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The Enigma Dragon: A CATS Tale (The Enigma Series Book 9) by [Charles V Breakfield, Roxanne E Burkey]
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The Enigma Dragon: A CATS Tale (The Enigma Series Book 9) Kindle Edition

4.6 out of 5 stars 6 ratings
Book 9 of 11: The Enigma Series

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Length: 362 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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  • Book 9 of 11 in The Enigma Series
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Editorial Reviews

Review

Kirkus Review
In this ninth volume of Breakfield and Burkey's (The Enigma Broker, 2017, etc.) techno-thriller series, a covert team tracks groups who are moving information and funds using non-digital means.
The latest assignment for Julie and Juan Rodríguez's Cyber Assassin Technology Services involves more footwork than is typical for them. Julie dispatches team members to various locales from Panama to Singapore to track "AIMs"--"analog information mules" working for a global energy company called ePETRO. The AIMs handle business transactions by word of mouth in order to subvert any digital surveillance. Marge Barger and Mike Patrick of ePETRO have good reason for maintaining secrecy, as they're currently buying oil illegally from Muslim terrorists and selling it to the North Korean government. Julie goes undercover as a woman named Jackeline Cooper and lands a job at ePETRO's London office, while other CATS members, including Tyler Hebert and Ernesto Gleen in New York, search for AIMs in order to record the contacts that they make. It's not as mundane as it sounds, as information mules aren't easy to trail. But then CATS members, including Julie, inexplicably vanish, and Juan and the remaining members must ensure that everyone gets home safely as they attempt to thwart ePETRO's nefarious plans. By this point in their long-running series, Breakfield and Burkey have mastered the art of telling a story with myriad characters. They've amassed a wealth of recurring heroes, which, in this installment, generates a wide variety of storylines; CATS member Brayson Morris in Panama, for example, is apparently disenchanted and may be ready to leave the team. However, it's the villains that steal the spotlight this time around. There's obvious dissention among them, resulting in a string of double-crossings and scenes that brim with tension. Marge and Mike, in particular, aren't telling each other everything; for example, a solo Marge strives to meet the North Koreans' demand for uranium on her own. 
This second CATS-centric installment (after 2016's The Enigma Gamers) will leave readers yearning for more.
Astute prose and an unwavering pace energized by first-rate characters and subplots
LITERARY TITAN
The Enigma Dragon: A CATS Tale, by Charles Breakfield and Roxanne Burkey, is a fascinating tale of technological wonderment. The CATS (Cyber Assassin Technology Services) team has assembled from various global points with a singular goal and an overwhelming need to discover the source of North Korea's missile supply. The team of equally capable and delightfully eclectic personalities masterfully manipulate a world of technological advancements as they handle their own personal crises-one after the other. The authors have created an amazing team of players ranging from married couple, Julie and Juan Rodriguez, to the villainous Marge. The globetrotting CATS team does not disappoint.

My favorite member of the CATS team is likely not the choice of most readers. I was completely enthralled with the story line involving Jamie. It is not often I reread chapters during the first read of a book, but I found myself lost in the tale of loss and despair described in Jamie's chapter. His is a plot I would love to see further developed in subsequent Enigma books.

Julie and Juan Rodriguez are a couple like no other. The love they show for one another is enviable and not often found in books of this genre. The authors have given Juan some incredible monologues in which he, in no uncertain terms, declares his undying love for Julie. Julie, a dedicated CATS team member, is also a doting mother and exudes power in every way.

Marge, a vile and loathsome woman of pure evil, is the one character readers will revel in hating. The authors have expertly stretched out her character development to slowly reveal exactly how twisted and demented she really is. Without revealing too much about Marge's wonderful plot twist, I will say I found shock, horror, and satisfaction tied up in one neat package before the end of the book.

Connie, like Jamie, holds a storyline in her hands like a beautiful package just awaiting the untying of its bow. Her dialect alone is a refreshing addition to the dialogue provided throughout the book. She is a loving, cunning, and especially memorable character addition who shows up late in the plot but deserves a regular place in the lives of the CATS team.
My only complaint regarding this book is the excessive use of acronyms. Many of them are humorous and all are quite effective in their descriptions and uses, but I found them to be a bit distracting as I read as many of them are in excess of five letters.

Breakfield and Burkey have created a book fraught with danger, tinged with grim backstories, and peppered with romance. They have indeed achieved a perfect mix of genres in the guise of a technological thrill ride.
I would recommend this book to any reader eager to break into the science fiction genre. The long list of highly relatable characters makes this particular piece the perfect choice for anyone who has been hesitant to step into science fiction with a techno taste.

InD'Tale Magazine
TECHNO THRILLER:  Juan and Julie Rodriguez, heads of the Cyber Assassin Technology Services (CATS) group, are trying to figure out who is running an illegal operation, but they can't track them digitally. The technology that is supposed to help people has become a means of targeting them instead. North Korea somehow has missiles, but no one is sure how they got them. Everyone, no matter how seemingly friendly, could be a terrorist.  The CATS team splits up to try and resolve the unrest going on in the world by tracking down the Analog Information Mules or AIMS. Bigger problems loom on the horizon, however, and the CATS team members must decide who they can really trust and whether they can even trust each other?
This techno thriller is brilliantly written, with heart-stopping action and wonderfully likable characters. Even though the book starts off slowly, it quickly gains steam until the reader is truly immersed in a fictional digitalized world that seems all too real. The book is the ninth in the series, and to truly understand the nuanced relationships it wouldn't hurt to read the other books beforehand. The technology is a bit dated but manages to push the story forward getting the characters through daily life and trouble. The many characters from Juan, Julie, Mike, Marge, Steven Christopher, Ernesto, Quip, and Tyler are easily imagined individually but still manage to bring a cohesiveness as a group. Readers will like how the book vividly paints a true account of today, including how technology can be our own worst enemy.

About the Author

Burkey - Works as a business architect who builds solutions for customers on a good technology foundation. She has written many technology papers, white papers, but finds the freedom of writing fiction a lot more fun. As a child, she helped to lead the kids with exciting new adventures built on make believe characters, a Girl Scout until high school, and contributed to the community as a young member of a Head Start program. Rox enjoys family, learning, listening to people, travel, outdoor activities, sewing, cooking, and thinking about how to diversify the series. Breakfield and Burkey started writing non-fictional papers and books, but it wasn't nearly as fun as writing fictional stories. They found it interesting to use the aspects of technology that people are incorporating into their daily lives more and more as a perfect way to create a good guy/bad guy story with elements of travel to the various places they have visited either professionally and personally, humor, romance, intrigue, suspense, and a spirited way to remember people who have crossed paths with them. They love to talk about their stories with private and public book readings. Burkey also conducts regular interviews of Texas authors, which she finds very interesting. Her first interview was, wait for it, Breakfield. You can often find them at local book fairs or other family oriented events. --This text refers to the paperback edition.

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Reviewed in the United States on July 19, 2019