. Wild Card (Power Plays)
by Jerome Preisler
list price: $7.99
our price: $7.19
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0425199118
Catlog: Book (2004-11-02)
Publisher: Berkley Publishing Group
Sales Rank: 6756
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14. Utopia
by LINCOLN CHILD
list price: $6.99
our price: $6.29
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0345455207
Catlog: Book (2003-12-02)
Publisher: Fawcett
Sales Rank: 14270
Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Fasten your seat belts–the white-knuckle thrills at Utopia, the world’s most fantastic theme park, escalate to nightmare proportions in this intricately imagined techno-thriller by New York Times bestselling author Lincoln Child.

Rising out of the stony canyons of Nevada, Utopia is a world on the cutting edge of technology. A theme park attracting 65,000 visitors each day, its dazzling array of robots and futuristic holograms make it a worldwide sensation. But ominous mishaps are beginning to disrupt the once flawless technology. A friendly robot goes haywire, causing panic, and a popular roller coaster malfunctions, nearly killing a teenaged rider. Dr. Andrew Warne, the brilliant computer engineer who designed much of the park’s robotics, is summoned from the East Coast to get things back on track.

On the day Warne arrives, however, Utopia is caught in the grip of something far more sinister. A group of ruthless criminals has infiltrated the park’s computerized infrastructure, giving them complete access to all of Utopia’s attractions and systems. Their communication begins with a simple and dire warning: If their demands are met, none of the 65,000 people in the park that day will ever know they were there; if not, chaos will descend, and every man, woman, and child will become a target. As one of the brains behind Utopia, Warne finds himself thrust into a role he never imagined–trying to save the lives of thousands of innocent people. And as the minutes tick away, Warne’s struggle to outsmart his opponents grows ever more urgent, for his only daughter is among the unsuspecting crowds in the park.

Lincoln Child evokes the technological wonders of Utopia with such skill and precision it is hard to believe the park exists only in the pages of this extraordinary book. Like Jurassic Park, Utopia sweeps readers into a make-believe world of riveting suspense, technology, and adventure.

UTOPIA -- Where technology dazzles–and then turns deadly!
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Reviews (59)

5-0 out of 5 stars An egrossing read, certainly a master of the thriller
I have just finished reading Utopia - and, as a fan of the Preston and Child duo, I feel that this beats certain favourites including Relic !

The story is well thought out, although I was worried it was going to be another "westworld" - but it certainly isn't anything like it. As a fan of theme park mechanics I am amazed how much research Lincoln Child put into this. I have to complain that the depthness of the main characters are not as good as when he teams with Doug - but its certainly not important as the story takes you along a rollercoaster thrill ride (excuse the pun) from page to page !

Just like all of the Preston/Child books - you get half way through, second guessing what is about to happen, and confused at the remaining hundred pages or so ! But suddenly, the story twists and you're immediately back in the plot, running through a fantasy world of intrigue and close disasters !

Lincoln Child is writing a second book - yet he still co-writes with Douglas Preston - at the rate they are starting to churn out these awesome stories, my only hope is that the quality remains and continues to keep me in suspense !

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent solo debut
After seven great novels (and one in the can) with Douglas Preston, Lincoln Child decided to stretch his legs as a solo writer with "Utopia". As a long time fan of the two, I couldn't have been more impressed with the result. Like his collaborative efforts, "Utopia" offers a genuinely original story wrapped up in all kinds of neat technology. What makes "Utopia" shine, though, is the excellent back-story and the superb characters.

"Utopia" is set in an amusement park of the same name, but this isn't just any amusement park. It is an enormous glass dome in the middle of the Nevada desert. Inside, one can find astonishingly realistic recreations of Victorian England, a turn of the Century American seaside boardwalk, Camelot and a futuristic spaceport (and, Atlantis: Coming Soon!). Of course each area includes the most fantastic rides one can imagine, as well as restaurants, live shows, reasonably priced forty dollar t-shirts and...casinos. Moreover, Utopia is the owner of hundreds of patents relating to holograms , robotics and computing.

As one might imagine, all of this money and technology makes for a tempting target, and right on cue, John Doe appears to insert chaos into this little piece of paradise. At the same time, Andrew Warne, the creator of the park's robots, arrives to troubleshoot some strange problems that have been occurring (with daughter in tow). As mayhem breaks loose in the park, Warne struggles to decipher Doe's plan, and stop him before it's too late.

The story is unlike anything I have ever encountered before; a rare unique effort in a world of rehashed ideas. But it was the characters that impressed me the most. In addition to capturing their current concerns and fears beautifully, Child is constantly dropping little hints about their pasts: where they came from, what they do, who they love, etc. At the same time, he never let's himself get distracted; he doesn't diverge from the story, but rather inserts little asides to flesh out the characters without delving into reams of details. He is particularly successful with John Doe in this regard, and the result is a compelling, but mysterious character.

"Utopia" is a fast paced thriller with a lot of heart. Wrapped in a high-tech wonderland, there are characters with believable, rich lives. The pacing, structure and use of language are all likewise excellent. I have to admit, having been a long time fan of Child's joint work, I was concerned about his decision to go solo. I needn't have been, as "Utopia" is an excellent novel by any measure. Now I just have to wait eagerly for Preston's solo effort later this year!

5-0 out of 5 stars A very good story. 4 1/2 stars, I rounded up.
Utopia is a 21 century amusement park, the most advanced park in the world. Utopia is made up of four (a fifth to open soon) different "worlds" under a dome. Camelot, a midieval world; Callisto, a futuristic space-station world; Gaslight, a turn-of the century London themed world; Boardwalk, themed after those turn-of-the-century parks located near a beach; and soon to open Atlantis, themed after the lost-continent of the same name.
The story takes place during one day. The park is running smoothly, when terrorists quietly let themselves be known to the big-wigs, making demands or causing terror. Dr. Andrew "Drew" Warne, a robotics expert from Carnegie-Mellen University, visiting the park as an external-specialist, finds himself doing more than what was expected, but instead leading the way to saving the park and it's visitors.

