Sep 19, 2017

LXG - Review


  The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen written by Alan Moore and illustrated by Kevin O'Neill



The year is 1898, the Empire is under threat, upon the orders of mysterious "M" Campion Bond recruits Mina Murray and Captain Nemo to find Allan Quatermain who is addicted to opium and lives pathetically in Morocco. Both Nemo and Murray retrieve Allan from the opium den. Then they round up Dr.Henry Jekyll (Mr.Edward Hyde equivalent to Hulk), Hawley Griffin (Invisible man, I liked his part), these five rather six including Jekyll's alter ego Hyde all comprise "The League of Extraordinary Gentleman".


Image from momentofmoore.com


The empire is planning a lunar expedition before the dawn of 19th Century, but the anti gravity material 'cavorite' was stolen by a warlord from orient known by name as Doctor who has established himself as the crime king of London's East End. With Nautilus submarine the league members infiltrate and capture the cavorite and hands it to Campion Bond, but their superior "M' has another plan to bombard East End. Did the league members stop the atrocious act of 'M'? And who is this mysterious "M" are all answered in the remaining panels.
 
The art work is good the panels are explicit with violence and bloodshed. Some might not like the gory parts detailed in such a manner. The story is awesome and entertaining with adding backstories for some characters.

Sep 12, 2017

Cyclops - Book Review

My 10th outing with Dirk Pitt Adventures

Plot 1: March 9th 1918, Caribbean Sea, a collier ship, Cyclops carrying 11,000 tons of manganese, more than it can carry sinks with treasure and a soul, American consul general to Brazil, Alfred L.Morean Gottschalk.

Plot 2: Raymond Le Baron and some of his friends who goes in search of the legendary El Dorado in his blimp Prosperteer goes missing. After a couple of days the blimp passes over Florida where our hero Dirk Pitt is taking part in a race stops the blimp and later the body inside the blimp are not of Raymond Le Baron.

Plot 3 : The President of United States comes to know the fact that there is a Moon base called Jersey Colony developed behind the ruling elite by the Inner core consisting of brilliant young scientists, corporate businessman, engineers and politicians. Raymond Le Baron, General Mark Fisher, Clyde Booth, Irwin Mitchell, Steve Busche, Dean Beagle, Daniel Klein, Leonard Hudson and Gunnar Eriksen are the nine members of the Inner Core. As the Soviet Union sends men to land on moon they come to know about the moon base. And the Soviet plans to take over the Jersey colony. The astronauts in moon base skillfully evades the Soviet attack and tries to return to earth. Then the Soviet plans to abduct the space shuttle and make them land in Cuba. In other words "An American space shuttle in Soviet hands the greatest intelligence coup of the century".

Plot 4 : Taking over of Cuban Government by Soviet Agents, assassinating Fidel Castro and placing a Soviet Union loyalist, close confidante of Fidel a charming charismatic, having total backing of the Cuban military, Alicia Cordero the Secretary of the Central Committee and Secretary of Council of State, the operation is code named 'Rum and Cola' according to the plan Havana has to be blown by three ships which are docked in Havana harbour thereby killing Castro.

The author Clive Cussler brilliantly intertwines all the plots without any confusion and finishes off the book in style. An enjoyable Dirk Pitt adventure.

Whereas our hero Dirk Pitt in search of Raymond Le Baron in the blimp is chased by Cuban and gets caught and interrogated by the Soviet officials in Cuban soil. I think around 30 to 40% of the book Pitt is confined and was tortured by the cruel Foss Gly (the hit man from Night Probe) The most tense part in the story is the clever and brilliant plan of Pitt using an old bathtub and a motor from the deflated boat to escape from Cayo Santa Maria. (My standing ovation to Clive Cussler) Pitt a daring action hero who is unable to perform any action as the situation is very less favourable in Cayo Santa Maria. His best friend Al Giordino badly injured and in confinement, no help from his trusted side kick, as the chapters roll by Pitt situation changes from bad to worse until he gets the chance of getting out of the building. The chapters relating to the torture chamber in Cayo Santa Maria, the author cleverly uses Pitt's wit and sarcastic comments to mask the unpleasant situation.

Did Pitt finds out the treasure from the Cyclops? How did Pitt saves Jessie Le Baron, Al and Rudi Gunn from Cayo Santa Maria, did Pitt take revenge on Foss Gly? Did the Astronauts of Jersey Colony land in Cuba? Did Pitt saves Fidel Castro in time? all these are answered in the following chapters of the novel. 





My artwork for Cyclops novel the blimp named Prosperteer
 
Pitt's humour: (As usual one liners from Dirk Pitt)

1. An old antique like the Prosperteer must have required a couple hundred thousand cubic feet of gas to get her in the air. After a week, enough would have leaked out to keep her grounded. Do you follow?

Victor had the look of a man about to be baptized. What are you suggesting?

That you look for a friendly neighbourhood service station that can pump two hundred thousand cubic feet of helium. (Explaining to Victor that Prosperteer should have been grounded and re pumped with helium before it landed into Florida)
 
2. Find Angello and tell him to show this gentleman out. Pitt's green eyes glinted mischievously. I seem to have a talent for spreading ill will. Do you wish me to go peacefully or cause a nasty scene?

I think peacefully would be best.
(Pitt in Jessie Le Baron's party)

I'll send the chauffeur to pick up. If it's all the same to you.

I'd prefer to drive my own car. I get claustrophobic in limousine. (When Pitt was asked to meet Mrs.Le Baron)


3. Hullo, Dirk. All dressed up and no place to go? 
The party's hostess decided I was persona non Grata and made me walk the plank.

