The dialogue is balanced and precise, theatmospheric writing superb." -J. Bryden Lloyd
From the Author
Would you like to tell us about a lower price?
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
When attempts are made by armed Chinese to abduct Selena, the stakes suddenly get higher, and Nick finds himself at the epicenter of a plot that could lead to war with China.
White Jade by Alex Lukeman is a riveting thriller of international intrigue and violence that will keep you turning pages until the chilling climax. This story of unbridled lust for power will also keep you awake long after you’ve finished reading it.
In this fast-paced novel, you are catapulted from San Francisco to Washington, D.C., Beijing, and Tibet, following an ever-expanding plot that hints at the ancient Chinese book's elixir for immortality, the secret recipe of which could transform permanently the modern world. Getting inside the heads of the bad guys as well as good, along with the brilliant mind of Selena and the cloistered and classified world of Director Elizabeth Harker, along with the twists and turns of the plot keeps you reading--indeed, I read it to my husband on a long trip south this winter.
I generally do not like reading a part of a series, as having one part usually leaves you hanging assuming the book is a real page-turner. This book was received, however, in an Amazon Bookbub promotion and definitely now leaves me wanting more! Complicated and intelligent without being convoluted beyond understanding, enough of a challenge to keep you on the edge, the story line never drags or contradicts itself. Can be read as a stand-alone book, but with characters this fascinating, plot this thrilling, and choreographed scenes with this depth of description, why would you?
The national interest is definitely threatened here, as rogue Chinese agents plot to launch a major attack against the U.S. as part of an even larger conspiracy. The Project gets wind of their plans when they torture and kill a wealthy industrialist to get their hands on an ancient book in the tycoon's possession that supposedly contained directions to a remote location in Tibet where the secret of eternal life was hidden. The Chinese are after something else at that location, a supply of enriched uranium capable of multiplying their nuclear weapons capabilities tremendously. The book's hero, former battle-hardened Marine turned Project operative Nick Carter, teams up with the dead man's niece, Selena Connor, who happens to be an expert in ancient languages and can help translate the book. Together, the two try to stop the Chinese plot.
There's a lot of action in the book, as you might expect, and Lukeman handles the assorted car chases, brawls, and shootouts quite well. In addition, the good guys wind up doing an Indiana Jones impersonation when they find the remote location referred to in the book and have to make their way through a variety of booby traps en route to some startling discoveries. It's all pure hokum, but I could easily suspend any sense of disbelief and had a good time throughout much of the book.
I had a tougher time suspending disbelief at some amazing logical howlers in the book, such as the thought that trained Chinese agents would try to kidnap Selena to find out what she knows by staging a high speed car crash on a major interstate just outside Washington, DC, in the hopes she would survive the crash... or that the fallout from the resulting chase and crash, which resulted in totaling a number of civilian vehicles and several dead bodies, would not make front page news all over the country. Nor could I accept the Chinese characters, who are poorly drawn stereotypes, practically drooling at the thought of having their way with American women, who act as if they are auditioning for the role of Fu Manchu in a community theater production.
As long as Lukeman keeps his focus on the two main characters and their travails, the book works very well. Carter is given a lot of emotional baggage in the form of a fiancée who died tragically that he has to work through during the book, and Selena is a feisty original. It's only when Lukeman expands his canvas, to the stock Chinese villains and the large scale political intrigue that occurs in both the U.S. and China, that he loses his focus. The last part of the book, in which the U.S. president has to work with Chinese officials to stop a war, should have been a powerful climax but, instead, was a bit of a letdown after Carter's frenetic activity in the previous pages.
First novels are rarely perfect, and White Jade is no exception. However, the flaws in the book... the stock, ridiculous villains, the annoying lack of logic in places, and the tepid political intrigue can be improved. Lukeman's back story of the long lost temple where the secret of eternal life is located (which, after a fashion, Carter finds out does exist) is the sort of highly imaginative backdrop for a thriller that makes for a entertaining, albeit farfetched story. Add some genuinely exciting action scenes and a likable main couple to that premise, and you have a good, entertaining but undemanding escapist read.