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The Ghost War (A John Wells Novel) Hardcover – February 12, 2008
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"Ghost War" opens off the coast of North Korea. It spends a lot of time in China, Afghanistan, and D.C. We learn about Chinese politics; the differences between American, Russian and Chinese submarines; tactics for fighting the Taliban; butt-covering in Washington, and much, much more.
Taken in small bites it's all pretty interesting, but unfortunately the wealth of information often slows the pace of what might otherwise be a cracking good read. Many chapters began with a few lines of dialogue, then detour to several pages of background. It was only very late in the book that most of the explanations were out of the way, and the pace picked up considerably.
Berenson's later books do a better job of balancing background and plot. If you're new to this author, try "The Counterfeit Agent" instead. If you're already a fan, this one's worth a read but likely to leave you a tad disappointed.
No plus points for the writing. It is so so. Sometimes it is very pedestrian (as if the author took a course in creative writing) and sometimes quite inspired (for instance when talking about China). Like so many modern books each chapters is like a couple of scenes in a movie, typically one location per chapter.
The few reviewers who consider this book left-wing or liberal propaganda are just ridiculous. He makes the foreign power in the book look like s*** and has a very few critical side comments towards the US. The US end up looking good and pointing out some US bureaucracy is not treason.
I give the book three stars. Had the writing been better, the book would have been worth four stars. It is a good book for a causal read.
In 'Ghost War' a Chinese general attemnpts to wrest control of his country from those he deems to be selfish and without the interests of the general populace in mind. He creates world tension by making a deal with the Iranians that would give them support for their nuclear program and simultaneously provoking confrontation between China and the U.S.
Wells, Exley and Shafer bring threads of the story together and 'Times Square Wells' finds himself in China without CIA support in an attempt to stave off war.
The writing is crisp and the story believable but 'Ghost War' lacks the perfect storm of the first book. Still highly recommend - will continue to read this outstanding series.
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