4. Jesus, its dark, he muttered to himself, his mind crawling from a woody mist. Pitt knelt beside him and said. Welcome to the land of the walking dead.

Giordino raised his hands and touched Pitt's face in the darkness. Dirk? In the flesh. (after castaway in the shores of Cayo Santa Maria)

5. I'm President of Central Intelligence Agency. My board of directors and I thought it would be a great promotional idea to charter a blimp and drop redeemable coupons for toilet paper over the length of Cuba. I'm told there's an acute shortage down her. Unfortunately, the Cubans didn't agree with our marketing strategy and shot us down. (Pitt sarcastic and dry humorous reply to Velikov in Cayo Santa Maria torture chamber)

6. How did you destroy the patrol helicopter? Velikov asked suddenly. We threw our shoes at it. Pitt fired back testily. What did you expect from four civilians, one of whom was a woman flying a forty year old gas bag?
(Pitt sarcastic and dry humorous reply to Velikov in Cayo Santa Maria torture chamber)
 
7. Crazy clown – Jessie Le Baron's remark about Pitt.

8. The man must be either indestructible or very lucky – Presidents remark of Pitt, his act of escape from Cuba using a cast iron bath tub with a outboard motor.

9. Brogan said, I hear you've had a rough trip. Not one I'd recommend to tourist. Pitt replied. (makeshift boat - bathtub with motor)

10. Followed a higher law, said Pitt with a sardonic grin. And what law may I ask, is that? Comes from the old West something they called self preservation (answer to Brogan)

11. Pitt flashed his best politician's smile and said. I beg your pardon, may I borrow your phone?

If you work here you know that using an unauthorized phone is against agency regulations.

Then I'm safe, said Pitt. I don't work here. (Pitt conversing with a white hair man in Brogan's office)

12. Quintana subsided into silence. His precisely conceived landing plan began to crack and shatter before his eyes. Our computers should have thought of that, he said bitterly.

They don't create what they are not taught, Pitt replied philosophically (about the attack plan on Cayo Santa Maria)

13. Pitt held up a wooden shaft in one hand. A baseball bat. What do you need that for? You are issued an AK 74.

It's a gift for a friend.

14. You Catholic? Yes. Why?. Then call up the saint who guides lost souls and pray this thing is already set on the shuttle's frequency. (Control room in Cayo Santa Maria when Pitt tries to save the space shuttle before it land in Cuba.)

15. Pitt hesitated, then he said. There is this taxi driver named Herberto Figuero. If I were to find him a restored Fifty Seven Chevrolet in the States and have it shipped, do you suppose you could arrange for him to take delivery. Herberto and I would both be very grateful. (Pitt uses Herberto's Chevy which becomes damaged at the end)

Clive Cussler Liked My Reply

Getting comments and feedbacks for my reviews and replies are always a boost for me. One the first day of my tweet about the books I have gathered (very few compared to the collectors around the world) one of my favourite authors Clive Cussler liked my tweet and I was very happy on that day. 


Couple of hours ago in Twitter "Isaac Bell" @Isaacbell series, another fictional character from the world of Clive Cussler tweeted with a photo (above) and a line "Clive Cussler is sharing his REALlife #adventures.U can FOLLOW  @cusslerOFFICIAL #author #cigars #classiccars #amwriting #writer #ocean #sea" when I looked up at the image the first thing that came to my mind is that Clive Cussler is with his fictional character Dirk Pitt in diving suit. I typed the above line in the comment section and I received the like from the author which I want to share in this blog. Below is the screen shot.


Aug 27, 2017

How to Remove a Brain and Other Bizarre Medical Practices - Book Review

I thank Net galley for providing me a copy to read & review 'How to Remove a Brain and Other Bizarre Medical practices' It is not more than 200 pages and can  be read in one sitting.

The author David Haviland gives us many anecdotes and some fun and bizarre practices in ancient Egypt, India, Europe and US.



 
He also mentioned about the myth relating to Julius Caesar, his birth that he was not born of Caesarean section as it is only performed either to save the  child or the mother. Since Julius Caesar mother died in her ripe age and not during giving birth to Caesar. David Haviland gives examples for Doctrine of  Signatures that natural remedies embodies or reflect the ailments they are designed to cure. That is the appearance of certain fruits resembling our body  parts. 


There are many unknown facts in the book one such is that we share many diseases with animals and they are known as 'zoonoses' we caught common cold from  horses, measles from dogs, influenzas from pigs & ducks, smallpox and tuberculosis from cattle.  Another fact relates to great artists, and how they were affected by using Emerald Green a chemical made from copper acetate and arsenic trioxide. The artist  such as Cezanne, Van Gogh and Monet. All these artists excessively used Emerald Green in their paintings which lead to arsenic poisoning, Cezanne developed  series diabetes, Van Gogh suffered from neurological disorders and third artist Monet got blinded.

 

The cabbies of London have bigger hippo campus region as longer they are driving taxi the bigger the region become. And to compensate the growth the other  part of the brain shrinks. There are many facts, one such is about Syphilis, an epidemic which spread throughout Europe after 1495. Each nation in Europe blamed their enemy. The French  called this disease as Le mal Naples, while the Italians called it the Spanish disease. The Japanese called it as the Chinese disease and while Chinese  people blamed it as Cantonese.

The author has given detailed account on the invention of X ray and aftermath and how one guy in London began marketing X ray proof underwear and made a  small fortune.