Utopia is a beautifully written book, sometimes the descriptions and thoughts written within the story will remind you of a good-piece of fast moving literature. I very much enjoyed reading this, and found it exceptionally hard to put down and I actually cared about the characters. Even some of the terrorists were intellectual and fun to read about.
There were just a few problems with the book, however. The character of Georgia, Warne's daughter, seems, for 14 years old, to act both too young and too old. Also I truly hated Sarah Boatwright, the Chief of Operations of the park, and past girlfriend of Warne. She was just an egotistical, annoying and irresponsible person, and I have no idea how someone like Warne would have ever loved her.

3-0 out of 5 stars Worth reading but not remembering
Hard to rate this book, honestly, especially without half stars.

I disagree greatly with several of the reviews here. For one, comparing it to Die Hard is a completely unfair way to sell this to a potential buyer. Die Hard was a game of cat and mouse, full of action. There isn't much action in this book, nor any hiding. In fact, there's only one true gunfight, and it lasts 3 bullets. More bullets are fired in other areas of the book, but it's against unarmed, unknowing people.

It's also unfair to compare this book to Jurassic Park. Jurassic Park was a book about technology and action within a theme park of sorts. This is a book involving some technology and action within a true theme park, but it's a different breed. The action is limited, and the technology isn't explained or even described much, just presented as something that exists.

There are also some groaners. Most notably is the Wingnut character mentioned in other reviews. From his first appearance you know here's there simply to be sacrificed. No surprises there, but to the authors credit he downplays the convenient behavior trait that leads to his usefulness, and incorporates it more as part of a whole rather than a way to exploit. You may see Wingnut's usefulness coming, but Child doesn't get lazy and leave it at that.

Another issue is the terrorists themselves. At one point it's mentioned that people would be shocked if they knew the true face of the ringleader, yet nothing comes from it after he's stopped. A shame, but only due to that line.

So I've told you what this book isn't really, and that it has problems. Is it worth reading? Yes. The book is essentially a crisis book within a theme park, a difficult concept to make realistic. Child takes great effort to make it so, giving reasons why obvious answers must be ignored, and taking into account how a corporation would likely act. Nothing is too unrealistic, and none of the plot will make you groan very hard at all. This is arguably Child's greatest accomplishment within the book.

It's interesting, the characters have some depth to them, and you'll keep reading. The full potential is never realized, but there are no falls off the edge, so you'll read with a smile.

A solid effort. Not amazing, but solid enough that I look forward to Child's next solo effot.

4-0 out of 5 stars Sounds Familiar
The story of this book is good, but the desciptions of Utopia sounded so familiar to me until it dawned on me that it sounds a lot like Disney World. There are two many similarities. The building facades creating the second and third stories are just like Disney. The underground (can you say Utilidors?) is just like Disney. Utopia being its own community with its own government is just like Disney. Even the fact that the creator died before it opened is just like Disney. I love the story the way it is written out, but it would have been nice if it wasn't so similar. It didn't make me want to fly to Vegas to see a park called Utopia. It made me want to drive to Florida to get another glimpse of Mickey Mouse and see the wondrous parks collectively called Walt Disney World. ... Read more


15. Back to the Moon: A Novel
by Homer Hickam
list price: $23.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0385334222
Catlog: Book (1999-06-15)
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Sales Rank: 407653
Average Customer Review: 4.09 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

Space is the final frontier--and its mysteries have fascinated Homer H. Hickam since childhood. In 1957, at age 14, he built his first rocket--and so began his space-age career, which eventually led to an engineering job at NASA. But in 1998, his calling blasted off in a new, unexpected way with the release of a bestselling memoir,Rocket Boys, (made into the mesmerizing movie, October Sky). Now, with Back to the Moon, the man-of-science-turned-memoirist dabbles in the world of fiction.

Despite its high-tech premise and lunar locale--Back to the Moon is no science fiction saga. It is, instead, a fast-paced technological thriller--filled with exceptional scientific know-how. (The author describes how spices are essential for astronauts because the normal aroma of food does not "drift into the sinuses or caress the palate in a microgravity environment.")

The space shuttle Columbia has been hijacked by an ex-astronaut and former employee of NASA, Jack Medaris. But Jack is by no means the bad guy--he has simply grown disillusioned with NASA, with its "timid" bureaucracy that no longer works for the good of mankind. Earth's supply of fuel is in jeopardy, and Jack believes that the moon holds the secrets of an alternative source of power. But a shady organization called the Millennium group is determined to stop the space shuttle from reaching the moon. As the shuttle hurtles through the galaxy, the renegade astronaut battles to steer the ship towards its destination. He also fights to keep himself from falling in love with one of the ship's crew members--a feisty female astronaut named Penny High Eagle.

Even if the plot complexities seems to defy gravity at times, Back to the Moon still dares to tread where few thrillers have gone before--into space. --Naomi Gesinger ... Read more

Reviews (79)

5-0 out of 5 stars Mr. Hickam for national pundit!
I found this a really good read, filled with interesting characters and a great plot.

It starts out with a highjacking of the space shuttle. Hickam has enough inside knowledge to make that perfectly plausible. There is a lot of work in space suits involved, something Hickam apparently was involved in a lot at NASA. Penny High Eagle, the payload specialist, is a great and sympathetic characture. Paco the cat who's aboard is a funny touch. There's a lot of fun to this novel. I think a lot of it is tongue in cheek that some reviewers can't figure out. It definitely is not boring and is a real page-turner.

It is very thought-provoking about the "Star Wars" killer satellites around the moon, plausible, too.

In a lot of ways, this novel is a love story. Jack wants most of all to go to find a message on the moon from his late wife. Yet, his wife never went to the moon so how could it be there? I teared up when I read what Jack actually finds there.

I noticed a note on a review about a pistol being fired in space. Gun powder does not require air to burn. It contains all the ingredients in it to work in a vacuum. A form of gun powder, after all, is what is used in solid fuel rockets! As for a space-suited astronaut getting his finger on the trigger, a .45 caliber pistol has plenty of room in its trigger guard. Recoil is a problem but Hickam has his astronaut well wedged in.

I enjoyed rummaging around the old Apollo 17 site with Medaris. Some really good writing here.

All in all, much recommended. Let there be no doubt that Homer Hickam knows how to write a novel. I love all his books. Remember, even his memoirs are written as novels

Keep it up, Mister Hickam! Can't wait for the Back to the Moon movie!

