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Gideon's War: A Novel Hardcover – January 11, 2011
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"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
Don't miss best-selling author Kwame Alexander's "Rebound," a new companion novel to his Newbery Award-winner, "The Crossover,"" illustrated with striking graphic novel panels. Pre-order today
Becoming a writer has ruined me as a reader. I have set the bar so high for myself with writing that I can’t read anyone who doesn’t work as hard as I do. I’m very happy to report, though, that I’ve added a new author to my “must-read” list. His name is Howard Gordon and his debut novel, Gideon’s War blew me away.
When I heard the advance buzz going around about Gideon’s War and then learned that Howard was the Exec Producer of the television series 24, I figured his book had to be good. Secretly, though, I wondered if it could be better than “24.” If so, Howard Gordon was going to have another huge hit on his hands.
The question I began reading with was whether or not Howard could take the exciting, edge-of-your-seat, please-don’t let-it-end-yet elements that have worked so well in the television world and apply them to a novel. My question was answered instantly. He has – and he has done it in spades. Gideon’s War is every bit as good as you would expect it to be and a whole hell of a lot more.
While Howard’s debut will undoubtedly (and deservedly) be compared to thriller luminaries like Ludlum, Le Carré, and Forsythe, his rich writing style, pacing and exceptional character development reminded me of another dean of the thriller genre – Michael Crichton.
If it isn’t obvious, I can’t recommend this book highly enough. I’m still haunted by the novel’s magnificent juxtaposition of a brother who makes peace vs. a brother who makes war. This was an incredibly compelling and incredibly entertaining story. Simply put, it has been a long time since I have had such a rewarding read.
Howard Gordon might have forever been known as the Executive Producer of 24, but I suspect he will leave that behind as Gideon’s War earns him the honor of being crowned one of America’s hottest new thriller authors.
From Publishers Weekly
This loosely plotted thriller, Hollywood screenwriter Gordon's first novel, lurches unpredictably from backstory to frenzied present-day action, employing a 24-hour ticking clock for suspense. The U.S. president dispatches professional peacemaker Gideon Davis, whose career as a special envoy has taken him around the world, to the sultanate of Mohan, a small Pacific island nation, where a rising Islamist insurgency under the leadership of terrorist Abu Nasir threatens to overthrow the local, American-friendly government. That Gideon's beloved brother, Tillman, is caught in the deadly conflict raises the personal stakes. Gideon ends up on a giant deep sea oil rig, the Obelisk, where he must battle insurgents bent on destroying the platform. Frantic action featuring miraculous escapes isn't enough to compensate for a silly plot, grandiose characters, and unbelievable twists, though fans of the TV show 24, of which the author is the executive producer, may be satisfied. (Jan.)
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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Earl and Gideon travel to Mohan where they are to pick up rogue CIA Agent Tillman to bring him back to the States. Instead nothing goes right and Parker is abducted while Gideon struggles to survive amidst the civil war tearing apart the island country. Besides rescuing Uncle Earl, Gideon must liberate the Obelisk deep sea oil rig that terrorists led by Tillman seized. Oil rig manager Kate Murphy is Gideon's only ally.
Faster than the speed of light, the executive producer of 24 Howard Gordon brings that concept to the written thriller genre. Ignoring plausibility with the story line over the top of the Himalayas, fans of the TV show will enjoy the Houdini escape artistry of the hero while the clock ticks down with a lot more at stake than his Uncle and a key oil rig as a world conspiracy is about to ignite. Inane, but fun, Gideon's War is to take back the Obelisk from his brother while readers anticipate a Cain and Abel confrontation; lurking in the background is the global crisis.
My nonchalant tongue-in-cheek attitude was quickly put in check as I started reading. Cutting through all my BS, I was completely taken with this book. This is an ecstasy pill of adrenaline for us thriller readers. The main man, Gideon, couldn't be more flawed and was actually getting on my damn nerves. A top negotiator on the world stage, Gideon is accustomed to using his words to get his meaning across. Usually he's very successful, and because of this the President has him on his team. Unfortunately irony's favorite bed mate is usually chaos, and their love child sprouts into Gideon's life, placenta and all, to bring him some serious hurt.
Gideon's brother is been accused of being a ruthless and severely bloodthirsty terrorist who is slaughtering his way across the Middle East. Gideon has some well placed misgivings but the amount of evidence leaves no room for doubt. His job: track him down and talk. If that fails? Well... Able, meet Cain. Be prepared for a journey as Gideon tracks down the only family he has left. We are taken us on a virtual peyote sit-n-spin of geographic locations, multicultural flavor, and "clinch it up" action. Blood, fighting, technology, villains to loathe, and some slight sexual tension is just some of what puts `Gideon's War' on my list (already) of `Jason's badass novels of 2011'. (Yes I know it's only January 5th, but just go with me here).
I mentioned earlier that Gideon was getting on my nerves. Dammit, that's because he was! This fool was being chased, shot at, set-up, handcuffed, damn near blown up and he was trying to stick by his "I don't use guns anymore" mantra. Lord help this fool! I'm not going to give away the story, but how long do you think he can keep up that ever so sweet motto while nine inch bullets are cutting him new sideburns? Whatever magic Gordon used for `24' translates nicely in `Gideon's War'. Everything about this book was just right. The tempo, the violence, the betrayal, and (of course) the male bravado with that fresh football locker room smell. Because this is a thriller and the main character is a guy who gets out of impossible situations, you'll hear comparisons to past books/characters/movies. Ignore them all. This one totally stands on its own.
Gideon's War charges out of the gate at a full gallop. The prologue ends just a few pages in with a huge reversal. It's not surprising, given what he is known for on 24, that Gordon has the gift for keeping us turning the pages, gasping for air and keeping us both wanting more while never knowing which way is up and what's coming at any moment. What was surprising is how literate the book is and more to the point, how much we are left caring about these characters.
As a general rule when reading pulp fiction, I'm simply looking to pass the time on the plane, beach, bathroom... (feel free to fill in the blanks). I'm expecting a fun ride with a few surprises. I'm not expecting a literate work, with an expansive landscape of characters with real depth and intelligence. Gordon's main character Gideon Davis is certainly a formidable match for Jack Bauer, the lead of 24. But he is much more a one dimensional action hero. Davis is a hero for the 21st century. He is a man of peace, believes in diplomacy, and is willing to risk his life to accomplish his goals.
Davis is also a man with many valuable skills which would be appreciated by 24's Jack Bauer. These skills have been forced on him by a father we learn about over the course of the book. His brother also possesses these same formidable skills, however the brother has chosen to use these skills for a different purpose. The brother's name is Tillman and I assume Gordon named him after Pat Tillman and his brother Kevin. There are several interesting parallels in the book between the Davis brothers and the Tillman brothers. Love of country, intellectual curiosity, willingness to risk life for the greater good, incredible physicality, etc., etc.
I'd be remiss if I didn't mention Kate Murphy, the one female character in the book. Gordon has had many complex and compelling female characters in the many seasons of 24, and he doesn't disappoint here. Kate is every bit the equal of Gideon Davis in almost every way and it's not surprising they end up joining forcing. I look forward to future adventures for Gideon and Kate!
So quit reading these reviews and get yourself a copy of Gideon's War. You won't be disappointed!