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Havoc Hardcover – October 5, 2006
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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
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From Publishers Weekly
Thriller fans who don't demand much realism in their reads should enjoy the first hardcover entry in bestseller Du Brul's adventure series featuring geologist and spy Philip Mercer (Vulcan Forge, etc.). The novel opens with an intriguing premise—that the Hindenburg zeppelin blew up in 1937 as the result of sabotage aimed at keeping a crackpot academic's discoveries secret. In the present-day Central African Republic, Mercer hooks up with the de rigueur attractive but brainy female, Cali Stowe, who's a U.S. intelligence agent posing as a medical researcher. As the pair dodge death from violent insurgent armies in predictable action sequences, they exchange light banter—and learn that the African nation is the source of a radioactive element coveted by terrorists that may have been used by Alexander the Great to defeat his foes. Du Brul is the coauthor with Clive Cussler of the Oregon Files novels, Dark Watch and Skeleton Coast. (Oct.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
"The finest Adventure Writer on the Scene Today."
"A Master of His Genre... Du Brul writes action that is vivid, clear, and founded in fascinating first-hand research." --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Our story begins aboard the Hindenburg with a certain Mr. Chester Bowie being in possession of a safe with contents so valuable that he is willing to go to great lengths to keep it out of the wrong hands. Mr. Bowie appears to be somewhat deranged, but just prior to the disaster, the safe and its precious contents disappear into the night. Lyrics from a popular song by Sir Elton John titled "Madman Across the Water" fit the scene perfectly.
"The ground's a long way down but I need more
Is the nightmare black
or are the windows painted
Will they come again next week
Can my mind really take it?"
The next scene takes us to the Central African Republic, where leading character Philip Mercer, a geologist and part time Government employee, meets Cali Stowe, who's in Africa ostensibly as a field researcher for the CDC. Barely escaping with their lives, the two leave many questions unanswered, and spend the remainder of the book trying to fill in the blanks.
From Atlantic City to Arlington, to Niagara Falls, Russia, Africa and back, and then on to Egypt, the pair and their allies manage to make progress, but every forward step is blocked by a formidable enemy with one eye and no mercy. Everybody everywhere seems armed to the teeth with the ubiquitous AK-47s which pop up in almost every chapter, RPG rocket launchers, Kalashnikov AK-74s and more. In addition to these, and to make it more complicated, there's also a shadowy group with a secret to protect lurking in the background, and nobody seems to be who they say they are.
The central plot is provocative and intriguing, although a huge stretch of the imagination, and the action is fast, brutal and bloody. The two things that detract from the story are firstly the chemistry between Mercer and Cali, which bubbles and toils with lots of troubles, but never gets to boiling point, and secondly, there are several typos and spelling errors which should never have slipped past the editing point, and I found these distracting.
A good read for action/adventure fans who aren't too fussy about historical and grammatical accuracy or steamy love scenes.
Amanda Richards, August 27, 2007
The book features Philip Mercer, a geologist by training that often troubleshoots for the White House. This is the seventh book featuring Mercer, a fact that was not on the audiobook label. However, Du Brul does a great job of catching the reader up on what has been going on - I assumed it was the first book in the series as I was listening to it.
The action starts with a traveler on the infamous Hindenburg as it flies to its fate with destiny in Lakehurst, New Jersey in 1937. A crazed man is hiding a secret in a safe in his room and he is afraid that the Nazis know he has it and are plotting to steal it from him. As this man sits and watches his safe he devises a plan to get it safely off of the airship before it lands in New Jersey - he throws it overboard into a farm field with an attached note for Albert Einstein. The note falls off and the safe gets forgotten in the chaos of the Hindenburg disaster.
Fast forward to modern day in the Central African Republic. Mercer accidentally meets Cali Stowe, a fellow American. Mercer tells her he is here to investigate a geological hunch for someone as a favor. She says that she is there to investigate a village that has an extraordinarily elevated cancer rate. They are both telling half-truths. But, most importantly, this village is in the middle of a civil war and a dangerous warlord is on his way, burning and looting as he comes...
As the story progresses, Stowe and Mercer find that they have a mutual interest in this village and in each other. The more they find out about, the more tense the situation becomes. There are a lot of complicated threads in this book but Du Brul does tie them all together at the end
The story is full of action and adventure - some of it fun, some of it believable, some so outrageous that the story borders on silly. Mercer gets to be too much after a while - he is an expert on the Hindenburg, he knows how to fight, he's an expert with pistols, grenades, rifles, knives, swords and even with bows and arrows. He knows about mines, cave-ins, scuba diving, trains, dinosaur bones, forklifts, helicopters, speed boats and bar tending. But, his heart is in the right place and if you just go with the flow and don't think about it it just might not bother you too much.
The audiobook was read by J. Charles. Charles did a merely okay job with the variety of accents required by this book. He has a hard time with women's voices and Cali Stowe has a lot of lines in this book. His foreign accents all fell into the category of "not an English language accent". Everyone kind of sounded the same.
Had to scan through 20 pages really fast, just to get away from the man in the novel describing his now dead wife that got killed in a car crash (getting to be very typical) in grave boring detail, and then him comparing her to the knockout redhead. They haven't jumped in the sack yet, but of course that will happen I believe in the next 10 pages. Oh yeah, can't wait for that, full lips and all!
Mr. DuBrul, you had some good ideas in the book. Lose the old man and dog, along with the nuclear scientist woman, and instead concentrate on writing a novel without so much boring background and PC. Your readers would appreciate it.