 

One chapter is allotted to the Live Typhoid carrier Mary. She was a cook. Everywhere she went and cooked the people in the house get infected with typhoid but  she never had the disease herself. A law was passed and she was isolated from others. I thoroughly enjoyed reading the book. A must book for information gatherers.

Aug 24, 2017

Jason Cage - Book Review

The main plot of the story revolves around Jason Cage, the only survivor from an accident. He was adopted and his foster parents dies mysteriously. He has no friends no family members and his special quality is that his dreams become reality. Jason has a stint in college where he gets introduced to Bill and Lisa, later being his love, loses her to Bill.


Jason wants to escape from the torments, chooses a monastery in Ladakh. His companion is a lion which is invisible to all. One day he has a nightmare that Lisa is going to be killed in couple of days in US. With no money and help from his monastery friend Jason goes to States. There he helps one Lebanese restaurant owner from mafia and hitch hikes to Lisa.

Did he find Lisa on time and saved her? The ending is cliffhanger.

The author has included many sub plots and he never confuses us as the plots are revealed continously instead of mixed in between main plot. I have to thank him for this method writing, the pace of the book is never slowed or halted since having many sub plots from ancient Egypt, introduction of Dr. Dhrishti from RAW, Axel, taking over of LeT terroists by RAW, Lisa and Bill's story etc.

There are some unanswered questions which hangs after the finish and I know since the end is cliffhanger the author will answer it in the next book.

Aug 17, 2017

Secret Agent - Book Review

I express my gratitude to Net galley for providing me a copy for reading and reviewing of this fantastic treasure trove of information on SOE (Special Operations Executive) brought into force by the then England Prime Minister Winston Churchill in 1940, the main aims of SOE is to intent on sabotage and subversion behind enemy lines, to spark revolt, and undermine Hitler's Europe from within, prevent enemy reinforcements reaching the beachhead by road, rail and air, the disruption of enemy signals communications in and behind the battle area, attacks on enemy air personnel and aircraft, the disorganisation of enemy rear services by the spreading of rumours and counter-sabotage.

After explaining in detail about the initiation of SOE from the scratch, the author David Stafford narration of events one by one is super fast and it was like watching a war documentary. The book is full of stories which concentrates mostly on the agents of SOE's activities in occupied Europe.

The agents of SOE were trained in shooting, unarmed combat, handling explosives, wireless-transmission, camouflage and more, they been taught how to face interrogation if get caught.

Not only sending agents for sabotaging they took much care in the dress also, one person who worked in the dress department tells about the alterations needed for German and British dress the seams, the enormous difference between the side seams, the shape of the cuffs, the difference in position of the button hole on the under collar. They also forged documents, money and made new notes to appear as used one.


Lysander, this plane helped for dropping and returning agents of SOE, the additional fuel tank in the bottom resemble a missile carrier (picture courtesy flying legends website)

At the beginning sending of agents into German occupied country was not easy as they were not airdropped, they have to been transported in small boats and ships. As the success rate of SOE increased the expected importance was given.

SOE peaked in size at the time of the D-Day landings when some 10,000 men and 3000 women worked for it around the globe. Of these half the men and perhaps a hundred of the women had also served as secret agents behind enemy lines or in neutral countries.

Some of the activities of SOE's are given much importance such as taking over of one Italian and one German ship in neutral territory, agents of SOE (Knut Haukelid, Fredrick Kayser, Kasper Idland, Hans Storhaug and Brig Stromsheim) coup at the heavy water plant in southern Norway there by delaying progress in German research on the atomic bomb, the operation in destroying the via duct in Gorgopotamos and adventures of the secret agent Pierre Lalande and worth mentioning.

The author has pointed out the mistakes done by SOE in sending messages which were intercepted by the Germans and one full chapter is about the worst mistake of SOE, Englandspiel the name coined by the Germans.

The book is full of heroism, I recommend this to the world war II buffs and also the number of pages is under 300 and can be finished in one sitting.

Aug 8, 2017

Third Class In Indian Railways - Book Review

Third Class in Indian Railways is the essays and letters written by Mahatma Gandhi in the year 1917. The six essays are :

1.       Third class in Indian Railways
2.      Vernaculars as Media of Instruction
3.      Swadeshi
4.      Ahimsa
5.       The Moral basis of Co-operation
6.      National Dress

Not much have changed about the hygienic condition in the railways. Gandhi mentions about bribes given by the passengers and their behaviour. He finally asks that the fares paid by third class passengers were not offered even 1/10th of what the first class passengers enjoy.

Apart from other essays I liked Ahimsa, Swadeshi, the moral basis of Co-opreation and the National Dress (his dress been mocked by Irwin) the fitting reply he had given.


I like to quote from his book:

I do not believe that religion has nothing to do with politics. The latter divorced from religion is like a corpse only fit to be buried. (Swadeshi)

We, the educated classes, have received our education through a foreign tongue. We have therefore not reacted upon the masses. We want to represent the masses, but we fail. (Swadeshi)

Well, India is a country of nonsense. It is nonsensical to parch one's throat with thirst when a kindly Mahomedan is ready to offer pure water to drink. And yet thousands of Hindus would rather die of thirst than drink water from a Mahomedan household. (Swadeshi)

There is a verse in the Bhagavad Gita, which, freely rendered, means, masses follow the classes. (Swadeshi)

Our Shastras seem to teach that a man who really practises Ahimsa in its fullness has the world at his feet; he so affects his surroundings that even the snakes and other venomous reptiles do him no harm. This is said to have been the experience of St. Francis of Assisi. (Ahimsa)

Ahimsa requires deliberate self-suffering, not a deliberate injuring of the supposed wrong-doer. (Ahimsa)

I believe that our copying of the European dress is a sign of our degradation, humiliation and our weakness..( Reply to Mr. Irwin's criticism of his dress in the Pioneer)

Aug 4, 2017

Dirk Pitt Series

Last week I went to Chennai Book Fair 2017 and purchased couple of books from Clive Cussler to Ben McIntyre. Below is the list of Clive Cussler books on Dirk Pitt series.

