Customer Reviews: The Lions of Lucerne (Scot Harvath Book 1)
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on May 12, 2003
This was one heck of a good read. It had all of the ingredients that people like Ludlum, Clancy,Flynn and Cussler like to mix into their stories. There is a dastardly villian - a brave and handsome hero - an interesting cast of characters, some villians, some brave men and women - a love interest - intrigue - adventure - action and a turning and twisitng plot that will keep you interested to the end.
Scott Harvath, a Secret Service Agent is part of the detail that is protecting the President and his daughter while on a skiing vacation in Utah. A conspiracy at the highest levels of government causes the skiing party to be ambushed and only Harvath, the President and his daughter survive the assault. However, the President has been kidnapped and the remainder of the book deals with Harvath's crusade to avenge his fallen comrades and recover the President alive. How he goes about that makes for interesting and page turning reading. This book is the first in a series of at least two as there is a sequel which has been released and which I will be reviewing shortly. It's good to have another top flight action writer on the scene.
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VINE VOICEon March 7, 2002
Well, let me start off by telling you why this book received 4 stars from me instead of five. It was predictable, and the hero was almost too good to be true.Now....that said, I really did enjoy this book. I love thrillers (like Ludlum and Forysyth) and this book fits the bill. It was fast paced, very well written, I could see the action and feel some of the emotions. I think it is a great beginning for this author, and I look forward to his next book, and look forward to seeing this character again. So don't let the four stars stop you from reading it, just go into it with the knowledge that you will probably know where the author is going, but you will have fun if you go along for the ride.
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on November 24, 2005
Scot Harvath is a member of the secret service's advance team protecting the US President and his daughter on a ski vacation. However, this vacation goes horribly wrong when a group of men ambush the President's protective detail, kidnap the President, and leave hardly any clues behind. Scot, however, with extensive SEAL training, begins to follow the few strands of evidence that are left behind. But when the power players start to plant evidence that points in Scot's direction he realizes that he must act quickly and stay at least two steps ahead of those that are trying to frame him if he wants to clear his name, find the President, but most importantly - stay alive!

