Sunday, 17 August 2008

Ultimate Weapon by Chris Ryan

I've become very suspicious of any book with Chris' name on the cover these days. The publishers are ghost writing so many books these days and Mr Ryan is apparently writing one book a week that you never know if he really did write it.

Fortunately in this case is does not matter. The book is excellent. It's a high action adventure, where a retired SAS man gets roped back into service for one last mission. This old man is such a joy to read. He's cantankerous, unpleasant and self reliant and just such a perfect model of what your hero shouldn't be that he really brings to the book to life.

All in all this book was really fun to read, high adventure in the SAS novel tradition, it even gives an alternate reason for the Gulf 2 conflict!

If you like military adventure then I highly recommend this one.


Tuesday, 5 August 2008

Infinity Concerto - Greg Bear

I hate Greg Bear. I never used to hate him, but now I do. the first book by him that I ever read was called simply "Eon" which was a fantastic Sci Fi book. Absolutely great. then I read the sequel to "Eon" which was not so good but a passable sequel.

Then I read a couple of his other books, none of which reached the heights of the Eon sequel...

Then I read this book, "Infinity Concerto". In short I was totally disapointed.

The story revolves around a young man who gets encouraged to enter another world thats hidden from our world. There he encounters other races, and finds humans subjugated to their power. He goes through the standard hero's journey until you get to the last quarter of the book.

At this point Bear seems to have lost the will and started making up nonsence and writing tripe!

The books ending seemed to pay no heed whatsoever to the main characters journey. Why go through all of this "training" this experience, and it have no relevance to the end game. Was it only there to fill pages?

I'm very disapointed and I don't think I will be reading another "Bear" book. That said, I would recommend "Eon".


Saturday, 19 July 2008

Night of the Fox by Jack Higgins

This is a world war two story and is a jolly good yarn. An American Colonel with all of the details about D-Day in his head gets torpedoed and ends up drifting to the German occupied island of Jersey. The Allies have to get him out... or kill him.

They turn to a man with a history. A professor that can act, think and behave like a true Nazi. He is smuggeled into Jersey and his mission is to get the Colonel out, or kill him.

The story is gripping from the beginning. I found that I was drawn to the main character almost immediately. As his history is revealed this apparently cold heartless man is proved to be anything but. Every page is full of the tension that Higgins is very good at creating. The bluff and counter bluff add interest and confusion to the story and the sense of impending doom keep even the most mundane of occurances a high tension moment.

I got through the book in just a few days and found myself staying up too late and suffering the next day because I kept reading.


Wednesday, 9 July 2008

Flash Flood by Chris Ryan

I picked up this book because of the authors name. I've read a number of "Ryan" books and love the modern military/spy stuff he rights.

However this book is different. It follows a young mans adventure across London during a tremendous natural disaster.

Although the book is not the military adventure as I was expecting, it is an adventure and the action is almost continuous. I sped through this book in just a few days. It's not a long book and appears to have a YA slant. The text is larger print than normal and when I thought I still had another chapter to go, I discovered that the story was over and the remainder of the book was actually a preview of another Chris Ryan book.

I hate it when they do that!

The story was good, and I really enjoyed it.


Monday, 7 July 2008

Sniper One by SGT Dan Mills

I was loaned this book by a pal at work on Friday. I took it back to him on Monday having finished reading it over the weekend.

It was terrific. It's another of the modern military memoirs that are coming out these days and tells what was to me anyway an untold story of the "peace keeping" in Iraq in the early 2000's.

It tells the story of the a sniper company garrisoned on the outskirts of a run down town in the Iraq interior. The whole area is riddeled with anti UK anti American groups who show thier displeasure with combat.

On their first trip out of the base the newly arrived sniper company gets into a serious fire fight and it does not stop after that.

The story goes on to tell how the British battle group is beseiged and culminates towards a full scale assault by the Iraqis to overrun the base.

This story is terrifying and exillerating at the same time and shows both the horror and the humour of modern urban combat. Literally, a must read!