1. Poseidon's Arrow (Dirk Pitt #22)From the blurb



It is the greatest advance in American defense technology in decades — an attack submarine capable of incredible underwater speeds. Nothing else in any other nation’s naval arsenal even comes close. There is only one problem: A key element of the prototype is missing — and the man who developed it is dead.

At the same time, ships have started vanishing mid-ocean, usually never to be found again, but when they are, sometimes bodies are found aboard . . . burned to a crisp.What is going on? And what does it have to do with an Italian submarine that itself disappeared in 1943, lost at sea? Or was she?

It is up to NUMA director Dirk Pitt and his team, aided by a beautiful NCIS agent and by Pitt’s children, marine engineer Dirk and oceanographer Summer, to go on a desperate international chase to find the truth, from Washington to Mexico, Idaho to Panama. What they discover at the end of it is a much, much greater threat than even they imagined.

If they don’t succeed in their mission, the world as they know it might end up a very different place — and not a pleasant one.

Filled with breathtaking suspense and extraordinary imagination, Poseidon’s Arrow is further proof that when it comes to adventure writing, nobody beats Clive Cussler.


2. Raise the Titanic! (Dirk Pitt #4)
My review.


My third outing with Dirk Pitt adventures.

The story begins with an insane person who locks himself in the vault of drowning RMS Titanic. Then the story opens to present day in Russian territory Novaya Zemlya as mineralogist Dr.Koplin discovers that the only Byzanium ore mine has been completely mined years. This Byzanium ore is needed for the US top secret Sicilian project. While returning back to his hide out he was shot by Russian, a figure emerges from the snow and saves him, yes, he is our hero, death-defying adventurer and deep sea expert Dirk Pitt.

Through Dr.Koplin's statement the Byzanium ore has been mined by Coloradan miners who were hired by Societe des Mines De Lorraine (French government) Back tracking the mining operation they come to know that though they were working for the French, one of the miners Joshua Hayes Brewster who was persuaded by United States, tries to hand over the ore. But the French government comes to know this fact and trails them, 7 out of 8 miners were killed before the ore was transported to Southampton harbour in April 1912. And the ore did not reached US soil and also they did not know the whereabouts of Brewster.

The ore rests in the bottom of Atlantic ocean inside the Titanic. The President approaches NUMA (National Underwater Marine Agency) to raise the Titanic. And the team successfully finds the sunken Titanic. At the same time Russian leaders comes to know about the secret project and the Byzanium ore. They send their best man Captain Prevlov with a mission either to sabotage the operation or get hold the Byzanium ore.

Dirk Pitt team raises the Titanic and finds out mole in his team. As the Titanic is tugged to New York port, an intense storm hinders their progress. Meanwhile the Titanic is captured by Captain Prevlov.

Did Dirk Pitt took Titanic to New York? Did he saved his team from Captain Prevlov? The answers are in the remaining chapters of the book.

A superb, fast paced thriller from Clive Cussler. I liked this story than Trojan Odyssey. Lot of characters from 1912 to the present day. The story has couple of sub plots, one is about the marital life of Gene Seagram and Dana. Second sub plot is the classic cold war espionage of Captain Prevlov and Lieutenant Pavel Marganin. And the third is the President of United States. The character Pitt is very intelligent and daring adventurer, his knowledge and approach saves the day.

Raising of Titanic and the ship completing his maiden voyage after several years, these emotional chapters gave me goose bumps.

Thank you Clive Cussler for a fantastic novel, I enjoyed reading the book.


3. Havana Storm (Dirk Pitt #23)
From the blurb


While investigating a toxic outbreak in the Caribbean Sea that may ultimately threaten the United States, Pitt unwittingly becomes involved in something even more dangerous—a post-Castro power struggle for the control of Cuba. Meanwhile, Pitt’s children, marine engineer Dirk and oceanographer Summer, are on an investigation of their own, chasing an Aztec stone that may reveal the whereabouts of a vast historical Aztec treasure. The problem is, that stone was believed to have been destroyed on the battleship Maine in Havana Harbor in 1898, which brings them both to Cuba as well—and squarely into harm’s way. The three of them have been in desperate situations before . . . but perhaps never quite as dire as the one facing them now.
4. Black Wind (Dirk Pitt #18)
From the blurb



Dirk Pitt teams up with his children to find two WWII Japanese subs that went down armed with a devastating payload: a new biological virus.

Jul 28, 2017

The Lodger - Book Review

The author Marie Belloc Lowndes
 
 
The Book Cover

I have to thank my friend Leah who recommended this book. The novel is mystery and psychological thriller, written by Marie Belloc and the story is turned into Hitchcock directed silent film "The Lodger". Since I liked Hitchcock movies, I bought this kindle edition.

The story is Mr.Bunting and his wife Ellen have a lodge and they are in a desperate need of money to survive. The arrival of Mr.Sleuth as a lodger first appears to be a blessing for the Buntings but later it turns out to be a curse because series of murders occur as intoxicated women are killed by a lanky man carrying a brown bag. 