The Lions of Lucerne is the debut novel for Brad Thor. It is well written for the most part and fairly fast-paced. Like many thriller novels there are portions that require you to check reality at the door, but that is part of what makes this genere fun. It is not the best in the business, and could be considered a watered down version of a Vince Flynn novel, but is enjoyable nonetheless. It is relatively predictable and the heros escape a ridiculous amount of well aimed bullets, but you will enjoy it for its mostly page turning fun.
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on August 20, 2004
I have been a Robert Ludlum ( Jason Bourne Series ), Tom Clancy, Stephen Coonts and Dan Brown fan for years. I place Brad Thor on an equal to these authors. He has created the character of Scott Harvath that compares to Jason Bourne, and Mr. Clark. I found the book to be well written, and fast-paced, the type of book I didn't want to put down for a minute.
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on October 23, 2010
Lord knows I love a good international military thriller, but in my not so humble opinion, this book could have benefitted from a stern editor. The prose and especially the dialogue is painfully stilted. Given how big Thor is in this genre, I was shocked to find that, for all the action-related goodness, he really doesn't seem to be a very good writer.
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on May 8, 2014
This is the first Thor book I've read. And, I doubt I will read any more. A hero with zero flaws? It makes Horvath a totally one-dimensional, pretty-boy lunkhead. Jack Reacher has depth and intelligence and flaws. Harry Bosch, ditto. This character was exhausting to read because he always had a foolproof what Secret Service agent doesn't keep $20,000 and a fake passport in their safe deposit box? And, he gets smashed in an avalanche, shot, stabbed, yada, yada. It, honestly, bored me to tears. I struggled through almost the entire book and it's cheesy, pedestrian dialog until about 20 pages from the end. He finally finds the president, and because it's dark and he can't see, the Pres asks "who's there?" Realistically, he'd say something like "It's me Scott, sir" or "Scott Horvath." keeping with the high school writing project dialogue, he says "Secret Service Agent, Scott Horvath, Mr. President." Bad guys are all over the place and it's the chaotic ending where it seems to me a real SEAL (in his case former SEAL) would be heroic and say as few words as possible. It was just so incredibly awful that I promptly closed the book and threw it in the recycle bin in the airport. I didn't want to subject anyone else to this cheesy mess. I couldn't get the theme song from Indiana Jones out of my head--no offense to the first Indiana Jones. Long and short of it, I didn't care if Scott, the President, and the beautiful helper chick got shot, stabbed and thrown off the freezing mountaintop!! I just wanted the suffering (mine, not the characters') to end. If you're looking for quality writing, stick with Lee Child, Brian Haag, and Michael Connelly. This guy needs to go back to Freshman Comp 101 not hungover from the frat party the night before!
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on July 19, 2004
I'm going to have to disagree with some of the reviewers that have written previously. You know, going into this book, I didn't have extremely high hopes (I hardly ever do), but I like to read reviews of a book before I spend a week or so of my valuable off-work time reading it. I saw all the good reviews and decided to give this one a shot... and I have to say it was... eh. I was more than a little disappointed because usually the reviews here are right on the money if you look at the average.
I consider myself a pretty avid reader. I've read most everything Tom Clancy, Robert Ludlum, Lee Child, and Daniel Silva have to offer... as well as a lot of Stephen King, and various other authors that I can't even remember right now as I'm sitting here. I'm not that hard to please as long as the story is decent, characters are somewhat believable, or if they're not believable at least their actions are in the context of who they are. I LOVE a good story, no matter what genre.
That being said, the premise was cool... the action was pretty well choreographed... and I liked the bad guys getting it in the end. What about the story in between ? Well... for starters, the dialogue was very subpar considering who Thor is being compared to. I've always thought that it wasn't an actor that won the Oscar, it was the director behind the actor that won the actor the Oscar. I think also, that a good editor should have caught most of the trite dialogue that can sound good to the author at the time, but should come up after a couple of revisions.
Scot Harvath, at least for most of the first half of the book, comes off a lot of the time as a petulent child. I mean how many times does he insist on getting up and getting after the bad guys after being injured in the avalanche ? It's like "I get it Mr. Thor !! He's dedicated and wants to get out of bed !! Ok ? Can we move on ?" His actions and dialogue seemed like a 8 year old who's just been told by his mommy he can't go out and play with little Jimmy Jones down the street. And let's not get started on his actions in the case. Breaking the rules is one thing, but being a Navy SEAL does not make you an expert investigator. Nothing in the plot line suggested even remotely that the FBI investigators were inept and couldn't handle things themselves. Again, I was reminded of a child being told he can't do something and then doing it anyway just because he can. I found myself sympathizing with the investigators who were just trying to do their job and Harvath being a total jerk along the way... contaminating crime scenes... stealing evidence, etc. I admit, I grew to like him more and more along the way, but I couldn't get over my first impressions of him. He reminded me of a SEAL that I've seen many times before named Scott Helvenston who recently died in Iraq as private security personnel. Extremely talented, but what a complete jerk. (Remember the show "Combat Missions"?)
It seemed there were a few themes going through the story. "Everybody hates the FBI and they're a bunch of goofballs except the ones that are Harvath's friends"... "Nobody understands despite overwhelming proof otherwise what is happening except Harvath, the only one without extensive investigative training"... and "Harvath is a dedicated ex-Navy SEAL who is a top of the line Secret Service agent who has superhuman instincts and senses that he got from his SEAL days. Did we mention he was a SEAL ?"
There were little things here and there that bothered me... such as Harvath and Claudia only bringing ONE magazine a piece for their firearms to a potential gunfight. Also the bit about bringing a toy Airsoft gun along to intercept some bad guys. Inventive, yes, and I understand why... but extremely stupid and unprofessional. And I thought it odd how the "most notorious team of professional killers the world has ever known" according to the jacket cover... could miss EVERY SINGLE TIME they shot at Harvath and Claudia when they were standing completely still. One time, maybe... but every single time ??... well except for the flesh wound he got in his arm when he was running. Make Harvath run ! Because you're not going to get him if he's standing still ! He must have learned that skill in the SEALs. This along with the other "themes" I mentioned are beat into your head time and time again.
I don't mind melodrama. Hey, The Bourne Identity is one of my favorite books ever... and at one point I thought I'd had enough of the "I'm Jason Bourne. No, I'm David Webb. No, I'm Michael Jansen. No wait. Wrong novel" type stuff. But the story was wonderful and original and the dialogue was at least passable.
I was disappointed because of what this book could and should have been. Better than Clancy or Ludlum ?? Are you nuts ?? If you like the tough guy who beats up and/or kills all the bad guys in a satisfying fashion type book, read Lee Child. Start with "Killing Floor" and work your way up. There's none better.
I gave this one 3 stars because the action was good, and the premise was pretty original. The storytelling is what made it suffer. All the emotion felt dry and forced. Not a bad first try, but let's hope for better in the future.
As for Harvath, Bourne or Reacher he is not... but did I mention that Harvath was a Navy SEAL ?
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on December 24, 2014
I'm glad that I borrowed this book from the public library. For, if I had paid for it, I'd be terribly upset. Brad Thor's protagonist, Scot Harvath, in this novel is more akin to Superman than any real life person. In fact, I'm surprised the author did give Scot Harvath a cape and the ability to leap tall buildings in a single bound. Yes, I get it, Scot Harvath is a Navy SEAL, and failure isn't an option. But real people, even SEALs, have limitations. I suspect, that if Thor had a one-on-one bout between Scot and Superman, the man of steel would get his butt kicked.
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on June 26, 2016
Scot Harvath, former Navy Seal and currently serving in the Secret Service, is with the President and his daughter on their ski vacation. The President is presumed missing in a massive snow slide until an avalanche of evidence indicates he has likely been kidnapped.

