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Cuba (Jake Grafton Novels) Mass Market Paperback – June 30, 2009

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Product Details

  • Series: Jake Grafton Novels (Book 7)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Paperbacks; First Edition edition (June 30, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312365764
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312365769
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 4.1 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (84 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,233,403 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews Review

When a North Korean freighter carrying a cargo of biological weapons runs aground in international waters off Cuba--Rear Admiral Jake Grafton wants go aboard, taking just one other man with him. His new chief of staff, Capt. Pascal, is skeptical and suggests that he takes along a half-dozen well-armed marines. Jake's reply is patient and succinct: "I don't know what's on that ship.... It just makes sense to have a point man explore the unknown before we risk very many lives. I am going to be the point man because I want to personally see what is there, and I make the rules. Understand?" Had Capt. Pascal been one of the millions of readers of Coonts's six previous books about Grafton, he wouldn't have raised the issue. Jake is a take-charge guy, the kind of believable hero trusted by his military superiors (if occasionally viewed as a loose cannon by politicians), and not even the possibility of an all-out war with Cuba is going to make him start playing it safe.

Fidel Castro is very close to death from cancer, and his chief aide plans to win the hearts of the Cuban population and gain control of the government by using a 40-year-old secret weapon against an American city. Meanwhile, Adm. Grafton and his carrier fleet have been sent to Guantånamo Bay in Cuba to supervise the removal of some U.S. biological weapons there. Very soon, Grafton and other Coonts regulars are up to their helmets in action on the air, land, and sea. Along the way, we meet a large cast of vivid supporting players: a Cuban family whose fate is closely linked to Castro's rise and fall and a CIA agent with the perfect cover--a lawyer for giant tobacco companies who want to make cigarettes in Cuba. We also increase our knowledge of military jargon: "strangling the parrot" means turning off a radar transponder. Cuba is an intriguing and surprisingly compassionate scenario, in which superb military action alternates with high family drama and political in-fighting. --Dick Adler --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

The future of Cuba is up for grabs in this crackerjack speculative thriller by the author of Flight of the Intruder and Fortunes of War. Coonts regulars Rear Admiral Jake Grafton and staff operations officer Toad Tarkington are providing military cover for a shipment of American chemical and biological weaponsAweapons that should have been destroyed long agoAout of Guant namo Bay, where they have been in storage. When the shipment goes missing, it's Grafton's job to find it and get those weapons back. But that's the least of his worries, because Cuba is developing its own biological weapons; as soon as they are ready, they will be loaded onto missiles already aimed at American cities. Meanwhile, an aged Castro is dying of cancer, and even if he lives long enough to name a successor, Alejo Vargas, head of the Cuban secret police, has his own plans for the future of the country. While there's little doubt that Grafton will save the day, Coonts's sharply drawn charactersAincluding dapper CIA operative and biological weapons expert William Henry Chance and his safe-cracking sidekick, Tommy CarmelliniAand a plethora of intersecting plot lines take what one character calls "another Cuban missile crisis" to a rousing action finale. But the surprise pleasure here is how clearly Coonts paints a picture of Cuba by focusing on the three Soldano brothersAHector, a Jesuit priest who may be Castro's chosen successor; Ocho, the handsome ballplayer who has the chance to sail to Florida with the woman he got pregnant; and Maximo, the finance minister who is more interested in money than the revolution. This gripping and intelligent thriller is a standout for Coonts, taking the death of Castro as a starting point for an all-too-possible scenario of political turmoil and military brinkmanship. $325,000 ad/promo; author tour. (Aug.) FYI: In one of this season's more interesting coincidences, Coonts chooses for his epigraph the same poem by Jos? Mart! as does Amy Ephron in her book White Rose, reviewed above.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Stephen Coonts is the author of 14 New York Times bestsellers, the first of which was the classic flying tale, FLIGHT OF THE INTRUDER.
Born in 1946, Stephen Paul Coonts grew up in Buckhannon, West Virginia, a coal-mining town of 6,000 population on the western slope of the Appalachian mountains. He majored in political science at West Virginia University, graduating in 1968 with an A.B. degree. Upon graduation he was commissioned an Ensign in the U.S. Navy and began flight training in Pensacola, Florida.
He received his Navy wings in August, 1969. After completion of fleet replacement training in the A-6 Intruder aircraft, Mr. Coonts reported to Attack Squadron 196 at NAS Whidbey Island, Washington. He made two combat cruises aboard USS Enterprise during the final years of the Vietnam War as a member of this squadron. After the war he served as a flight instructor on A-6 aircraft for two years, then did a tour as an assistant catapult and arresting gear officer aboard USS Nimitz. He left active duty in 1977 and moved to Colorado. After short stints as a taxi driver and police officer, he entered the University of Colorado School of Law in the fall of 1977.
Mr. Coonts received his law degree in December, 1979, and moved to West Virginia to practice. He returned to Colorado in 1981 as a staff attorney specializing in oil and gas law for a large independent oil company.
His first novel, FLIGHT OF THE INTRUDER, published in September 1986 by the Naval Institute Press, spent 28 weeks on the New York Times bestseller lists in hardcover. A motion picture based on this novel, with the same title, was released nationwide in January 1991.
The success of his first novel allowed Mr. Coonts to devote himself full time to writing; he has been at it ever since. He and his wife, Deborah, enjoy flying and try to do as much of it as possible.
Mr. Coonts' books have been widely translated and republished in the British Commonwealth, France, Germany, The Netherlands, Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Italy, Spain, Mexico, Brazil, Turkey, Poland, Bulgaria, Hungary, Russia, China, Japan, Czechoslovakia, Serbia, Latvia, and Israel.
Mr. Coonts was a trustee of West Virginia Wesleyan College from 1990-1998. He was inducted into the West Virginia University Academy of Distinguished Alumni in 1992. The U.S. Naval Institute honored him with its Author of the Year Award for the year 1986 for his novel, FLIGHT OF THE INTRUDER. Mr. Coonts and his wife, Deborah, reside in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Customer Reviews