5-0 out of 5 stars One of the best space novels I have ever read
It is remarkable to me that a space engineer/reviewer would not like this book. I am such, have worked in the industry for decades, and believe that Homer Hickam has written a delightful techno-thriller that not only is a compelling page turner but gives the reader, space insider or not, much to think about. I guess you'd have to say Hickam is nor has ever been much of a "in the box" kind of thinker. If he was, he wouldn't have written Rocket Boys/October Sky which has sold ten times more copies than any astronaut biography.

The plot of this novel is centered around the Apollo 13 type of "can do" engineering whereby what is available is modified to do the impossible. But this is more than a book of engineering. It is a deeply philosophical look at the American space program and the very real people who are in it. Hickam has created characters that I deeply cared about as I read their adventures although he, as evinced in all his books, has his tongue firmly in his cheek much of the time. Homer, by the way, no longer works for NASA and from what I can tell rarely devotes any time to it these days. Most of his writing has centered around the town of Coalwood, West Virginia and I notice that his new novel is set on the Outer Banks and is a seafaring novel. Much can be learned about Hickam the writer on his site... In any case, this is a great novel for everybody. Don't miss it.

5-0 out of 5 stars A novel written while Hickam was developing his skills
First off, this was written before Hickam's Rocket Boys according to his web site even though it came out afterwards. Clearly, when he wrote this novel, Hickam was just developing his skills as a writer. Still, even though it's dated (he uses the ill-fated shuttle Columbia for this trip to the moon) this is a very good book and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Hickam's inside knowledge of NASA makes it a unique book. I think his tongue was very much in cheek most of the time while he was writing this but I still get the idea that the characters are based on real people he knew while working for the agency. After reading the novel, I felt as if I actually knew each and every one of the people in this book from old gruff Sam the head of mission control to Cecil the lawyer. I especially liked Cecil. He's a great character and is a good example of Hickam's development while writing this book into the great novelist he's become. Like his latest novel, The Keeper's Son, this is a novel filled with action and adventure but it is also a love story, too, and a good one. Not only is there love between the hero Jack Medaris and the beautiful Amerindian science reporter Penny High Eagle aboard the shuttle but there is also the memory of love still with Jack's dead wife who was also a rocket scientist. The scenes on the moon were especially well done. Hickam makes you feel as if you really are there. And the idea of having Jack walking around the old Apollo 17 site was pure genius. How lonely it must be there in reality. Hickam gave me that sense but also wrote it with wonder and hope. Then when Penny joins him and Jack reads the letter (I won't tell you who it's from), I got goose bumps! Even then, Hickam's talent was very impressive in his ability to make you feel for his characters. I read this novel in one long reading and was very impressed, especially since I've read Hickam's most recent work. He is a much better writer now and it's interesting to see his early work as he learned his trade. I look forward to reading all of his work from here on and I certainly don't hold this early effort against him. Read it for what it is and simply enjoy the ride.

5-0 out of 5 stars I really enjoyed it
I am 14 years old. This novel is fun to read. I couldn't pt it down because I wanted to know what was going to happen to Jack and Penny and Paco (who is a cat). I've really enjoyed all of Mr. Hickam's books, especially his books about Coalwood and growing up there. I and my parents are going to visit Coalwood this October 4 to meet Mr. Hickam and the other rocket boys. It should be a lot of fun. But on this novel, I really think it's a great book. My mom and dad both read it before me and said so. I just like the idea of us going back to the moon but I also really got into Jack and Penny's love story. I also loved when he wrote about Paco. A cat in space is a very funny and interesting idea. I think a cat in space would be just like Paco is described. I felt really bad for Jack when he found the message on the moon. I cried over that. I am getting all my friends to read this book.

1-0 out of 5 stars One of the worst books I ever read
I can not believe this rates and average 4 stars. While I do work in the aerospace industry, I can suspend logic and enjoy much of the SF out there. This story had not basis in the real world, I kept finding myself saying "oh come on who is going to believe that is possible" , from some of the reviews, I guess a fair number did. I may have even been able to accept some of that if I cared at all about the charaters, or at least could believe them to be real people with real lives, cardboad cutouts would be more belivable. There was only one reason that I finished the book and that was so I could discrible and laugh about the drivel in this book to my co-workers and friends. Since Mr Hickam worked at NASA as an engineer I find it very hard to believe that he thinks this story is anything but laughable. ... Read more


16. Clear and Present Danger (Jack Ryan Novels)
by Tom Clancy
list price: $7.99
our price: $7.19
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0425122123
Catlog: Book (1996-07-01)
Publisher: Berkley Publishing Group
Sales Rank: 20158
Average Customer Review: 4.28 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

At the end of the prologue to Clear and Present Danger, Clancy writes, "And so began something that had not quite begun and would not soon end, with many people in many places moving off in directions and on missions which they all mistakenly thought they understood. That was just as well. The future was too fearful for contemplation, and beyond the expected, illusory finish lines were things fated by the decisions made this morning--and, once decided, best unseen." In Clear and Present Danger nothing is as clear as it may seem.

The president, unsatisfied with the success of his "war on drugs," decides that he wants some immediate success. But after John Clark's covert strike team is deployed to Colombia for Operation Showboat, the drug lords strike back taking several civilian casualties. The chief executive's polls plummet. He orders Ritter to terminate their unofficial plan and leave no traces. Jack Ryan, who has just been named CIA deputy director of intelligence is enraged when he discovers that has been left out of the loop of Colombian operations. Several of America's most highly trained soldiers are stranded in an unfinished mission that, according to all records, never existed. Ryan decides to get the men out.

Ultimately, Clear and Present Danger is about good conscience, law, and politics, with Jack Ryan and CIA agent John Clark as its dual heroes. Ryanrelentlessly pursues what he knows is right and legal, even if it means confronting the president of the United States. Clark is the perfect soldier, but a man who finally holds his men higher than the orders of any careless commander.

