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Cauldron Mass Market Paperback – April 1, 1994

189 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Fans will no doubt lap up the latest techno-thriller from Bond and Patrick Larkin, the team responsible for Vortex and Red Phoenix . In late 1997, world order has been destabilized by recession and extreme nationalism. The French foreign minister creates "EurCon," a European Confederation led by France and Germany that will rule Europe. EurCon's attempt to assimilate Eastern Europe meets with resistance, particularly from Poland, and soon the U.S. and Britain are pulled into the struggle. The war and its build-up are reported by various observers: the senior CIA field man in Moscow, the private advisor to the U.S. president, a French intelligence agent, a Hungarian police commander, a Russian intelligence man, a CIA economist (the lone woman and hence the "like" interest) and officers of the American, German and Polish armed forces. The French are definitely the bad guys here, albeit dim ones who don't see the writing on the wall when the Americans wipe out their nuclear capability two-thirds through the book. The prose serves the galloping plot and technology well, if humorlessly; maps, dramatis personae and a glossary also help. But the last chapter--"New Beginnings"--is too warm and fuzzy and should have been dropped. Major ad/promo.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 768 pages
  • Publisher: Vision (April 1, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446600261
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446600262
  • Product Dimensions: 4 x 1.2 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (189 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #611,287 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Alex Diaz-Granados on February 1, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 was a blessing in disguise not only for the Pentagon but for writers of military fiction. Just as the armed services have had to develop new doctrines, strategies, tactics, and weapons systems to contend with new enemies (potential and real), authors such as Tom Clancy, Stephen Coonts, Harold Coyle, and Larry Bond have had to look at the world situation, read the proverbial "tea leaves," and write plausible scenarios pitting American soldiers against foes that are very different from the by-now all-too-familiar Soviet "Ivan."
The writing team of Bond and Patrick Larkin (Red Phoenix, Vortex) was one of the earliest practitioners of "the-Cold-War-is-ending, let's-look-at-other-story-possibilities" idea. Although the Soviet Union was still in existence when their first two novels were published in the early 1990s, its role in Red Phoenix (about a second Korean War) and Vortex (conflict breaks out in South Africa) is very limited...think of it as an old Mafia don giving limited amounts of money and guns to a younger up-and-coming capo.
In Cauldron, the international situation is very different. NATO has dissolved, its mission as Western Europe's shield against a massive Soviet invasion having been achieved. France and Germany have formed a loose military alliance, and right-wing elements now begin reviving the old empire building instincts most Europeans thought had died out with the end of the Second World War. But the wars in the Balkans and greed in the hearts of many government officials in France and Germany -- and even impoverished Russia -- have awakened the old demons of imperial ambitions and diplomatic arrogance.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By on April 24, 1998
Format: Mass Market Paperback
An interesting scenario is put forward by Larry Bond here. A world recession, which strikes the dissolving European Community hard. Neo-Nazis blame illegal immigrants for job losses and rioting ensues, especially in Germany and France - a plotine which reflects real events. The US is too concerned with its own problems to aid Europe, and the Republican senators make their right-wing views heard.
When the US supplies oil to aid Poland and the Eastern bloc countries, a tanker is blown up by French paramilitaries. The CIA send an agent to investigate - he is taken out. Martial law is declared throughout the newly formed EurCon - US ships escorting the oil convoys are attacked and here we go! A shooting war blows up and escalates into some spectacular action. Despite a slow start at times and rather drawn-out tank scenes(I preferred the naval and air force and also the brief space sequences) on the Polish-German border, the story is highly convincing and sometimes frighteningly feasible. And best of all, it`s great to see the Frogs take a pasting from allied forces! The French satellites are put out of action by the GPALS Star Wars weapons, the French nukes are blown up and their subs sunk! Serves them right for blockading the cross-Channel ferry ports and ruining our trips abroad! But seriously, folks, this is a great war novel. The British side could have been better explored - the RAF and Royal Navy are quite well featured though. (Loved the Mirage being shot down over London too!) All in all, a highly recommended read, although `Red Phoenix` is still better. The Russian involvement towards the end does reflect on the aforementioned actually. I`ve yet to read `Vortex` yet though, I`ve got it on order and can`t wait . . . Ah, well, in the mean time it`s up into the skies with a Dale Brown book!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 2, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I have to admit that I was a bit disappointed with this novel. I loved Red Phoenix, but this one did not measure up. I found it nearly impossible to sympathize with any of the characters. Character development was either thin, sporadic, or occurred so late in the book that it left you thinking, "huh?" This is what disappointed me the most in this book, especially after Red Phoenix. After Red Phoenix, I thought, "Finally there is someone who can write a techno-thriller and develop some decent characters." But alas, to save page space for technical gurus, the characters suffered. My disappointment may also be due to the God-like abilities of the American Military. For our country's sake, I hope the thechno-thrillers have been accurate. It becomes unbelievable when it occurs time after time.
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12 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Andrew Fair on May 20, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
After reading Red Pheonix, a flawed but easy to read and very entertaining novel, I picked up Cauldron, expecting much of the same. I got what I asked for, that's for sure. This book holds nothing new as far as the action sequences, with the possible exception of the French attack on the carrier group, it is rather dull. I really enjoyed the combat in Red Pheonix, and though it, saw Bond's influence in Clancy's Red Storm Rising (still the best all-out-war in Europe novel), but this time around it seemed recycled and boring. Also, Bond's depthless characters and annoying sideplots (the BS relationship between the U.S. officials in Moscow) started to get in the way. He would have done us a world of good if he had just eliminated all non-nessecarry dialogue.
The other issue of dispute is the paper-thin justification for the action that does take place in the book. The behavior of the French and German officials are totally irrational, unless you Bond means to assert that they are Hitleresque madmen. The Russian intelligence types were all cliches as well. As much as a kick-ass, no brains story (which this painfully tries to be at times) can be fun, this novel merely flops in its own rediculousness. Stick to the old style technothrillers, when the missiles were the stars and the politics seemed to, at least at a distance, make sense! Of course, Clancy's been pretty poor in recent years also.
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