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Vulcan's Forge (Philip Mercer) Hardcover – March, 1998

4.0 out of 5 stars 170 customer reviews
Book 1 of 7 in the Philip Mercer Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Kirkus Reviews

A debut thriller introducing Philip Mercermine engineer, geological consultant, and the only Bond clone who carries a Derringer strapped to his testicles. A study in triple crosses, Du Brul's story tells of a 40-year plot contrived by the Russians, who want to own a newly risen underwater volcano 200 miles off Hawaii. Geological physicist Pytor Borodin and an American physicist who's studying the oceanic Bikini A-bomb test have independently discovered the same fact: that enormous underwater thermal heat, when mixed with lava, can produce the hardest fuel known to manbikinium, which, once put to use, gives off more energy than is needed to burn it. Back in 1954, Borodin had also discovered that the thinnest part of the tectonic plate in the Pacific is just 200 miles past Hawaii. So the Reds secretly sink a ship carrying an A-bomb. The plan is to detonate it on the seafloor, creating a volcano whose lava can then be processed very cheaply for bikinium, leaving the Soviets as the most powerful people on earth. But during the 40- year wait for this secret volcano to break to the surface, at which point it can be claimed as Soviet territory, the USSR empire collapses and a KGB officer decides to sell the whole plan for Vulcan's Forge to North Korea for $100 million. Enter Philip Mercer, out to save the life of on old friend's daughter, a member of a geologic survey team lost near the volcano. Much bang-bang but little kiss-kiss ensues. Meanwhile, a superbillionaire Japanese racist plots the secession of Hawaii, and Mercer, empowered by the US President, finds himself in cliffhangers more wonderfully outrageous than you'll find in Clive Cussler or Ian Fleming. A finely tuned first installment in the Mercer series, buoyed by strong, fresh writing. Remember, Fleming could never top From Russia With Love, so come aboard now. -- Copyright ©1998, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

Review

"An exciting, well-honed thriller that will have Clive Cussler fans taking note of the new kid on the block."--William Hefferman, Edgar Ward Winner, author of The Dinosaur Club

"Du Brul's well-calculated debts to Fleming, Cussler, Easterman, and Lustbader, his technological, political, and ecological research, and his natural gift for storytelling bode well."--Publishers Weekly
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Series: Philip Mercer
  • Hardcover: 348 pages
  • Publisher: Forge; 1st edition (March 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312864817
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312864811
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6.5 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (170 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #879,219 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Donald Mitchell HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on June 23, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Philip Mercer, mining engineer, is a worthy addition to the pantheon of adventure heroes who rove the globe to save the world for democracy. He is as tough, well connected, smart, and fearless as any of them. If you haven't read a good adventure yarn about the good guys versus the bad guys in a while, this book may be a good choice for you. It is the first of a series that now includes three books (the next two are Charon's Landing and The Medusa Stone), and gets better with each one.
The main mystery here involves an underwater volcano, so the story could just have easily involved Dirk Pitt, which is why I used the headline above.
Du Brul's strength as a writer is an ability to create really intricate plots that keep your attention from wandering. This book clearly has a five star plot, with double, triple, and quadruple crosses abounding. There's a surprise ending that you will appreciate.
The book has lots of action, and more than a little violence. So if you like shoot 'em ups, you will like this one. If you like a more subtle story, you'll probably find this a little crude. Think of this as being on the masculine end of the masculine adventure story.
The book's main weakness is that Du Brul is still developing as a novelist in this one. His transitions are not always smooth, and sometimes it is possible to get lost for a minute or two. As a new novelist, he doesn't always take full advantage of developing the characters as much as he could. On the other hand, he builds interesting characteristics to keep you thinking into the characters he does establish.
Since this is not a deep book (despite being based in part in a deep part of the ocean), Du Brul has the wit to be a little ironic with himself and his dialogue.
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By A Customer on October 14, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
If you enjoy reading Clive Cussler, Tom Clancy, or Stephen Coonts, then get ready to add Jack Du Brul to your list. Phillip Mercer could be a brother to Dirk Pitt. They both get into more trouble than humanly possible. It's how Mercer gets out of it that is riveting. Vulcan's Forge keeps the action going by mixing plots, action, and double-crossing double agents. Be prepared to stay up late reading this book. You will be as exhausted and bruised and Mercer is by the time you get to the very last page. The story twists and turns until you think that you can't take anymore suspense, then it twists some more. Add this future bestselling author to your list. You will not be disappointed!
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By A Customer on October 4, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Jack Du Brul is the new king of action!!! He outwrites Clancy and Cussler with more plot twists and turns than you can shake a stick at. Just when you think you have everything all figured out, Jack spins you for another 180 and turns everything around on you yet AGAIN!!! Vulcan's Forge is an awesome book to introduce his hero, Dr. Philip Mercer, a down to earth, devilishly cunning geologist who saves the United States from a horrible fate from both within and without. I reccomend this book to all those who like Clive Cussler and other authors along those lines. This book makes for a long night of GREAT reading.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I bought my first DuBrul book when I was on a business trip and needed some distraction. When I saw glowing words by Cussler I took a chance. This is my second book of his that I have read and it make more sense to read them in order.
Cussler and Clancy should take the time to read his works, it will remind them of the books they wrote when they first started out.
These books are fresh, with an unlikely hero, a geologist who thinks he is James Bond and sometimes is. The writing is very good, especially for a first novel the plot interesting and the main character a Clark Kent in disquise.
The book has subplots and they all tie together unlike some famous authors of late who write subplots with no bearing on the main story to make political statements.
It was a great read, with well developed characters, fast paced and well written. I have bought his other two books for my next trip and have already started reading.
His works remind me of Fleming, Ludlum, Cussler and Clancy when they first started writing, I couldn't get enough of them, and am awaiting to see what he will write next.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
When I first picked up this book I thought it was another Star Trek novel. However, after reading the liner notes I thought I would give it a try anyway. I was surprised to find that Du Brul's first novel waa fast moving with many twists & turns in the plot. His writing style is easy. The plot was interesting and intricate without being overwhelming. The only negative feeling I got from the book was Du Brul's liberal use of four-letter words. Contribute it to my Southern, Bible-belt upbringing but I think almost any story can be told without an excessive amount of those types of words. That being said, however, I would recommend the novel to anyone willing to overlook this shortcoming. Had it not been for the language I would have rated it a solid "five-star" novel.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Philip Mercer, Geologist, is perhaps an unlikely hero. In this, the first book in the Philip Mercer series, we have a plot that spans decades involving the KGB, a remote Hawaiian location, the CIA, the South Koreans, and a plot to break Hawaii away from the USA. It's far too complicated to cover in a review, but Du Brul is a master storyteller, pays attention to geography, local flavor, and authenticity, and his description of weapons and tactics is also very good. Besides, the story is compelling, imaginative, and you simply don't want to stop reading. I stumbled across a later book, and had to go back and start the series from the beginning. I have not been disappointed. If you're a fan of Vince Flynn, Brad Thor, and the like, there is a lot here you will enjoy. If you're a fan of Matthew Riley, Clive Cussler, and the like, there is also a lot you will enjoy as well. Du Brul is simply a great author.
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