Along with the usual, stunning array of military hardware and the latest techno-gadgets, Clear and Present Danger further develops the relationships and characters that Clancy fans have grown to love. Admiral James Greer passes the CIA torch to his pupil, Ryan. Mr. Clark and Chavez meet for the first time. Other recurring characters like Robert Ritter and "the President" add continuity to Clancy's believable, alternate reality.Thisis Clancy at his best. --Patrick O'Kelley ... Read more

Reviews (145)

5-0 out of 5 stars An essential item for a flight to Australia
As Terry Pratchett said, a Tom Clancy novel is an essential piece of equipment for a flight to Australia. Not only are you still reading it when you get there, but you can use it to hit snakes with afterwards.

This isn't a negative comment. It's a positive one :)

Some people complain about the amount of technical detail in Mr. Clancy's books, but I find it adds realism. You're never worried about not understanding how a peice of equipment works in one of his books!

As for this particular one, I've pretty well managed to read the Jack Ryan series backwards, starting at Red October, then Executive Orders and so on back down the line. This book answered so many questions for me it was incredible.

The characters are realistic - even though I wasn't entirely sure who the hero was until I realised it was Ryan. And Clark. And Chavez. And occasionally Moira Wolfe, Captain Wegener, Colonel Johns. And various others I can't remember at the moment. The equipment is lovingly detailed, the locations lavishly described, the total effect quite bewitching.

However...don't try to compare this book to the film. Not only does Dan Murray (look away if you don't want spoilers), who becomes director of the FBI in the last book of the series, get killed (look back now), but Bob Ritter is the semi bad guy who devolps a conscience in the book, versus the snarling, gloating, ruthless ba...person in the film, and so on down the line.

Basically: This book is GOOD! Read it!

4-0 out of 5 stars A great a story
'Clear and Present Danger' is an action book by Tom Clancy. It is to do with Colombian drug dealers who kill an American Ambassador, and the head of the F.B.I. This angers the president of the U.S enough for him to send undercover teams to Colombia, in the hope of exposing the dealers. But all of this information is kept back from Jack Ryan (C.I.A), and he tries to discover what is going on. He succeeds, but only to discover that the Vice-President has given away information to the Colombians, so they can kill the teams, he is a traitor. Ryan has to rescue the teams, and expose the Vice-President. This book is a complex book, but it was still quite enjoyable. It has an excellent story-line, the best I have ever read. But I think it is meant more for adults that for children and I found it quite challenging. I have also seen the film starring Harrison Ford, but I think the book is better as the film strays from the original a lot. I enjoyed this book, but I don't think it is meant for my age.

4-0 out of 5 stars Tom Clancy does it again
I'm a big Tom CLancy fan and i just loved every minute reading this book very well done. Very well written couldn't have been done better. Mr. Clancy always kept me on the edge and he is able to put in alot of great info and he knows soo much about alot of what he writes in his book

4-0 out of 5 stars Great read
I haven't read too much Tom Clancy up until this point, but this was the best of the ones I've read so far. I picked up Clear and Present Danger because the movie based on this novel is one of my favorites. Going in, I was expecting this to be similar to the movie, so I was pretty surprised to find that while some of the situations are the same, most of the action is quite different. The book is quite a bit more realistic, which of course means that the film is immensely more entertaining. My only real complaint about the story is that the beginning scene with Red Wegener and the Coast Guard goes on too long for its overall impact on the story. I did like reading some beefed-up rolls for both John Clark and Domingo Chavez, who are two of my favorite Clancy characters.

If you've seen the movie and want to read something akin to the screenplay, this is the wrong place to look, but if you're looking for a more realistic, and more special forces-intensive version of that story, this is a great read.

5-0 out of 5 stars Realistic Story
This was one of the Clancy's finest works. The President tacitly authorizes an illegal war against Columbian drug lords in retaliation for the murders of prominent government officials. Jack Ryan, the newly appointed DDO of the CIA is kept out of the loop but figures out the misdeeds of the President's inept National Security Advisor and the CIA's DDI (deputy director of intelligence) and is determined to get to the bottom of matters. Very long story but I read it in just a few days. ... Read more


17. Scimitar SL-2 (Robinson, Patrick)
by Patrick Robinson
list price: $25.95
our price: $16.35
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0060086645
Catlog: Book (2004-08-01)
Publisher: HarperCollins
Sales Rank: 5167
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Book Description

Amid the Canary Islands lies the massive crater of thevolcano Cumbre Vieja. Scientists theorize that one day the volcano will erupt, triggering a series of events that will lead to a tsunami higher than any in recorded history. This mega-tsunami, with waves of more than 150 feet in height, would ravage Europe, Africa, and ultimately the East Coast of the United States, causing immeasurable loss of life and destruction ...

After Professor Paul Landon, the world's most prominent geophysicist, is found with a bullet in his head, it is discovered that Ravi Rashood -- America's nemesis and the former SAS officer who is now the head of Hamas -- has hatched a diabolical plot against the West: to fire a nuclear-tipped guided cruise missile -- Scimitar SL-2, named for the curved sword of the Muslim warrior Saladin -- into Cumbre Vieja.

United States Admiral Arnold Morgan, the retired National Security Adviser, and the Pentagon know it's not a joke when Rashood, accompanied once again by his wife, the Palestinian Shakira, explodes Mount St. Helens. Morgan knows something even more horrific is to come.

But stopping them won't be easy.

Rashood and his Hamas crew are deep in the ocean, in an undetectable sub, which he managed to procure from Russia via communist China. Perhaps worse, a new President, a weak-willed liberal in the White House, worries about taking a stand. As the terrorists' deadline approaches, the newly implemented and unseasoned National Security team must consider the unthinkable. They must assume the daunting task of organizing a mass relocation of major population centers along the East Coast to safer ground.

Morgan once again finds himself at the center of a desperate cat-and-mouse chase, battling his greatest enemy yet as he races against time to locate the silent underwater marauder and stop Rashood before the unimaginable happens.

With his trademark authentic research and grasp of military hardware, geopolitics, and cutting-edge science, Patrick Robinson is at the top of his game with this new tale.

... Read more

18. The Day Before Midnight
by STEPHEN HUNTER
list price: $7.99
our price: $7.19
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0553282352
Catlog: Book (1989-12-01)
Publisher: Bantam
Sales Rank: 36858
Average Customer Review: 4.43 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (28)

4-0 out of 5 stars Hunter's saving
Stephen Hunter's first novel, The Master Sniper, sold reasonably well, but then he bombed out on his next two books. With this book, The Day Before Midnight, he redeemed his career.