An image from the movie "The Lodger" courtesy you tube website

The description of the murderer makes Mrs.Bunting to consider that the lodger should be the serial killer. As the days roll by, Mr.Bunting also comes to the conclusion that their eccentric lodger is the murderer. Is their opinion right? Or the arrival of Mr.Sleuth and murders are just a coincidence?

A superb psychological thriller the author narration conveys our own thoughts, especially Mrs.Bunting, a woman who is very clear headed and having a good memory. There are less number of characters in the novel, recurring characters are Mrs.Bunting, the Lodger, Mr.Bunting, Joe Chandler (attached to the detective section of the Metropolitan Police) and Daisy, daughter of Mr.Bunting. Apart from the main story each character have their own problems and conflicts.

Of all these characters the Lodger and Mrs. Bunting captured my attention. At the end I felt pity for them, the sleep deprived Mrs.Buntings, her contemplation, her inability to share her thoughts are worth mentioning, the highlight is that her attentive observation on her lodger from his sneaking out from his room in mid night and return. The author has used a powerful statement to show how pathetic her condition is, "She lay thinking and listening –listening and thinking".

I liked to quote one line from the novel:

"Any ordeal is far less terrifying far easier to meet with courage, when it is repeated, that is even a milder experience which is entirely novel".

Highly recommended for those who like mystery thrillers. After reading this it is best to watch Hitchcock's version of "The Lodger".

Jul 23, 2017

Deep Six - Book Review

My 9th outing with Dirk Pitt adventures.

Clive Cussler the master storyteller, this is yet another feather to his cap. I was awestruck by his skill of interweaving various sub plots in the story. 



The novel starts in the year 1966, with Arta Casilighio the teller of Beverly-Wilshire bank steals 120000 dollars and hatches a plan to escape from San Francisco to Auckland, New Zealand in a cargo ship, but she was killed by Korean seamen.

Another sub story, in Augustine Island, Alaska a poison leak in sea kills many, the nature of the agent is that it is absorbed through skin which turns out to be a deadly biological weapon, called Nerve Agent S. Years back the nerve agent was to be buried in desert, however some of the containers disappeared.

NUMA is asked to find out the source of the poison. Working along with Dr.Julie Mendoza, Pitt finds out the sunken ship and all the containers of Nerve Agent S. But unexpected eruption of the volcano tilts the ship and accidentally kills Julie.

Through the help of Alhambra Iron and Boiler Company and St. Julien Perlmutter, Pitt comes to know the ship Pilottown name has been changed several times and that the San Marino, the Belle Chasse and the Pilottown are indeed one and the same ship. The ownership points to Bougainville Maritime Lines, ruled by 89 year old Madame Min Koryo Bougainville.

Sub plot number 3, the President of the United States, Vice President Margolin, President Pro Temp-ore Marcus Larimer and Speaker of the House Alan Moran were abducted from Presidential yacht and mind controlled by a psychologist Aleksei Lugovoy in a secret lab, a part of plot of Soviet Union and Min Koryo.

Meanwhile Paul Suvorov a KGB officer misunderstands the mind control plan and tries to release, but he takes only Alan Moran and Marcus Larimer to a Russian cruise ship Leonid Andreyev. There Pitt's love interest Loren Smith who happens to be in the cruiser sees Moran and Larimer, she informs to her secretary.

She notifies Pitt. And Pitt along with Al Giordino disguises as a couples enters the cruise ship, but the ship was detonated many were killed. Pitt, Al and Loren tries to board nearby boat. As Moran and Loren boards, Pitt was attacked by Lee Tong, the grandson of Min Koryo and he takes Loren with him.

The President under mind control returns to White House, rules as a Dictator. The Congress tries to impeach. Pitt not fully recovered through help from Yaeger and Perlmutter finds out the secret lab and tries their best to save the United States, Vice President and Loren Smith.

How he accomplished is told in the final chapters. 

My artwork of Dirk Pitt on board Stonewall Jackson. Pitt attired in turtle neck sweater and holding a violin case.

I like to quote some of Pitt's one liners:

1. What in hell are these? Giordino mumbled, emerging from the cobwebs.

Welcome gifts from the sanitation department. (When hood and gloves given to wear for protection against nerve agent S)

2. Deducing the murderer in an Agatha Christie novel is kindergarten stuff compared to finding a lost derelict under hundreds of square miles of water. Sometimes you get lucky early. Most of the time you don't. (Pitt's poetic response to Dover on finding the shipwreck)

3. No one in the world is immune from curiosity. (Pitt asking to release news about finding of two ship wrecks instead of one)

4. What was that all about? Giordino inquired. My travel agent Pitt answered, pretending to be nonchalant. (Pitt's answer to Loren's Secretary Sally on finding Loren Smith in Leonid Andreyev cruise ship)

5. Y' all play the violin when ya fly? Hogan asked curiously.
Soothes my fear of height, Pitt replied. (Colt Thompson sub machine gun carried by Pitt in a violin case)

6. Nice place you have here, came a voice from the doorway. but your elevator is out of order.

You! he gasped. Pitts face tired, haggard and dark with beard stubble lit up in a smile.

Lee Tong Bougainville. What a coincidence. You're alive!

A trite observation. (Climax dialog between Pitt and Lee Tong)

7. Happen to know Lee Tong Bougainville personally, said Emmett. He is a respected business executive who donates heavily to political campaigns. So does the Mafia and every charlatan who's out to milk the government money machine, said Pitt icily.

8. Why have you pursued my grandmother and me, Mr.Pitt? he demanded, stalling. Why have you set out to wreck Bougainville Maritime?