Thursday, 3 July 2008

Gods Smuggler to China

This book tells the true story of a man going by the name of "Brother David" who hears God telling him to go to China to distribute Bibles.

It reads like an autobiography, we get get to learn about his childhood and youthful problems. We even get told about how and why he turned from the church for many years and would have nothing to do with it.

That changes though, and the interesting incidents of his life that bring him around and send him back to the church and even into missionary work.

The majority of the book is taken up with his involvement in the smuggeling of Bibles into mainland China. This book was published in 1981 back when China was a lot more "closed" than it is now so some of the trouble he has to go through will seem odd or even strange to people who havn't lived through it. ( Try telling a 16yo about the Berlin wall, they wont believe it!).

The story is very focused on the spirtiual side of the Davids work and as such is what many might call a "bible bashing book". I found it very interesting, and that side of things did not put me off of the story at all, in fact it is the story, as Davids motivation and that of the people who help him is entirely driven by thier faith.

I dont suppose this book is still in print, but if you find it, pick it up, it's a good read.

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

Dead Hand - Harold Coyle

I read a lot of books and I couldn't possibly keep them all. Believe me, I have tried that in the past. My mother was a book horder and I caught the habit from here. However that has changed, spending two years on the road taught me to be more discerning. I no longer keep all of the books I read, the majority of them get passed on to friends or left in bus stops.

Every now and then a book comes along that I just cant blindly give away. "Dead Hand" by Harold Coyle is one of those books.

To be honest I cant imagine ever giving up one of his books as every one I've read has hooked me from the outset and I've ended up devouring them in a couple of days.

"Dead Hand" is a military thriller with a story of Epic Proportions! As the cover itself gives away, a huge asteroid hits the Russian tundra cauing terrible destruction and activating the "Dead Hand" that would fire all of the remaining Nukes.

So with that premise Nato moves to prevent the Dead Hand scenario and we have a terrific military adventure story.

Harold likes to show both sides in his stories and he does that here with a wonderful and absorbing manner. We follow the exploits of SAS, Foreign Legion and Spetnatz.

The characters are real men and you feel for them as they enter the field and have to deal with the terrible facts of modern warfare.

I was blown away by how good this book was. I really quite upset when it ended as I wanted more of his excellent work to feast my eyes with.


Tuesday, 17 June 2008

Seize the Night - Dean Koontz

I've read many Koontz books in my time and enjoyed many of them. This one, was outstanding!

The story follows the nocturnal adventures of Mr Snow a young man with an allergy to light. Therefore he sleeps by day and becomes active by night. The story only covers a couple of days(nights) and is jam packed with adventure, horror and a darn good plot line that will keep you hooked.

The story is set in a town where a an made bug has escaped that mutates men and beasts, often turning them mad and violent. Yet it is a slow acting thing, and the government, including the local police are acting more often than not to hide the strange happenings rather than trying to help the people involved.

This book was a real page turner, and I ended up staying up later than I should while reading it. This is a sequel but you do not have to have read the previous book. I am however on the lookout for the prequel because this book was so good.

Rated : 8/10

Monday, 26 May 2008

Iron Tower Trilogy

The trilogy is surprise surprise made up of three books.

The Dark Tide
Shadows of Doom
The Darkest Day.

Written by Dennis L. McKiernan

The series is a fantasy story following the basic principals of most fantasy series. "1) Something bad is coming. 2) Oh dear its arrived. 3) Oh crap! We'd better deal with it."

The author says that he loved the Lord of the Rings story and wanted more, and this story is the result. He has created his own fantasy world, and put his version of Hobbits right in the middle. He has made a change to the Hobbit character however. In LotR Hobbits are laid back lazy people, in this trilogy they are presented as a much more "realistic" people. They work hard to make a living and have a strong cadre of Bow armed border guards.

The story is very engaging, I found myself drawn to these less soppy Hobbits and hoping and wating them to succeed. They are not always successful which makes them feel more real and allows your sympathies to come through.

In short, it's an exciting, fun adventure, and has deliberate LotR references and parrellels that make it both familiar and new.

Rated 7/10