I would try to reduce the plot to a nice little sentence here, but there is simply too much plot for that. Suffice to say, some big bad guys take over a nuclear missle silo in Maryland and the U.S. government has until midnight to stop them or they will fire the missle and take out Russia's major cities, starting World War III.

The writing style is totally different. It's almost as if Hunter wrote this book with his tongue way over in one cheek ... everything is stated as if it's supposed to make us laugh, and quite often it does. Even the terror is funny. And every time the good guys solve a problem, another one pops right up in its place, throughout the entire book. Hunter's law: if something can go wrong, it should. That's not to say this book isn't entertaining. It's great. You know the bad guys can't possibly win, so you can sit back and enjoy the millions of ways Hunter has found to trip the good guys.

I don't know much about nuclear missles, but the book seemed well researched to me. The details were convincing. I liked the part about the tunnel rats from Vietnam because I do know a little about that and it came across very real. And what happened to the girls' mother bothered me, so Hunter can create pathos. But still, this book just left me laughing ... especially the way Hunter found to keep his second bomb from going off. If you don't mind a bit of corn and coincidence, it's hilarious.

A great read, very entertaining.

5-0 out of 5 stars A action packed read! I didn't want it to end.
If I had to choose one word to describe this book it would be: exellent. Stephen Hunter's best. This book was action packed from begining to end. It made me feel as if I was there. The plot is magnificint. It had the best action I've ever read. The last chapter had the most intense action in one book. It was so realistic. If you ask me one of the best war books ever. It is my favorite book. It had me at the edge of my seat.

3-0 out of 5 stars Oh, but that name ...
Stephen Hunter is a fine author, quite capable of writing gritty crime noir like 'Dirty White Boys' and then technothrillers such as this. It certainly goes off like every good blockbuster should - I am reminded of a book whose back cover blurbs featured the phrases 'gorilla of a book' and 'firecracker of a suspense novel'. Cliches, but phrases that well suit this fast paced read. Only thing is - Col Dick Puller?? I can only hope Hunter was having some mickey taking fun with that one. And the blurb I read elsewhere: "Will Delta Force veteran Dick Puller be able to penetrate state-of-the-art
security system?" Awww, that really does sound like somebody with something on their minds, right?

4-0 out of 5 stars The Countdown has started,can those responsible now stop it?
This might be Hunter's best plotted novel and contains deeper themes than many might think or are apparent from a cursary reading of this novel. Hunter is the master of the plot twist and his novels would make great movies. A group of well armed and superbly trained commandos take over a nuclear missle silo with the intention of starting World War 3. They are not holding the world hostage for Ransom, they are not demanding anything, all they are doing is trying to jumpstart a nuclear war they feel is inevitable. Who are these dedicated terrorists? Not who you think they are at first and I will leave it at that. Dick Puller, an Army General with a sterling record but who was accussed or hesitating at the cruical moment of his career and thus dooming a potentailly sucesful military operation, is put in charge of elimanting the terrorists. Dissension in his own ranks threaten to undermine his authority for many remember his earlier "failure" and think him unfit for his current responsibilities. They might be right and they might be wrong, one has to read the novel to find out. Meanwhile, the brillant nuclear stratigist who designed the missle silo which has been overtaken, Peter Thikol, is called in to consult with Puller and the army forces planning to storm the silo and kill the terrorists. Thikol's turbelent love life, demonstrated through his dysfunctional marriage to his beautiful, artistically talented, but self absorbed and arrogant wife Megan, might end up indirectly destroying the world in a wonderful metaphor that intertwines personal self destruction with nuclear holocaust. See Thikol designed the silo so that no one could ever break into it, so that those defending it would be able to hold off an army, literally. Thikol ended up outsmarting himself because now that an enemy force has taken over the silo the U.S. government cant get in. Oh, and did I mention that this silo is independently launch capable, meaning that it cannot be shut down from the petagon or from any other government location. Only those who are inside the silo have the power to launch. Thikol was a mad scientist who created a monster on a scale that drawfs Frankestien and now it is up to him to defeat his own creation, to breach the unbreachable fortress, to crack the uncrackable safe. Meanwhile inside the silo the terrorists have a kidnapped welder who is slowly but surly burning through the safe that contains the nuclear start keys which will ignite armageddon. The U.S. government finds itself having to recruit an ex-vietcong soldier now living in America and a black convict currently in prison but with a great service record. These outcasts from society will now play a role in deciding the fate of the world. Sub plots include a likeable, acholic failure of a Soviet spy and his misadvetures. Although he does has a pivotal role to play in the story. This novel all occures in less than 24 hours and the tension gradually builds to a maddening pitch. The subtle point that all of this was completley uncessary is evident in this story for this silo never should have been built in the first place, it is a manifestation of Thikol's ego, his intellectual self absorbed arogance that made him belive that constructing a nuclear launch facility independent of all other U.S. facilities was a good idea simply because it was orginal and he came up with it. It looked good on paper but proves disastourous in reality for his greatest acomplishment, the physical incarnation of his magus opus of nuclear strategic thought, is now being utilized agianst him and the world by other men not as intelligent, but more clever then he. Hunter is clearly making the point that pride comes before the fall and that humanity has outsmarted himself, no matter how good strategic nuclear superiority might look on paper in reality no good can come of it. The Day Before Midnight is a tale of the most dangerous game ever played in human history, the fate of the entire world hanging in the balance, failure means a nuclear holocaust beyond imagination, sucess only its prevention. On one side are the resources of the entire U.S. government, on the other an extreemly formidable team of commando terrorits assembled and trained speciflicly for this sucide mission. On one side the creator and on the other his creation, the man and the machine. Will people on the same side be able to work together or will mistrust, mutal suscpision, racism, and arrogance cause everything to fall apart? Thikol belivied himself intelligent enough to play God, to play the most dangerous game of all, the game of nuclear war, and win, now the world must pay for his arrogance and he must redeem himself by using the same asset that got the world into this mess, his superior but dangerous intelligence. The terroists inside the silo might be outnumbered but they are completly united in their purpose and resolve. Can Thikol outdo himself and penetrate his impenterable prison? Will tension between Puller and his disgruntled commandos lead to bruised egos that will lead to violence that will lead to a complete breakdown in the army forces attempting to storm the silo? Can humanity hold it together and save itself from itself? Those are the questions raised and answered in Hunter's impressive and distrubingly believable novel. Well there it is, I've explained the outline of the story, the framework that the characters must operate in, now the game starts. Both sides have plenty of moves to make and both sides have a few tricks up their sleeve, just imagine a chess match with all life as we know it hanging in the balance. Or game seven of the world series entering the 30th inning. Somebody wins and somebody losses. But that is for the reader to discover for themselves. Let the greatest game of all begin. Oh, and did I mention? The CLOCK IS TICKING!!!