That's like Hitler asked why the Allies invaded Europe. In my case, you were responsible for the death of a friend.

9. Sal Casio? she asked. With his daughter. And Min Koryo Bougainville? In hell. (Pitt answers to Loren in the end)

A penthouse suite, he corrected her. And who's going to pay for this opulent interlude? Pitt looked down at her in mock astonishment. Why the government, of course. Who else? (Pitt answers to Loren in the end)

Jul 15, 2017

Bully Boy Blue - Book Review

I did not read the blurb as I already read his fabulous psychological thriller White is the coldest colour and this novella "Bully Boy Blue". Kathy is dominated by his husband the bully boy Mike Connors, who is also a Police Inspector. Everyone including her mother and friends believes Mike's version of Kathy, that she is suffering from a mental breakdown after a miscarriage. Now Kathy finds that she is pregnant again she wants to save her baby and get rid of Mike Connors once and for all, did she escaped from the clutches of her husband and how she did will reveal the last chapters of the novella. The ending is superb. 


The story is packed with abuse and violence and some will not like. The story is very tense and in some places we will wish/pray for her deliverance.

Jul 6, 2017

Charlie Red Star - UFO Sightings

I like to thank Net galley for providing me a copy for review.

I strongly believe we are not alone in the universe. Twenty years back, evening time, my family use to lie on the terrace and watch the sky and we often see a small ball of light moving from north to south. Sometimes couple of lights trying to overtake. The lights won't blink and we told this to our friends and relatives, they did not believe us.

Coming back to the book, it is about recounting of Grant Cameron work on investigating the numerous unidentified flying object sightings that occurred in the Canadian province of Manitoba in the year 1975-76. The major portion of this book is retelling of the many tales told by citizens involved in the sightings. Charlie Red Star is name given to the glowing, pulsating disk shaped UFO.

The tales are vividly explained and exhaustive. Sometimes recounting feels a drag and the author has tried to change the flow by placing diagrams and photos.

Not only the author had given the records of sightings alone but also given elaborate information of how animals behaved during the appearance of Charlie Red Star, recording the sound and testing the wave pattern. People who become obsessed tried to capture the image of the flying saucer, but only one Tanis Major captured photographs are the best. Even the speed of the UFO is given. The author also raises several questions, what if these unidentified lights belong to alien technology? If the aliens wish to remain hidden, why do they place lights around their craft for all to see? Are they afraid of a mid air collision? Are these lights indicators that they want to land at our airports?

According to the story it appears that not only one UFO was involved, but commonly many had experienced watching Charlie Red Star.

In the end the author has given exhaustive detailed notes in chapter wise. I enjoyed reading the book and I recommend this to UFO buffs and conspiracy theorist.

Video from you tube website:



I like to quote the last line of the book.

" Reliving old memories and dreams of the past. When he hunts through the night, we won't question why. Good Night, Charlie Red Star - Old Chief of the Sky".

Jun 26, 2017

The Terra Debacle: Prisoners at Area 51

In May 30, 1979 a space ship crash lands and was impounded in Hill Air Force Base, Ogden Utah, the ship had three passengers one girl named Creena, a robot designed primarily for agricultural duties named AG4MI and the hero Thyron neither flora nor fauna known as flora peda telepathis, a telepathic walking plant. All are taken into custody. 


Dr.Gabriel Greenley, astro-biologist who specialized in botany called into studying unique characteristics of Thyron. They both become close friends over time and they exchange their views telepathically, in authors point they have same psibrations. Thyron starts to grasp the knowledge from his place and hatches a plan to escape from Area 51. What was their plan? How did they break free from their confinement? Who helped them in their escape? all are beautifully answered by the author Marcha Fox.

The plot line is good, the back stories of Dr.Greenley, the thoughts of Thyron, his rhymes, intelligent villain Colonel Watkins, the encounter between Thyron and Watkins, how AG4MI and Thyron outwits humans are worth mentioning.

I cannot say that the book is fast paced but definitely the book has its entertaining values. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, though this novel is continuation story, it can be read as stand alone. Expecting to read other books authored by Marcha Fox.

Jun 19, 2017

The Bermuda Privateer - Book Review

I thank Net galley for giving me an opportunity to read and review William Westbrook's novel "The Bermuda Privateer".


From the blurb:
1796 Captain of the fast, beautiful, and deadly Bermuda schooner Sea Dog, Nicholas Fallon sails the Caribbean protecting Ezra Somer's lucrative salt business and battling Britain's enemies with his best friend and first mate, Beauty McFarland. Somer's daughter, Elinore, is Fallon's' lover. So when Somers offers Fallon a share of the business for capturing Wicked Jak Clayton the pirate who has been stealing his ships – Fallon is motivated to help. Sea Dog soon faces warships, treasure ships, an incompetent Royal Navy captain and a massive hurricane. Along the way Fallon learns about courage, sacrifice and friendship. Ezra Somer's had connived a letter of marque from the British Admiralty for Sea Dog to raid, plunder and otherwise disrupt and destroy Great Britain's enemies.

The novel is fast paced and the author's thorough knowledge of the Caribbean islands  is made into good use for the backdrop of the plot. My first book reading experience with pirate themed started from Rafael Sabatini's Captain Blood and this book did not disappoint me.

Below are couple of characters I like to mention.

(1)Nicholas Fallon the hero of the novel, spent most of his life in ship who started as a ship boy and became the Captain of schooner Sea Dog. His skills in mathematics and cleverness in general made him a natural navigator and much respected by the crew. A born leader, whose thoughts are always about the safety of his crews. A lovable character, patriotic, obedient and truthful to his employer.

