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Starfire: A Novel Hardcover – Unabridged, May 6, 2014

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Editorial Reviews Review

Dale Brown
Dan Hampton
Dan Hampton, author of Lords of the Sky and Viper Pilot, interviews Dale Brown

Dan Hampton (DH): Do you think the United States has lost our edge in space and, if so, can we recover it?

Dale Brown (DB): The U. S. lost our edge when we canceled the Shuttle but failed to have a replacement ready. We can certainly regain it, but it will take a substantial national commitment.

DH: If a second space race occurs could it possibly be globally unifying instead of globally divisive?

DB: As the U. S. Navy ensures access to the world's oceans for all by establishing a powerful global seagoing presence, the U. S. must establish a strong presence in space to ensure access for all. That will be seen by many as a threat. The question is: will the U. S. take a leadership position?

DH: Why do you believe Russia would be our primary threat over, say, India or China?

DB: Only Russia has the military force necessary to completely destroy America. Groups like al Qaeda can and have disrupted life in America; North Korea and Iran can threaten our allies and our overseas bases; China could cause a severe economic crisis. But only Russia could wipe our entire swaths of American life.

DH: One of the interesting things about your work are the ties to real world events - how important is this to you in creating good fiction?

DB: One of my goals as an author is to have folks read or watch a story about some event or crisis and then go to the bookstore and pick up my novel depicting the very save event or crisis. Another goal is to write about future events and technology and have them come true a few years later. That's a real kick in the pants for me!

Dan Hampton is the New York Times bestselling author of Viper Pilot and Lords of the Sky, as well as a decorated U. S. Air Force Lieutenant Colonel (Ret. ) with 151 combat missions completed during his twenty years in the USAF.


“A page-turner filled with an insider’s knowledge of military aircraft.” (Kirkus)

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 432 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow; 1st Printing edition (May 6, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062262394
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062262394
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.3 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (221 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #513,017 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Former U.S. Air Force captain Dale Brown is the superstar author of 21 action-adventure "techno-thriller" novels: FLIGHT OF THE OLD DOG (1987), SILVER TOWER (1988), DAY OF THE CHEETAH (1989), HAMMERHEADS (1990), SKY MASTERS (1991), NIGHT OF THE HAWK (1992), CHAINS OF COMMAND (1993), STORMING HEAVEN (1994), SHADOWS OF STEEL (1996), FATAL TERRAIN (1997), THE TIN MAN (1998), BATTLE BORN, (1999), WARRIOR CLASS (2001), WINGS OF FIRE (2002), AIR BATTLE FORCE (2003), PLAN OF ATTACK (2004), ACT OF WAR (2005), EDGE OF BATTLE (2006), STRIKE FORCE (May 2007), SHADOW COMMAND (2008) ROGUE FORCES (2009), EXECUTIVE INTENT (2010) and A TIME FOR PATRIOTS (May 2011). Fourteen of his novels have been New York Times best-sellers. He is also the co-author of the best-selling DREAMLAND techno-thriller series and writer and technical consultant of the Act of War PC real-time strategy game published by Atari Interactive and the Megafortress PC flight simulator by Three-Sixty Pacific. Dale's novels are published in 11 languages and distributed to over 70 countries. Worldwide sales of his novels, audiobooks and computer games exceed 12 million copies.

Dale was born in Buffalo, New York on November 2, 1956. He graduated from Penn State University with a degree in Western European History and received an Air Force commission in 1978. He was a navigator-bombardier in the B-52G Stratofortress heavy bomber and the FB-111A supersonic medium bomber, and is the recipient of several military decorations and awards including the Air Force Commendation Medal with oak leaf cluster, the Combat Crew Award, and the Marksmanship ribbon. Dale was also one of the nation's first Air Force ROTC cadets to qualify for and complete the grueling three-week U.S. Army Airborne Infantry paratrooper training course. He was also an Air Force instructor on aircrew life support and combat survival, evasion, resistance, and escape.

Dale supports a number of organizations to promote law enforcement, education, and literacy. He is a Life Member of the Air Force Association, U.S. Naval Institute, and National Rifle Association. He is a command pilot for Angel Flight West (, a group that donate their time, skills, and aircraft to fly medical patients free of charge. He is also a mission pilot with the Civil Air Patrol, flying a variety of missions in support of the U.S. Air Force and other federal agencies. He is a multi-engine and instrument-rated private pilot and can often be found in the skies all across the United States, piloting his Piper Aztec-E airplane. On the ground, Dale enjoys tennis, scuba diving, and soccer. Dale, his wife Diane, and son Hunter live near Lake Tahoe, Nevada.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By I Feel the Need, the Need to Read book blog on May 6, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
I am a fan of techno-thrillers, military aerospace, and space exploration. I also have some (VERY minor) technical expertise in these areas. I am also no stranger to Dale Brown’s storytelling. In fact, the very first book that I bought with my own money and read purely for the enjoyment of reading was “Flight of the Old Dog.” That novel introduced a cast of characters that have progressed and evolved over the last 20+ years and 20+ books—creating a parallel, but very similar world to the one that exists in 2014, the setting for “Starfire.”

