- File Size: 833 KB
- Print Length: 362 pages
- Publisher: ICABOD Press (October 5, 2017)
- Publication Date: October 5, 2017
- Sold by: Amazon.com Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B0767QD12G
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,350,285 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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The Enigma Dragon: A CATS Tale (The Enigma Series Book 9) Kindle Edition
|Length: 362 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
|Page Flip: Enabled||
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|Age Level: 18 - 18|
- Book 9 of 11 in The Enigma Series
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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.
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.
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The plot of the story feels pulled directly from the headlines, but there is a small problem, it appears to be pulled from all the headlines for at least the last twenty years. There are smatterings of fake news, the ominous shadow of North Korean aggression, Russian muscle flexing, instability in the Middle East, terrorism, government and corporate misuse of data, copious amounts of corruption, data security breaches, AI development, economic dislocation, the perils and promise of globalization, and even a taste of the old oil-for-food scandal. It is all fine, but it does add up to a lot.
What really makes this book, however, are the two primary antagonists: Mike Patrick and Marge Barger. These two are metaphorically engaged in lubricating a corrupt machinery with illegally acquired Middle Eastern oil and are an intent on selling uranium to the North Koreans. This may sound simple enough but the plot is adequately complex as described above.
A familiar cast is also back to thwart their devious plans: Julie and Juan Rodriguez, EZ, the entirety of R-Group, and ICABOD. At times, the contrast between Mike/Marge and the 'good guys' feels more than a little forced, as if the writers were really trying to point out ethical/moral differences: old school authoritarian sexist antagonists versus libertine but ethical good guys.
The story's broad theme raises a coherent, timely, and highly relevant question: what happens if data becomes weaponized? Imagine this -- what would happen if every detail on social media, email, pictures on your phone, every keyboard keystroke, and every CCTV camera frame could be collected, categorized, and utilized to control and coerce public and private behavior?
In many ways, the technology is almost there and probably will be within a decade. The technology presented in The Enigma Dragon may be fictional, but not by much, and gives a hint to what the public could face. In a very real sense, the book is deeply, but subtly, terrifying.
The Enigma Dragon - A CATS Tale seems to be intended for Adult readers, but generally only because of the themes and politics. There is sex,
death, violence, and destruction, but these are fairly tame and could probably be reasonably well rendered in a PG-13 environment.
The action could be considered exciting and visceral, but the antagonists are the selling points for this book, lifting the plot out of multiple perspectives and scene-shifting (the action takes place across four continents). Overall, The Enigma Dragon is an above-average book with top notch villains and relevance.
As always per the usual with the Enigma series books, Breakfield and Burkey have continued to develop their characters as well as bringing on new characters to keep the story fresh. The fact that the story spans the globe and involves so many different settings that it can be hard to keep up with, especially with so many teams, but the authors keep the action and pacing fast. This is book number nine in a long series, so we know the beats at this point.
Speaking of characters, Juan and Julie Rodriguez are the very definition of a power couple and its endearing to have such a strong, but mature romance in a techno-thriller like this. We normally deal with strange loners or jaded individuals, but Juan and Julie are both realistic and very in love. It’s a great taste of the real world in the book and for me, this is where Breakfield and Burkey’s strengths come into play. It was one and continues to be a favorite piece of these books for me.
As with any thriller, there are tons of twists and turns, but the subplot involving Mike and Marge is especially one that truly shapes this book as we go along. I think there’s a great spot of character development that we get from Marge, especially with how she slowly becomes someone the reader will begin to loathe all on their own. Books are often defined by their villains and this is one that does not deviate from that norm and the book is all the better for it.
As with past books, techno-thriller stray from making too much of description and other bits, but the pacing seems to have found its beat in this installment. Any lover of thrillers or techno-thrillers will enjoy this book a lot. Even science fiction fans, who lean into thrillers can find something here. Fans of the series will, of course, enjoy this book, especially as they hang out with these characters again. Who doesn’t enjoy the CATS team?
Charles Breakfield and Roxanne Burkey bring the CATS team together again for non-stop action while also adding in some past characters. I loved how they folded in Jamie onto the team and into the story! The twists and turns in this technological thriller are amazing. Breakfield and Burkey blend the characters and plot together making them seamless – nothing is forced or out of balance.
The visual story that their carefully constructed words paint is thorough and clear, I can see Julie, Stephen, Jamie, and the others clearly in my head as I listen. I dare say there was one point when I could not believe where they took the story – OMG, I wanted to cry and scream at the same time!
Derek Shoales is the perfect narrator for this series. He has easily become the world of Enigma! He projects the fear, love and everything in between with the smooth flow of his voice. He never stumbles, it’s like he is living it when he narrates.
The production quality was perfect. Awarded the Audio Book Reviewer's Choice Award