(2)Beauty McFarland, Fallon's ship mate and boyhood friend, she is courageous, a statistician, helpful to Fallon in his adventures.

(3) Ezra Somer the owner of salt company, aged and best in shooting, helped Fallon in his fight against the much feared wicked Jak Clayton. Has the heart to accept the mistakes he had done.

(4)Elinore, Somer's daughter love interest of Fallon, beautiful girl, Fallon forgets to breath when he first saw her.

(5)Ajani, a teenage guy saved by Fallon, a victim of slavery and Jak Clayton. His special abilities is his nocturnal explorations. His expertise saves Fallon and his crew from death from Jak Clayton's island and later who comes to know about a trial through his friends, a slave trial to Savannah.

(6) Alvaron, Captain of Spanish ship, though his part is small compared with other 5 characters but stands above all. He is one of the captain of the ship, transferring gold and silver to be handed over to France. While transporting the treasure from Spanish Florida to France, he meets with Fallon who is now under the Royal Navy to attack and stop the transfer. Both the ships collide and reaches the shore, Alvaron gravely wounded. Though an enemy Fallon helps him with his own surgeon. Recuperating Alvaron comes to know that his country is giving away that much treasure to France, he joins hands with Fallon.

(7) The schooner Sea Dog, a ship captained by Nicholas Fallon, the fastest ship and threat to pirates.

I liked the part of Fallon and his crew escape from the clutches of Jak Clayton's island. The chapters dealing with the escape of Fallon and Alvaron crews via the slave trial to Savannah. The chapters about the encounter of Sea Dog with Spanish flotilla. The change of mind of Ezra Somers for his salt trade and slavery.

I like to quote some lines:

Death is preferable to living without honour. (Fallon's answer to Jak Clayton)

Sometimes in War humanity wins.

We only make the war that our governments decree.

Jun 10, 2017

Vixen 03 - Book Review

My Eighth outing with Dirk Pitt Adventures.

In early part of 1950's Dr.John Vetterly, a microbiologist, chemically created an artificial form of life that in turn was capable of producing a disease strain that was nondetectable, unidentifiable bacteriological agent able to incapacitate a living thing within seconds of exposure and disrupt the vital body functions, causing death within three to five minutes it was named quick death shortly QD. Admiral Bass was given the task to dump the remaining 36 stainless steel canisters of QD in Rongelo from Buckley Field. Major Vylander commanded the Air Force Boeing C-97, number 75403, a Stratocruiser named Vixen 03. The plane did not reach the destination and his whereabouts was not known. 


(Image courtesy goldsborrobook website)

Our hero Dirk Pitt is on a vacation with his lover Loren Smith, a Congresswoman. In her father's garage he finds a part of plane wreckage, out of curiosity Pitt tries to find out where the wreckage came from. Through proper channels he contacts Colonel Abe Steiger and by chance Pitt understands that the plane should have crash landed in the nearby lake. With help from his sidekick Al, Pitt finds out the remains of Vixen 03. The report of Vixen 03 did not stir the Government and through Pitt's friend FBI agent Paul Buckner he gets information and pays a visit to retired Admiral Bass in his inn. Bass did not believe first and then together they bring up Vixen 03. But 8 canisters are missing from the lot, Bass gets ill and was hospitalized with much difficultly Pitt gets the background of Vixen 03 and the canisters.

The story moves to South Africa where internal problems was at its peak. The AAR (African Army of Revolution) headed by Hiram Lusana and assisted by Machita was gaining attraction from local people, the people look at Lusana as a messiah. To eradicate his popularity and AAR the minority whites hatches a plan, disguising as AAR and attacking white people and their farm. On one such operation navy retired Fawkes family is killed and his farm burned. Some of the officials in South African government convinces Fawkes that Lusana and his men are responsible. (This South African part drags as there is no Dirk Pitt action for a very long time.) They create one master plan "Operation Wild Rose".

Hiram Lusana comes to US to get some support from Congress, after his meeting with Congressman Daggat he was kidnapped by someone.

Now the story returns to Dirk Pitt as he was in search of the missing canisters. Did Dirk Pitt finds out the person who stole the canisters? Who kidnapped Hiram Lusana? What is Operation Wild Rose? What is the role of Fawkes in Operation Wild Rose? Did Pitt got hold of the missing QD canisters? all are answered in the remaining pages of this action packed novel.

The South African story at first looked strange and it made me feel what this has to do with the story, Clive Cussler's knack of storytelling is again become evident when he pieces them together in the end. The climax is faster and kept me at the edge. Pitt has shared more action with Abe Steiger, Sandecker and Al Giordino. The chances of finding the person behind stealing the canisters looked bleak for me but that is real twist in the story, as Pitt did some deductions like Sherlock Holmes.

The characterization and back stories of Hiram Lusana, Felicia and Fawkes are very well done. Lusana and Fawkes are opposing characters, we know that Lusana is not behind the slaughter of Fawkes family, in climax without knowing the truth both die for their cause.

I already mentioned author Clive Cussler has a bit of answering our own questions arising from story, one such appears when Admiral Bass tells them that QD is killed when in immersed in water, in our mind we also ask, then let the QD be in the lake bottom forever. That question features by way of Al Giordino, Al cuts in and says if water kills this QD stuff, why don't we simply leave it on the bottom of the lake? Bass shook his head solemnly. No thank you. If you found it, so can someone else.