4-0 out of 5 stars Amazingly well-crafted page-turner
This is my first experience reading Mr. Hunter's work, but it surely will not be my last. It's hard to see how he can top this novel, though. I went in expecting a good "airport novel," and found myself figuratively grabbed around the collar by this book and compelled to read it every spare hour. In what is for me a short time, I was allowed to put it down, out of breath and feeling like I'd just had a fantastic steak dinner -- filet mignon, I'd say. THE DAY AFTER MIDNIGHT is "just an airport novel" only in the sense that DIE HARD is "just another action movie." In other words, you have here a familiar genre and set-up (here, the "countdown to Armageddon") being taken to a peak level by expert craftsmanship.

A large part of the book's success is that it's a fascinating, deeply-researched book that refuses to settle on just technojargon... or even get by on its tightly-woven, brilliant plotting or technicolor-vivid prose. Instead, Hunter constantly takes the time to pull the reader into the heads of his characters, so that even the most seemingly stock characters take on a life of their own. With one exception (the unfortunately profane use of "Jesus" by every individual, it seemed) each character has his or her own unique, individual voice and patterns of thought. And none of them are perfect, not even the greatest hero in the batch. This alone puts Hunter's work on a whole other plane above, say, Tom Clancy, whose characters have essentially the voice of that self-impressed author but with different names.

I was also struck by Hunter's very thoughtful use of violence; one the one hand, it's a very violent book... but on the other, there's a very authentic sense of loss, of the gruesomeness and after-effects of murder and the absurd glories and horrors of combat. In other words, Hunter comes off as having a true human heart beating underneath the kevlar vest. One death in particular, in a suburban house (readers of the novel will know what I'm speaking of), left me stunned and created a real sense of danger -- a sense that anybody could die in this story -- that is rare amidst the TV-movie predictability of so many suspense stories.

If I have any nitpicks, they are more along the lines of some suspense elements being milked just a little too well, a bit too contrivedly, of some payoffs just being *too* perfect... but in the end, Mr. Hunter has taken liberties in order to tell the best tale he can, and to almost dare you to put down his novel. If that was his aim, he knocked it out of the park with this one.

If you have any taste at all for suspense and action with a tough-as-nails edge to it, this is a must-read. ... Read more


19. Dead Lines (Bear, Greg)
by GREG BEAR
list price: $24.95
our price: $16.47
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0345448375
Catlog: Book (2004-06-01)
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Sales Rank: 203607
Average Customer Review: 3.33 out of 5 stars
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Download Description

With his acclaimed novels Darwin¿s Children and Vitals, award-winning author Greg Bear turned intriguing speculation about human evolution and immortality into tales of unrelenting suspense. Now he ventures into decidedly more frightening territory in a haunting thriller that blends modern technology and old-fashioned terror, as it charts one man¿s inexorable descent into a world of mounting supernatural dread.

For the last two years, Peter Russell has mourned the death of one of his twin daughters¿who was just ten when she was murdered. Recent news of his best friend¿s fatal heart attack has now come as another devastating blow. Divorced, despondent, and going nowhere in his career, Peter fears his life is circling the drain. Then Trans comes along. The brainchild of an upstart telecom company, Trans is (as its name suggests) a transcendent marvel: a sleek, handheld interpersonal communication device capable of flawless operation anywhere in the world, at any time. ¿A cell phone, but not¿¿transmitting with crystal clarity across a newly discovered, never-utilized bandwidth . . . and poised to spark a new-technology revolution. When its creators offer Peter a position on their team, it should be a golden opportunity for him. If only he wasn¿t seemingly going mad.

Everywhere Peter turns, inexplicable apparitions are walking before him or reaching out in torment. After a chilling encounter with his own lost child he begins to grasp the terrifying truth: Trans is a Pandora¿s box that has tapped into a frequency not of this world . . . but of the next. And now, via this open channel to oblivion, the dead have gained access to the living. For Peter, and for humankind, a long, shadowy night of the soul has descended, bringing with it the stuff of a horrifying nightmare from which they may never awaken.

By turns spine-tingling, provocative, and heart-wrenching, Dead Lines marks a major turning point in the consist
... Read more

Reviews (6)

3-0 out of 5 stars Really freaking weird....
This is the first time that I have read a book that has been penned by this author...and man is this guy touched!!! There were times that I had a hard time getting through this small novel...most, if not all of the concepts in this book were unbelievable...it was not scary at all...just very weird!!! Would I read another book by this same author.....probably NOT!!!! Book was very un-BEARABLE!!!! Sorry for the pun...had to do it!!!

2-0 out of 5 stars Big disappointment for this Greg Bear fan
My recommendation is, don't waste your time or money. The best thing about this book was the dedication where Bear lists a number of very successful writers of fanatasy and horror that he (presumably) respects. I agree with lhis list -great (and scary) writers all.

This was a run-of-the-mill ghost story (as in - "I see dead people") that had as its SF-like hook a new kind of communication device that accessed the Bell continuum, the same one that Bear used as the centerpiece of his tremendous novel, "Moving Mars". The novel is uncharacteristically (but perhaps mercifully) short, about 250 pages, there is little character development except for the protagonist, and the plot is very, very thin. The SF link is not developed, and there is no slowly developing feeling of horror and dread, or fear for the main character. He uses new phone, sees ghosts (so does everyone else), end of story. Who cares? How very boring and disappointing for a tremendously gifted writer who is one of my favorites.

