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Fortunes of War Mass Market Paperback – April 15, 1999

77 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

YA-A modern military thriller. U.S. Colonel Cassidy and Jiro Kimura, a Japanese fighter pilot, friends since they met at the Air Force Academy, find themselves on opposing sides of a highly charged political situation. Japanese radicals have taken over their country and hope to seize Siberian oil fields to help the failing Japanese economy. Sent to help the Russians, Cassidy and his team of American pilots try to avert a nuclear holocaust. Meanwhile, a Russian submarine inflicts damage on the Japanese coast. The stealthy events leading to the beheading of the Japanese emperor in the opening chapter grab readers' attention. Intense action and the use of short sentences and fragments heighten the dramatic urgency and speed the plot along. There are numerous military details; however, it is possible to skim through them and still get to know the characters and follow the story. This fast read is a good introduction to adult military novels for teens, who will also learn something of Japanese and Russian history from the cultural details woven into the story.
Claudia Moore, W. T. Woodson High School, Fairfax, VA
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

The latest political-military thriller by this best-selling novelist starts off with a bang, not a whimper. The emperor of Japan, who has had some uncustomarily harsh words with his prime minister over Japan's role as a world power, is now the victim of a fanatical military group; these brazen but die-hard men break into the grounds of the Imperial Palace and assassinate--behead!--His Majesty. The emperor had been loathe to learn that his country not only possesses nuclear weapons but also has plans to invade Siberia for its oil reserves. Of course, the U.S. is drawn into the situation, and the stage is set for a World War III^-type conflagration. As is his trait, Coonts thoroughly grounds this swiftly paced narrative in the social, economic, and political conditions of the modern world. Russia's growing chaos after the fall of Communism and Japan's growing need to exercise its muscle inevitably result in a clash. There is a lot of diplomatic conversation here, a lot of talk about hardware, and considerable appeal for readers interested in international thriller-type diversion. Brad Hooper --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Paperbacks (April 15, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312969414
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312969417
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.1 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (77 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,545,607 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By on June 25, 1998
Format: Hardcover
My last Coonts book was Minatour which I thought was a pretty good fictional story on developing the next A6. Good character development, good technical writing about plane tactics and developments, and nice twists involving government bureaucracies and espionage.
But Fortunes of War had none of that. The characters were thin, if not transparent. The plot line was a bit hard to swallow. (A Russia so poor it didn't have even ONE ICBM left??? What's more, Japan with all its economic and technological prowess couldn't field one ICBM???)
And I never got the feeling of "being there," of sitting in a "smart skin" F-22 right alongside Cassidy and wondering about how to find, let alone shoot down a totally stealthy plane like the new Zero. (Think about it, WW-I air tactics at supersonic speeds! Wow! If ONLY Coonts had spent MORE time on that!!!)
Worst of all... the character development was SO THIN, I never empathized with ANY of them. So when it came to the big "show down" at the end, where Cassidy is faced with that "moral" and "emotional" conflict of having to shoot down his good friend Jiro, I couldn't have cared less. And that's a shame. But I suppose this is what I have to settle for until Clancy's Rainbow Six comes out in August!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By John J. Rust on March 16, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Awesome action! Coonts proves he can write beyond Jake Grafton (no offense to the heroic admiral). With Japan on the verge of economic disaster, a cadre of right-wing militants murder the pacifist Emporer and sieze power. Then they go after the oil fields in Siberia. With the Russian military falling apart, Japanese success seems assured. Enter Colonel Bob Cassidy and a volunteer group of F-22 pilots who go over to give the Russians a hand. Coonts did a stupendous job with the action. The dogfights between the new Zeros and the F-22s ruled! But by far the best scene, action-wise, was the Russian sub's devestating raid on Tokyo Bay. Unbelievable stuff! Some of Coonts' best scenes take place on the sub. You can feel the stress and the fear of the men aboard as they undertake suicide missions against the best the Japanese Navy has to offer. Death is just one ping away for these guys. All the American pilots had very unique personalities and my one complaint is that Coonts should have featured them a little more. I also would have liked to have seen more interaction between them. But overall, can't fault this book. Definately a winner!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 4, 1998
Format: Hardcover
Fortunes of War has got to be one of the most exciting and enjoyable books I have read in many years. Although the US contingent led by Air Force Colonel Bob Cassidy plays an important part in the outcome of the war, it is the fierce determination of its to main heroes (both Russian), along with the troubled dedication of Cassidy's long time friend Jiro Kimura that really makes this book something special. The Russian characters of Yan Chernov and submarine Capitan Saratov (along with Saratov's supporting crew) are just too cool. If it wasn't for them, Russia wouldn't have had a chance.
Coonts also shows us how supreme power on the part of both the Japanese and Russian leaders, creates a mindset that causes them to forget about the people they govern and causes them to focus only on their own personal gains.
I found myself cheering when the good things happened, and feeling down when the unfortunate occurred. Coonts gives a wonderful description of all of the charac! ters and events that unfold, without boring us with extensive detailed hi-tech information.
I recommend you pick this book up, find a cozy spot to read it, and just enjoy this extremely fast paced highly entertaining novel.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By C W Breaux on January 13, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Stephen Coonts crafts a tight book with a war scenario between Russia & Japan over control of the Siberian oilfields. The United States gets drawn in, ultimately assisting both sides as desperation leads the combatants to consider nuclear attack.
This is a much faster-paced & faster-reading book than Tom Clancy's Red Storm Rising, for example. He is Clancy's equal with the realism of his combat scenes. As a former combat aviator in Vietnam, he is especially masterful with the aerial battles involving Cassidy, Kimura, & Chernov, the American, Japanese, & Russian protagonist fighter pilots. He's also not too bad with submarine warfare, either.
The action starts quickly & grabs you from the start. I was unable to put it down & probably read it faster than any other novel this year. I heartily endorse this book for fans of modern military fiction.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Larry Scantlebury on July 25, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Mr. Coonts is a formidable writer. What he is able to do is to balance an exquisite knowledge of flying skills and equipment and the men and women who use them, and as well detail an exciting story sprinkled with morality and humanity.

And I admire him because while he's got a sure fire winner in Jake Grafton et al., he remains unafraid to venture into new terrain.

Here he takes three stories, much like David Robbins' gifted novels about WWII, and weaves them in and out of the reader's scope of vision much so that we're really reading three stories at once. A prodigous task that Coonts handles well.

Whether or not such a horrific series of events could occur is in the mind of the writer. Novelists like John LeCarre and Len Deighton writing of the conspiracy of omission by the ABC Agencies forged in the 1980's could never have imagined what we would experience and the cost it would exact 20 years later. But that's the free reign we give our gifted writers. I shudder to think it would happen but the Fortunes of War kept me at a high level of adreneline.

Colonel Bob Cassidy, his Japanese friend Jiro, the Russian Skipper Saretov, Agent Ju, Chernoff, Dixie . . . we root for them and wonder at each encounter if they'll come out alive.

High praise for a novelist. Absolutely worth the time. 5 stars. Larry Scantlebury
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