Below are some one liners of Dirk Pitt.

(1) Pitt and Mapes when entering the weapons storage room.
Mapes slowed his Rolls-Royce convertible and lifted both hands from the steering wheel in an apparent greeting. The guard nodded and waved to his partner, who pulled open the gate from the inside.

I assume that was a signal of some kind, said Pitt.

Pardon?

The hands in the air routine.

An yes, Mapes said. If you had been holding a concealed gun on me, my hands would have remained on the wheel. A normal gesture. Then, as we were waves through and your attention was lulled by the guard's opening the gate, his teammate would have discreetly stepped behind the car and blown your head off.

I am glad you remembered to raise your hands.

(2) Pitt getting angry when Mapes was not able to account for the missing canisters.

How many men did your merchandise kill and maim last year, and the year before that?

If one of those gas shells went off you'd be responsible for perhaps millions of deaths.

(3) After saving Loren Smith from blackmailing.

What's that for? he asked, grinning with pleasure. A reward for bailing me out of a nasty situation. Pitt to the rescue. I always was a pushover for congresswomen in distress…

Women should be able to stand alone. He put his arm around her and led her to his car. There are times when even a dedicated feminist needs a chauvinist to lean on.

(4)Before the climax.
Bad news and dismal weather go hand in hand, Pitt said.

(5) Inside the battleship Pitt meeting Lusana who is tied.

I take it you lost the ship's popularity contest...

The dark form behind the light moved closer and Lusana felt his bonds being loosened. Where are you taking me?

Nowhere. But if you value social security in your old age, I suggest you get the hell off this boat before it's blown to pieces.

Who are you?
Not that it matters, the name's Pitt.
Are you part of Captain Fawke's crew?
No, I am free-lance. (typical Pitt one liner)

(6) Pitt and De Vall before the Fawkes family cemetery.

Why are you doing this? De Vall said savagely, What do you hope to gain?
I don't like to see traitors prosper. Pitt retorted.

Jun 3, 2017

Night Probe - Book Review

My seventh outing with Dirk Pitt adventures.


Night Probe : An old diver's term for exploring the dark of underwater caves.
Heidi Milligan discovers of an old crumpled letter in a university archive which leads into obscure and long lost document of North American Treaty. In early 1914 the British were aware that war with Germany was just around the corner. Britain was scraping the bottom of its treasury when it entered World War I. The Prime Minister Herbert Asquith and King George V out of desperation approaches President Woodrow Wilson with a proposal of selling Canada to the US for 1 billion dollars. Richard Essex, Under Secretary of State under William Jennings Bryan and Harvey Shields, Deputy Secretary of the British Foreign Office drafted the North American Treaty. United States loaned 150 million dollars for war effort which was a down payment.
 

Before the Treaty comes into force the two copies of the document were lost to time, after Harvey Shields traveling in Empress of Ireland collided with a coal collier sinks and subsequently another copy of the document with Richard Essex, traveling in Manhattan Limited train falls from the Deauville-Hudson bridge killing everyone.

Heidi has a crush with old man Brain Shaw who is actually a spy serving on her Majestic secret service. Without knowing the consequences Heidi tells him about North American Treaty and as well as with our hero Dirk Pitt.
 

The President of the United States facing a power crisis gets to know about the treaty through Dirk Pitt. He orders Pitt to salvage Empress of Ireland and Manhattan Limited. NUMA team starts their work.
 

Same time in Canada, Prime Minister Charles Sarveux is facing internal problem through Free Quebec Society, a radical movement dedicated to independence of French Quebec, headed by its veiled head and Minister of Internal Affairs, Henri Villon. The assassination attempt over Charles flight fails. A paid assassin look alike of Henri Villon, Inspector Foss Gly creates havoc by killing Quebec Premier Jules Guerrier. The British sends Brain Shaw to get hold the North American Treaty before NUMA.

Did Dirk Pitt succeeded in finding the document from Empress of Ireland and Manhattan Limited? What happened to Charles Sarveux, his cheating wife Danielle, Henri Villon and Brain Shaw? The mystery and suspense is revealed in the subsequent chapters by Ace story teller Clive Cussler.

A fabulous story entwined with greater suspense. I thoroughly enjoyed the novel. In every story Dirk Pitt encounters his evil adversary. But this adversary is a patriotic spy, Brain Shaw. Both respect each other, to me Brain Shaw resembled aged James Bond having same characteristics charm and seduction. In the final pages Pitt mentions to Brain, that James Bond will be proud of Shaw and they were quite close.

Like other novel I noticed some one liners of Pitt which I want to quote:

Dirk Pitt conversing about North American Treaty with the President of United States, before they part the President asks Pitt.

And you, Mr.Pitt, would you agree?
 
Pitt closed his briefcase and stood up. I'm a marine engineer, Mr.President. I steer well clear of political involvement.

First encounter of Pitt with Brain Shaw, Pitt after saving Shaw from the death grip of Foss Gly.

Who are you?, he mumbled.
 
Pitt. Dirk Pitt.
 
Strange, you don't look like the devil. Shaw had never doubted where he would eventually wind up.

On previous encounter Harrison Moon was tossed by Pitt when he was not allowed to meet the President in the White House. After knowing about Pitt, Moon meets Pitt in old car auction.

Mr.Pitt?

Pitt turned and looked into the babyish face of Harrison Moon IV.

Funny, Pitt said without surprise, you didn't strike me as the type who would be interested in old cars.

Actually, I'm interested in you.

Pitt gave him an amused look. If you're gay, you're wasting your time.