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.


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.


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.