Thus begins the fantastic journey of Harvath searching for the President. Injured in the avalanche protecting the President’s daughter, and unable to convince any of the powers that be that now is the acceptable time to find the President (rather than when official channels finally concede that he might have been abducted), Harvath sets out on his own.

Assassins to the left, Lions to the right, and a lineup of corrupt politicians all closing in <spoiler>to not only kill him but frame him for the whole thing, too</spoiler>!

How this has not been made into a movie yet is beyond me. Full of action, intrigue, good and bad guys, and a really likeable couple of leads, this is low-hanging fruit. It was very hard to put my Kindle away for silly things like work while reading this (I generally read at lunch on weekdays and extended breakfast on weekends). The story just grabs you by the eyeballs and keeps applying pressure.

While I loved reading this, I felt a few of the characters were developed a little heavy-handed, and some of the plot was telegraphed way in advance. Maybe I’m being too picky. But generally, I’m not that picky, and if I realize it, it must stand out dramatically. None of it’s too bad to shatter my enjoyment of it, but it’s something that’s there.

A good, solid four stars.

[cross-posted to Goodreads]
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on March 14, 2002
Eminently forgettable.
Contrary to Vince Flynn's comment on the dust jacket "I just couldn't put it down" - I could (and did) put this one down many times.
Overall I was not very impressed by either the writing or the story. Brad Thor's novel is more a description of exotic locales and improbable scenarios strung together around a weak story than a coherent, plot driven novel. I expect books of this genre to have good plots, average writing, and lots of tension. This one has a weak plot, bad writing and whatever tension there is Thor manages to dissipate with some corny lines and inept dialogue:
- "I'm bulletproof."
- A strange but all-too-familiar feeling began to creep over him in the murky night.
- "He's gone to have cocktails with Allah"
- "A little prick from a little prick with a little prick."
- "I vas supposed to be here for another three veeks, but now with zis baby coming early, vee do vat vee can, no?" (The hero masquerading as a German).
Thor's protagonist - Superman Scot Harvath, AKA Timex (Takes a licking and ....) is a former SEAL working for the Secret Service (These guys are never accountants working for the office of Management and Budget) cast in the Jason Bourne, Dirk Pitt, James Bond mold. Assigned to protecting the President, his reputation is maligned when his charge is kidnapped and 30 of his fellow agents are killed. After some quick soul searching our hero concludes that he is not to blame but that he must avenge the deaths of those killed and redeem his pledge to protect the President. The rest is obvious.
Despite some well written parts, much of the book is cluttered with irrelevant details and missing some important ones. What started out as an interesting story fails to retain interest since the plot is not well developed. It doesn't quite rise to the level of detail that Alistair MacLean had in "Golden Gate" - the definitive novel about the kidnapping of the President. It spooked the Secret Service to the point where they tested the scenario.
The Lions of Lucerne seems to be struggling to find a middle ground between Clive Cussler and Robert Ludlum. The result is a rather ho-hum story with neither the fascinating, though improbable scenarios created by Cussler or the intensity of Ludlum. There is no situation that Scot has not planned for and no contingency he is not prepared for. He's McGywer and The Terminator rolled into one. Yet, despite all his abilities Scot never manages to sleep with any of the women he meets - starting with the President's daughter that has a crush on him to the beautiful Claudia. Scot and the rest of the cast come off as two-dimensional characters. They have no lives outside their jobs and nothing much is ever written about what makes them tick. The conspiracy itself is too dependent on coincidences and implausible explanations to make the ranks of books like Dr. No or Seven Days in May.
Thor gets a C for effort and a D for the story.
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