I felt the book was a bit slow.
David D. Clough
Overall, it was an enjoyable book that I read all too quickly, wishing there were more of it to read.
A. Neilll
In other words, superb, exciting and very well researched.
Mr N Forbes-warren

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 9, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I found this to be an exciting read, once I got past the inconsistency with Coonts's "Under Siege," in which Fidel is executed as a democratic movement takes over Cuba. In this one, we seem to be in an alternate reality, where, years later, Castro is about to die of natural causes. Whether he'll be succeeded by the brutal secret police chief or an anti-Castro dissident is one of the several plot lines of this book.
The main plot line, concerning use of left-over Scud missiles to potentially deliver deadly viruses to major cities in the Southeastern U.S., consumes most of the book.
What I liked best was the secondary plot concerning two CIA agents operating in Cuba. They were well fleshed-out characters who added enough variety to the typical Grafton-Tarkington-Moravia plot to make this more than a formulaic add-on to this series.
You can still depend on Jake Grafton to supply laconic common-sense reactions to military and political situations, as others run in circles, scream, and shout.
One final point -- the final mini-chapter climax was both surprising and satisfying.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Jon Eric Davidson on May 14, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
"Cuba" seemed like it might be an entertaining read, given the current political dynamics and newsmakers. Plus, I thought it would be nice to have another "chapter" featuring Jake Grafton. However, this book didn't really live up to expectations.
As with another reviewer, I also had to put aside the inconsistency with Fidel Castro being knocked off in an earlier Coonts book. Also, as the same reviewer suggested, the notion that this is a "Jake Grafton" book is slightly misleading, given the small percentage of the story that features him.
One of Mr. Coonts' strongpoints is that when he writes action sequences, the read can move very fast. His descriptiveness of flight and combat are also very strong. However, he seems to take forever to get to these assets in "Cuba". I felt the first two-thirds of the book were just short of interminable as he set up the various storylines. Then the assault on Cuba turned out to be quick and enjoyable reading; unfortunately, since it was such a small chunk of the book, it wound up being too short.
The enjoyment I had reading the last 100 or so pages almost made me rate this more positively, until I actually thought about how long it seemed to take to get there. It seemed to me that he could have balanced the action and plot development out a little better. After having almost all action and little to no plot development in his previous book, "Fortunes Of War", it seemed like he swung back too far in the other direction with this one.
I found a couple "loose ends" also in reading this that Mr. Coonts seemed to fail to address (unless he plans a return to this storyline). One was the issue of Castro's videotape.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 22, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Castro is dying. Millions in gold bullion are missing, as are millions in bank accounts, missiles with biological weapons are pointed at the US, a ship with a star baseball player escaping to the US is foundering, and two brothers are vying to become the next ruler of Cuba.
All in all, plenty of plots and subplots to keep you turning the pages, plus a good look at life inside Cuba today. Definately entertaining.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Rennie Petersen on July 28, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
In "Under Siege" (1990) Stephen Coonts tells about a revolution in Cuba. The Cubans are fed up with Fidel Castro and rebel. "Viva Cuba! Cuba Libre!" they chant. "They shot Castro around ten o'clock the next morning", it says on page 210 of the paperback edition I read.

In "Cuba" (1999) it turns out that the revolution in 1990 was just a figment of Stephen Coonts' imagination! Fidel Castro is still alive, and still dictator of Cuba, but now he's dying of cancer! Fortunately, his mistress is at his bedside when he expires, and she manages to grab some videotapes that will later play an important role in the selection of Castro's successor.

One wonders what Fidel Castro thinks of all this.

I think it's unfortunate that Stephen Coonts bases a book to such a large extent on a real person. In "Under Siege" Castro wasn't really in the story, and his death was a minor event. But in "Cuba" the dying Castro is THE main character for the first 100 pages. And for the following 150 pages the main story is about how the various people in Castro's inner circle fight each other to become the new leader of Cuba.

It's all very exciting and interesting, but it's so hypothetical (the last I heard good ol' Fidel was still alive and kicking) that it makes it difficult to get seriously involved.

Fortunately, in the last half of the book Rear Admiral Jake Grafton of the U.S. Navy becomes the central figure in the story, together with his loyal sidekick Toad Tarkington. Toad's wife Rita is also present, flying a V-22 Osprey, a hybrid helicopter / fixed-wing aircraft - more about this later.
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