3-0 out of 5 stars 3 1/2 stars
See storyline above.

This came over as a disappointment. This somewhat short novel lacked believability as well as having characters I didn't much care for. Hopefully Greg Bear's next effort will be more like his previous novels.

2-0 out of 5 stars From Darwin's Radio to infernal cellphones
I've been a Greg Bear fan from 'The Wind from a Burning Woman" right on up to "Darwin's Children." So I was eager to read this horror tale, described on the book jacket as "spine-tingling, provocative, and heart-wrenching."

Unfortunately, the book is none of these. Rather, it's an uneasy mix - not blend - of modern technology and old-fashioned haunting, with a little possession thrown in on the side. There's even a murky hint of Stephen King's "The Langoliers" - the suggestion of supernatural entities cleaning up behind the scenes.

It takes major suspension of disbelief to buy into the story's premise: new cellphone technology taps into a previously undiscovered source of energy which somehow involves the afterlife. Then Bear tries to tie together three story lines connected only by forced coincidence: the protagonist's chance involvement with the new technology; the recent murder of his daughter; and the dark past of his enigmatic employer. The result is unconvincing.

Most importantly, the book just isn't scary. The characters never become fully realized people we care about. Though strange and frightening things happen to them, we're not involved enough to be scared for, or with, them. At one point, the protagonist, Peter Russell, fails to recognize a familiar person at a key moment in the story - a failure not believable by any stretch of the imagination. A real person would never have done this.

Much as I'd like to, I can't recommend this book. For good horror, read Peter Straub or Owl Goingback. For quality Bear, read 'Darwin's Radio" and "Darwin's Children', or even his older works such as 'Blood Music." But stay away from this one.

5-0 out of 5 stars terrific old fashioned ghost story
Peter Russell's life turned out much different than he expected. He wanted to write books but instead made a living taking picture and making movies of naked people when the soft porn industry flat-lined. Now he is a little more than an errand boy for movie producer and real estate executive Joseph Benoliel, dependant on him for cash. A consortium is trying to get Joseph to invest in Trans, a wireless telephone that uses a broad bandwidth so that people can communicate with each other almost instantaneously.

The people making the Trans are giving them away as a promotional gimmick and folks all over the world have one. The transponder that is heart of the Trans is located in the bowels of San Andrea Prison. The investors of the new means of communication didn't know that it interferes with the ghosts of the dead moving on. Earth is populated with ghosts and nobody knows how to get rid of them except Peter.

Fans of Peter Straub and Stephen King will love this old fashioned ghost story. From the very beginning of DEAD LINES, there is a sense of foreboding and of anticipation as readers wait for events to reveal themselves. Some might think that the protagonist wasted his life but in reality he experienced life as few people can and accepts the consequences. Greg Bear has written a horror novel that has the audience keeping the lights on at night to keep the ghosts away.

Harriet Klausner ... Read more


20. The Zenith Angle
by BRUCE STERLING
list price: $24.95
our price: $16.47
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0345460618
Catlog: Book (2004-04-27)
Publisher: Del Rey
Sales Rank: 47593
Average Customer Review: 2.37 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

The Zenith Angle, futurist Bruce Sterling's first novel since Zeitgeist(2000), tells the story of Derek "Van" Vandeveer. As The Zenith Angle opens, Van sits peacefully at his breakfast table, enjoying life as a new homeowner and happily married man, with a new son and a fortune in stock options. Then the morning news reports a jetliner has crashed in nearby Manhattan--colliding with the World Trade Center. Like many other Americans' lives, Van's will never be the same. He leaves his corporate job to work fighting terrorism for the U.S. government. He soon finds himself sequestered at a top-secret undisclosed location while his fortune vanishes, his former company sinks into a morass of lawsuits and arrests, and his wife and son move to the far side of the country. And as Van is transformed from cyber-whiz to spook, he finds himself changing in ways he would never have imagined.

A novel from Bruce Sterling is always cause for celebration, and The Zenith Angle is one of the finest contemporary novels and finest techno-thrillers of 2004. Sterling operates at the cutting edge of both technology and pop culture, and he possesses innumerable literary strengths. However, his strengths don't usually include deeply-penetrating character development, and that injures the believability of The Zenith Angle, which is the portrait of a man undergoing an enormous and shocking transformation. --Cynthia Ward ... Read more

Reviews (19)

2-0 out of 5 stars Emabarrassed with itself
How did Bruce Sterling of all people write a novel about 9/11 that's boring, trivial, and pointless? My guess is that he had a literary agent and a publisher pushing him to go for the mass market and a patronizing concept of what this meant. So we get a novel that's low on ideas, scared to take a stand, and written in short sentences.

The book doesn't even work as a techno thriller - the "surprise" villain is obvious from early on, his plot is pathetic, and the hero's greatest moment of danager is during a fist fight with a colleague: this book reads like it was written by a man not so much uninterested with what he was trying to do - make money in Clancy-land - as positively embarrassed.

If you want the book this should have been - a novel that takes apart the reality of the post 9/11 world with Sterling's usual ruthless imagination and insight - read his previous novel, Zeitegeist - even though it was written before 9/11. Or read Stephenson's books Interface and Cobweb to see the technothriller re-written with real intelligence and an SF sensibility.

5-0 out of 5 stars Will make it to the best-seller lists!
I've long been a fan of Bruce Sterling; I've read 'The Difference Engine,' 'The Hacker Crackdown,' 'Distraction,' and 'Globalhead.' I'm not sure the average reader 'gets him.' I put each of Sterling's works down looking with anticipation towards his next great story. I believe that this latest work will make it to the best-seller lists.

Cyberspookerati, conspiracies, men in black, cover-ups, bureaucratic hand washing, political agendas and incompetence, are all mixed up in this intricate and fast moving plot. I give him four stars for character development and five for the plot and accurate facts on our industry and governments workings. I worked for the DoD for 20 years and had a TS Clearance, so I can attest that things really do work like Sterling portrays them in 'The Zenith Angle.' Frustrating, mind boggling, and idiotic all, but nevertheless true. I was constantly reminded of two other best-selling books I've read in the last 3 years, 'Alien Rapture' and 'Sleeping With the Devil.'

