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Dragon Fire Hardcover – August 21, 2006


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Forge Books; 1st edition (August 21, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765316196
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765316196
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.3 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,205,869 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Exclusive Video
William S. Cohen, former Secretary of Defense, US Senator and Congressman, discusses how writing a political thriller--rather than a memoir--allowed him more freedom to "pierce the veil" of international diplomacy and paint realistic portraits of those in power--and those who seek it.
'Dragonfire' video Clip
Watch a video clip featuring author William Cohen



From Publishers Weekly

Rich in both action and detail, former secretary of defense Cohen's solid debut chronicles several weeks in the life of Michael Santini, who—surprise!—serves as secretary of defense in an administration battling world crises on many fronts. Terrorists are attacking American interests both at home and abroad; Russia, Germany and China appear to be forming a global alliance; and right-wing militias are causing trouble in the U.S. heartland. Santini, besides trying to find a common thread in the chaos, also has to fight his own turf wars inside the Beltway. After a ponderous start, the plot rapidly gathers momentum, zigzagging along in the tradition of the best international thrillers, if at times hitting bumps of superfluous descriptions of military maneuvers and D.C. politics. While Cohen isn't always in control of the large cast and Santini rarely develops beyond an action figure, fans of espionage and intrigue will surely appreciate this political thriller for its authentic glimpse behind the doors of power. (Aug.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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Customer Reviews

Too much verbiage, for one.
Lynn Harnett
As a career soldier, I was disappointed and angry that a former SECDEF knew so little about the military and how it works at the operational level.
Logan D. Fitch
Everything about the plot, the characters, the principal events, has a "torn from the headlines" feel to them, making for a very believable read.
J. Wesley

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By J. Wesley on September 11, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This book probably presages a whole array of spy and espionage novels, that can be expected to feature China as a feature antagonist over the coming years.

On the one hand, I would be delighted if Western audiences began to take a more serious interest in Far East subjects. So much of our global economy is today tied up with that part of the world. On the other hand, I would also hate to see this subject become over-simplified. In no way could China be mistaken for the kind of global empire that the Soviet Union once aspired to be.

The writing style is somewhat clunky in parts. I would also have liked to have seen slightly more character development. The description of the bureaucratic in-fighting and behind-the-scenes political battles of Washington, however, are all too real, as anyone who has read at any length on the subject will recognize. This is no doubt a reflection of William Cohen's personal experiences as Secretary of Defense, although I could point to at least have a dozen autobiographies by Washington insiders that describe similar experiences.

Once you get into the novel, however, the story line flows well. Everything about the plot, the characters, the principal events, has a "torn from the headlines" feel to them, making for a very believable read.

Hopefully, this book will inspire at least some of its audience to learn more about the realities of China's defense policy making, and the potential implications of China's very real military build-up. For those readers who might be interested in learning more about the reality of China's defense policy making, I would recommend "China's Use of Military Force," by Andrew Scobell (2003) as well as "Chinese Warfighting" by Mark A. Ryan, et. al. (2003).
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Lynn Harnett VINE VOICE on September 3, 2006
Format: Hardcover
A republican senator from Maine for 27 years and Secretary of Defense under Bill Clinton, Cohen puts his insider knowledge to work in a global-conspiracy thriller that spans continents and entangles governments. His bull-necked, sharp and independent hero seems modeled in part on John McCain, who gives his former colleague's debut a stellar blurb. Less august readers may not be so enthusiastic.

The story starts off promisingly, with the murders of a couple of low-level Defense Intelligence Agency analysts who discover that people are dying en masse near one of China's nuclear test sites. Then the Secretary of Defense who encouraged the analysts' digging dies in an anthrax attack.

Michael Patrick Santini, a former senator and Vietnam POW who endured lengthy torture and isolation, a man who does not suffer fools gladly, and whose temper has been known to get him into trouble, becomes the new Secretary of Defense. He already has some enemies among the ideologues and power grubbers who surround the president - a background character seen mostly reacting to the often shrill and contradictory opinions of his advisors.

Santini is hardly on the job a month when a German flying team blows up during an air show. We already know it's sabotage and it doesn't take the government long to confirm it. While a rabid local militia seems the obvious culprit, complications point to international influence.

Cohen makes frequent narrative switches, moving among statesmen and conspirators in Russia, Germany, China and the U.S. This enables us to keep track of a plot that develops some fiendishly clever complications. How about, for instance, a Russian Mafiya boss as Russia's next president?
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Richard S. Mezan on September 6, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I originally bought this book more interested in it as a window to the inside politics and intrigues at the Defense Department and Intelligence Agencies than as a spy/terrorist thriller. It turned out to be immensely satisfying on both scores. William S.Cohen's inside perspective on the workings of government are fascinating but he has also, at the same time, managed to create a very captivating and scary tale that gains incredible momentum as you read on. On top of all that, the international politics and machinations frightingly mirror what is now going on in the real world. An excellent read.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Ignacio Umana on September 14, 2006
Format: Hardcover
William Cohen's book, is a fascinating true "roman á clef" of the inner workings of Washington's bureaucracy and a fantastic and first hand insight into the inner circles of the new asian powers and their influence (good and bad). Whether true or false, it certainly generates plenty of expectations. After todays news of the assassination of a high profile Russian Banker, coincidence will become the norm with this book. Not the best narrative but then again it is his first and hopefully not his last novel. Good reading!!!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By John T. McCabe on September 27, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Former Secretary of Defense William Cohen takes a shot at novel authoring and comes up with Dragon Fire. And it's a sure winner. He uses his experience to create gripping but plausible situations along multiple threads of national security. Naturally for an ex-Secretary of Defense, the story is cast in the intrigue of International politics - Russia, Israel, Iraq and Iran and, naturally, the stakes are big-time. It will not take you long to read Dragon Fire - the book is a self-activated page turner.
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