This is the story of Bradley McLanahan, a mediocre undergrad student in the aerospace engineering program at Cal Poly University. Brad and his team of students have taken on an ambitious project related to the collection and transmission of solar power from space down to earth. Much of their success seems tied to McLanahan’s connections, which are mainly rooted in his father, Patrick’s military and civilian career. General Patrick McLanahan is Brown’s most prolific character, and the central figure in the series. Avoiding spoilers, there is espionage, combat, personal conflict and some agonizingly accurate political and bureaucratic gamesmanship by a cast of U.S. and foreign leaders.

What remains are the two signatures of a Dale Brown novel. There is suspense and story development that builds steadily into a thrilling page-turner, and exiting technology that is at (or tantalizingly just beyond) the cutting edge. The technology can be intimidating, but Brown is well-practiced at explaining things without getting buried in the details. He even includes a cast and glossary in the front of the book for reference.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Sean M. Walsh on May 20, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Book started off great and just as the story was getting down to the battle...fade to Nevada where the main characters are 2 weeks later. I dont know what Dale Brown has been doing lately, but his last couple of boooks have all been rushed to a finale bypassing what would be the most interesting part of the book
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Charles Rimpo on May 22, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
I have read and enjoyed the other books in this series. However, I was disappointed in Starfire. It seemed to me more of a set up for the next book rather than an enjoyable story that stands up well on its own.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Gem555 on May 24, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Dale is mailing it in. Long on tech explanations, short on action too. I think Brown needs to regroup and reconsider the story arc a bit.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Mr David Bax on May 19, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Way too technical basically a manual on how to run a space program , the story dragged , then the end was sudden with no clear explanation as if the author got bored. The story went from climax to end with no proper explanation or any answer on half the protagonists.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Tom D VINE VOICE on May 29, 2014
Format: Hardcover
If there's a teen age techno-thriller genre, this fits. Spoiler alerts.

The underlying plot premise is that a small group of 1st and 2nd year teen age college students, with some free external help, can design then build a Space Based Power platform for $25 million and beam power to earth using a microwave laser (maser). If you're able to do the design, you're not a 1st or 2nd year college student. Somehow that MASER is supposed to be radically different than a space based laser in the novel, prohibited by a treaty the US hasn't signed, but is abiding by anyway. The whole premise is silly, directed energy regardless of type is a potential weapon with sufficient intensity. Microwave energy in particular is able to destroy electronics, just put your iPhone in the microwave if you never want to use it again. Search HPM or HPM laser and you'll see how "traditional" microwaves are as a directed energy weapon.

There are irritating inconsistencies, essential to the plot. For example, some people in the US government know the Russians have weaponized space planes, but no one bothers to tell the defense forces on their primary target, the US military space base. As a consequence, a Russian space plane, recognized and in plain sight, casually sits by the space station destroying weapons and space station modules, but isn't counterattacked because "it's not a direct threat."

The Russians are supposed to be the irrational bad guys in this one, but it's doubtful that any country with the capability of stopping it, would allow another country to overfly them multiple times a day with a weapon system capable of destroying anything on the ground at will.

This seemed more like an Archie comic book without pictures than a techno-thriller.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Fred Rayworth on January 17, 2015
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I’ve always seen this guy’s books right next to Dan Brown’s and often got them confused until I looked closely at the covers and name, and then the back and noticed they were military thrillers. I usually avoid specific military thrillers because I was in the Air Force for 24 years and have had my fill of all that.

I had a moment of weakness and picked Starfire up just to check out this guy’s writing. Maybe because it was a thriller and in third-person, past-tense. Maybe because the author lives in Nevada, like me? I should’ve seen the warning signs when there was a glossary at the front full of acronyms.

The story was like reading an Air Force technical manual half the time, while at other times it was an orgy for fighter jocks and military buffs. I did my time, well beyond the 24 years active duty and frankly, I’ve had my fill and none of that prose endeared me to the story that was buried amongst all the jargon and macho call signs.

A lot of real estate was spent going over the technicalities. With very long chapters and scenes, it was a chore to read. Lots of three and two paragraph-per-page writing made it tedious. Not only that, but it was written in the omniscient point of view so the head-hopping was all over the place and it was hard to get into one character’s head before I was jerked out of it into another character, then right back into the first character’s head again.

Then there was the story threads that went nowhere like the kid heroes’ big effort to learn self defense and it was totally useless except for one confrontation against a couple of homeless guys outside a casino. It never even came into play where it counted against the bad guys.
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