Think this novel reads like a TRUE CONSPIRACY, then check out these books on REAL CONSPIRACIES: 'Alien Rapture,' 'Holy Blood, Holy Grail,' The Christ Conspiracy,' 'Alien Agenda,' 'Unconventional Flying Objects - by Dr. Hill,' The Puzzle Palace,' and 'Sleeping With the Devil.' NASA tried to ban 'Unconventional Flying Objects' in court. 'Alien Agenda' is by Marrs, (best-selling author of 'Crossfire') which is the definitive book on the JFK assassination and best reading of them all. "Alien Rapture' is written by a Black Programs Insider, and along with Hill's book (Unconventional Flying Objects) are the two most important books on the UFO cover-up. Check them out.

1-0 out of 5 stars Stay away
The Zenith Angle opens with an introduction to Tom DeFanti, who is described as "The Most Important Man in the World". DeFanti's personal history is intriguing and, for the first two dozen or so pages, the Zenith Angle appears promising. Then, on page 25, DeFanti loses his mind and virtually disappears from the novel. This episode with DeFanti is a good indicator of where this book is going.

Sterling's book is populated with two-dimensional characters he doesn't know what to do with. They act in preposterous, non-linear ways. When they get inconvenient or Sterling doesn't seem to know what to do with them, they disappear. I'd read a couple hundred pages before I finally admitted to myself that the character of Dr. Vanderveer was the key protagonist and I was going to have to live with him for the remainder of the book.

As a reader, I found it impossible to empathize with any of the characters in the novel. Everyone's behavior was just too ridiculous. If any of this was an attempt at some form of humor, it was completely lost on me. The book jacket makes an undeserved comparison to Heller's masterful Catch-22 but this novel has none of the intelligence or pathos of Catch-22 and I'm sure Heller would rather have his name left out of this. Yossarian has depth and texture. I missed him after I finished Catch-22 about 20 years ago. Vanderveer is a cardboard cutout that I couldn't wait to say goodbye to.

Making matters worse is Sterling's unabashed willingness to write pages and pages of meaningless techno mumbo-jumbo speak that pass for dialog. He throws around acronyms and misuses legitimate technical terms as if he's on some kind of personal mission to prove to technologically savvy readers that he has absolutely no idea what he's talking about. Well congratulations, Bruce, you did it. I'm convinced you don't know what you're talking about. In the future, I'd recommend you write something like, "Van and Rajiv spent the next hour talking about the latest developments in network and systems security," rather than the pages you filled with ridiculous comments about OpenBSD, CodeRed, streams, clusters, astrophysics, and the rest of it. Perhaps I missed some form of irony in the book but I think it was key that your protagonist, Vanderveer, be believable as a technology guru and your dialog made him come across as a doof.

What passes for a climax seems to come unwillingly and seems an afterthought. When it does come, it is painful. It is unbelievable. It gets weird, then fizzles.

I also want to note that while I found all of the characters ridiculously stereotypical, I thought Sterling's portrayal of Indians crossed a line and was offensive. In one scene, Van offers a network administrator named Rajiv a handshake. Rajiv, instead of taking Van's hand, drops to his knees and fawns over Van's shoes. What's your point, Bruce?

In summary, this is a lousy book that is worth skipping. It isn't a masterpiece. It isn't filled with insight. It isn't Catch-22 for the technology generation. It isn't a novel look at the dot-com bust. It's just a bad book filled with silly characters, little or no plot, weak technology ideas, and endless, painful, meaningless techno babble. You want irony? Buy Catch-22 or maybe something by Vonnegut. How about Cat's Cradle or Slaughterhouse Five. You want a good sci-fi read? Try Gibson's Pattern Recognition or one of Richard Morgan's excellent and thought-provoking books. You want an interesting discourse on security in a post-911 world? Well, it's a bit high-level, but try Schneider's Beyond Fear. Just stay away from Zenith Angle.

1-0 out of 5 stars I was completely confused
This is the worst work of fiction that I have read in the last ten years. I picked it up after reading a short review in Wired. I should have known better. Mr. Sterling writes for Wired and thus _will_ get a good review for his work.
The book has Dr. Vandever as a super computer scientist who is famous for his work on 'Grendel' (something like a secure Beowulf cluster.) The whole thing about finding the issue with the Keyhole 13 satellite, controlling a BBJ aircraft from the ground or building a giant ground-based laser to kill super-secret satellites feels so unreal and superflous. There is also this love-affair between Tony Carew and the Indian film actress that was kind of totally unecessary. Mr. Sterling used a lot of scientific works just for the sake of it. This book was a huge waste of my time. Please save your time.

2-0 out of 5 stars Tepid entertainment...
Zenith Angle is a ho-hum thriller in the Tom Clancy spy-novel with realistic techonology mould. It's by longtime SF writer Bruce Sterling and it's about the most mild 'thriller' you can imagine, with some of the least believable characters this side of reality TV.

At least the book is short, with big type.

I don't really want to dump too hard on Sterling: I actually laughed at a few of his amusing turns. But he covers much of the same territory as, say, Crytonomicon, while his main character is completely stereotypical "computer genius". This pretend character, who's technical background is of the Hitchcock "McGuffin" variety, is unlike any real hackers, crackers, or computer programmers you're likely to meet. The fine use of that loveable plot device--the deus ex machina--is on display here. It's all a bit disappointing. I mean: some of Stephenson's recent books had half the plot of this thin marshmallow, but the writing was so brilliant it hurt to put down. By intentionally drawing comparisons with Stephenson, Sterling is just asking to be lambasted, if not roasted over hot coals or forced to edit his next novel on a PDP-11.

On the other hand, this is about as intelligent as, say, Da Vinci Code and intended for the same middle-of-the-road non-technical audience. Using his ultra-slick, but apparently content-free Wired magazine credentials, and considering Sterling's not after impressing the grungy 2600 audience with this stuff, I guess he succeeds. I mean, I managed to READ the accursed thing. Nonetheless, this book will be entirely forgotten inside of a month. Buy it in paperback, if you must (although it is too short to be good beach reading). If you like Sterling, buy something else of his, like Islands in the Net and shun this book so he gets back to honest work. ... Read more


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