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Ghost (Paladin of Shadows Book 1) Mass Market Paperback – October 31, 2006

Book 1 of 6 in the Paladin of Shadows Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Fans of Ringo's military SF epics (Into the Looking Glass) may at first think Mike Harmon, the hero of this unusual novel, is cut from the same cloth as Mike O'Neal from the Posleen War series (Watch on the Rhine, etc.). Like O'Neal, Harmon is a former Navy SEAL trying to adjust to civilian life who gets sucked back into action by circumstances, in particular by his witnessing the kidnaping of a college coed by jihadists. It becomes clear, though, that Harmon has a darker side, to which, by late in the book, as illustrated by a shocking scene in a Bosnian brothel, Harmon has almost completely surrendered. More techno-thriller than SF, this is a picaresque tale about a modern Barry Lyndon who resists, with equivocal results, baser instincts brought out by extreme stress. It's refreshing to find a successful popular writer who's not afraid to try something different, and the adventurous reader will find Ringo's latest insightful, exciting and outrageously funny. (Oct.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Review

"More techno-thriller than science fiction, this is a picaresque tale about a modern Barry Lyndon who resists, with equivocal results, baser instincts brought out by extreme stress... and adventurous reader will find Ringo's latest insightful, exciting and outrageously funny." - Publishers Weekly."
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Baen; Reprint edition (October 31, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416520872
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416520870
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.1 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (205 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #145,247 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I'm a professional author of... Well, I used to say "science fiction." Then came There Will Be Dragons, which is sf with a distinct fantasy twist. Then came Ghost which is techno-thriller crossed with porn. Then came Princess of Wands, a Christian soccer mom battling demons through the power of God. Who knows what's next? Children's books? (I've actually got that one mapped out. You see, there's this girl who is raised by dolphins... You think I'm joking, don't you?)
:-)

Customer Reviews

Sadly, I can't recommend this book.
Achillea
The stories are pretty carefully plotted, although the third one kind of skips around a little too much.
Mike Garrison
Don't purchase it...you'll be wasting your money.
Raven

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

198 of 232 people found the following review helpful By Mike Garrison on October 19, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I found myself voting "helpful" for reviews with one star and reviews with five stars. I'm definitely conflicted over this book.

As the author says in his own review on this site, the book reads well. The stories are pretty carefully plotted, although the third one kind of skips around a little too much.

And how many nukes does one guy just happen to stumble across? In that respect it reminds me of the murder mystery genre, where amatuer sleuths just happen to trip over bodies every time they go on vacation. Suspension of disbelief is integral to the idea. These are "tall tales", not psuedo-realism.

And yes, there is lots of sex. Very dark sex, too. And it gets darker from story to story.

And yes, there is lots of violence. Very dark violence, too. It also gets darker from story to story.

Not only is the book not "politically correct", but it is an over-the-top right wing fairy tale. The hero is always right, the Bush-like president is noble and wise, all liberals and the French are weak and stupid, and all the positively portrayed characters make comments about how they are now going to vote Republican for life. The book is also relentless about showing the bad side of Islam: the villians in all three stories are Muslim terrorists. There is not a single sympathetic portrayal of a Muslim in any of the stories.

But ... well that's what this book is about. It is not about plot realism, political moderation, or cultural understanding. It is about darkness: rage, sexual dominance, the seductive joy of killing your enemies, and most of all it is about the relationship of the wolves to the sheep.

It is well executed, but very disturbing. I'm not surprised the author had to be talked into publishing it. It reads more like a private exorcism of personal demons than something intended for public consumption.
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120 of 147 people found the following review helpful By Cliff W. Gilmore on September 25, 2007
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book is not about a conflicted protagonist who wrestles with his dark side. It is (at best) pulp fiction a la Don Pendleton's "The Executioner" -- but without the romance. At worst the publisher deliberately avoided mention on the back cover of the book that it is porn rather than a "techno-thriller."

To summarize, Ringo's "hero" defeats three groups of stereotyped terrorist plots while stopping along the way to school two young college freshmen co-eds in the ways of three-way bondage and to beat, rape and sodomize a teen girl, then buy her (as in, purchase her from another person for cash), and offer an offhand, half-hearted apology for his behavior.

Fortunately our hero advises the co-eds to call their mothers before they let themselves get tied up and the young teen is a foreign slave girl with the worldly wisdom to realize that a tip of 300 American dollars for services rendered really takes the edge off of any pain (either physical or psychological) that rape, sodomy, and a good knocking about might bring on.

The previous paragraph is not a joke. Or, if it is, the punch line is that Ringo actually wrote this book and Baen chose to publish it.

I am a 12-year U.S. Marine with a BS in Psych, an MS in Organizational Management, and working toward a doctorate in the field of leadership. I am neither a prude nor an idiot -- and I advise the following with confidence: If you find yourself sympathizing with Ringo's "Ghost" or you think that rape is an understandable way to relieve stress, then you should seek counseling immediately.

Seriously. And ESPECIALLY if you are a member of the U.S. armed forces.
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33 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Kevin W. Watson on January 30, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Ugh. I received the paperback of this book as a holiday stocking-stuffer. Fortunately, I didn't have to purchase it myself.

I was somewhat looking forward to the book, as I have previously read "Watch on the Rhine" and enjoyed it considerably. I was ready for the "controversial" nature of the book, since in "Watch..." the protagonists are dubiously reformed (and restored) members of the Waffen SS. If one can convincingly make them look sympathetic-well, I guess I was intrigued to see how the anti-hero sexual predator could be portrayed.

Wow, holy disappointment.

Plot-wise, the earlier reviews are pretty much dead-on. The ex-SEAL Mike Harmon is able to score a practical "one shot-one kill" hit rate with a variety of NATO and Warsaw Pact small arms on dozens of incredibly one-dimensional "Middle Eastern jihadist" types in combat scenes that read like their out of "The Turner Diaries," while avoiding critical injury himself. (In the first novella, when Mike is hit, he is able to survive by jamming feminine hygiene products into the wounds, no Curlex, no forceps, just-girlie stuff.)

The more bothersome part of the book, as mentioned earlier, is the BDSM "rough sex" subplot, which occupies half of the second two stories. For me, the problem with the graphic depictions of BDSM and rape within the book stems from the fact that they are entirely without any sort of "ethos." For those who have read John Norman's Gor series, the Nietzchean/evolutionary psychology subtext of the stories give the Gorean culture a raison d'etre-morally offensive or not. Mike has "demons" that have no real basis in anything, other than pure "masculinity" or the product of PTS, which makes him want to "act out" his aggression. Great...
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