insert Rod Serling voice over here

The Alexandria Link by Steve Berry; 2007; $25.95; 462 pages; Ballantine Books, New York, NY; 978-0-345-48575-5; Checked out from Multnomah County Library, Fairview; 2/26/15-2/28/15

Only one man knows the location of the ancient Library of Alexandria, repository of much of the knowledge of the ancient world.  Only one man, Cotton Malone, knows where that other man is.  To force Cotton to reveal what he knows his son Gary is kidnapped and held to force Cotton to find the link to the library.  The action moves all over the world, involves the British, the Americans, Israel and Saudi Arabia, the executive branch of the American government and all sorts of duplicitous behavior by almost everyone involved.  A economic cartel that has existed for hundreds of years wants to find certain documents with in the library that would wreak havoc on the world’s religions and create chaos.  Cotton relies on his allies foreign and domestic to rescue his son and to keep the knowledge within the library from being used for nefarious purposes.

Grade-A

Did I enjoy it?  Steve Berry deftly weaves together history, intrigue and deception to craft a thriller that could well be taking place as you read this.  I really enjoy the weaving of real history into the narrative.

What is with the title of the review?  I can imagine Rod Serling saying, “imagine a world where all the wisdom of the ancients still exist, but only one man knows where it is.”

 

Doing the right thing is always right

The Lone Star Ranger by Zane Grey; 1914; $2.00; 308 pages; Walter J. Black, Roslyn, New York; purchased from Friends of the Multnomah County Library; 2/21/15-2/26/15

Buck Duane’s father is a well known gunfighter in West Texas and many think he will follow in his fathers footsteps.  He is forced to kill a man in a gunfight, but it is self defense.  In that part of Texas he has to go on the dodge to avoid the mans family quest for revenge.  He has gained a reputation that precedes him and is often challenged to a gunfights.  He never starts the fight but often finishes them.  He falls in with outlaws but often protects the innocent from them.  One Texas Ranger hears of him and offers him a pardon to infiltrate another gang and take them down.  As he moves in on the gang he falls for the gang leaders daughter.

Grade-A

Did I enjoy it?  I really enjoy Zane Grey’s writing he so vividly describes the people and their character that I feel like I would know them if they walked out of the pages of the book or I walked into it.  He also very vividly describes the country and how it looks.

What is with the title of the review? Buck Duane always does the right thing whether or not it will be the popular choice or put him in danger.

I never feared the day…

Damn Few, Making the Modern SEAL Warrior by Rorke Denver, Former Head of Basic and Advanced SEAL Training, Star of Act of Valor and Ellis Henican; 2013; $27.99; 290 pages; Hyperion, New York, NY; 978-1-4013-2479-7; purchased from Multnomah County Library Title Wave Used Bookstore; 2/19/15-2/21/15

Rorke Denver went from being a competitive little guy who had to win to a high school and college athlete who had to win to being a Navy SEAL.   This is his journey from being so competitive as a lad that he dove across the finish line to beat another kid, not caring that he was diving onto the concrete sidewalk of his cul-de-sac to being a leader in the SEAL team and being an administrator in charge of training the next generation of SEAL warriors.  These guys are warriors and they train hard to get there, they do what they do because they believe in the principles our nation is founded on, they have a strong sense of right and wrong and above all honor.  The author tells of his life growing up, reading Winston Churchill and competing in athletics before becoming a SEAL.  It is an exciting and insightful read, he tells of battles fun and not so fun within the SEALS and against enemies foreign and domestic.  He is never arrogant about what he has done, but matter of fact.

Grade-A

Did I enjoy it?  Yes, I am always amazed at what these operators go through to become SEAL Warriors.  I am always looking for insight and I found much here that will influence my life going forward.

What is with the title of the review? It is from an epigraph at the start of Chapter 14 of the book.  It is either a poem or part of a poem by the authors brother.

I never feared the day

That death comes take my hand.

I fear the cries of my family

So I’ll live as long as I can.

—Nate Denver

interesting thoughts about God and what he thinks

The Third Secret by Steve Berry; 2007; $9.99; 449 pages; Ballantine Books, New York, NY; 978-0-345-50440-1; checked out from Multnomah County Library, Rockwood; 2/17/15-2/19/15

Murder, intrigue, corruption, lies, and more in this thriller taking place at the highest levels of the Catholic church.  Steve Berry has packed his story with lots of historical facts and then speculated about what those facts mean.  Starting with the appearance of the Virgin Mary to three children at Fatima in Portugal in 1917.  The Virgin reportedly told the children three secrets which two of were well known.  The third was divulged by the Pope in 2000.  However as with any secret there is always controversy with many saying the church did not reveal the actual secret.  Papal Secretary Colin Michner is sent all over Europe looking for the Priest who did the original transcription of the third secret, meanwhile an ambitious Cardinal who wants to be the next Pope is scheming to prevent Father Michner from finding the secret and revealing it.

Grade-A  

Did I enjoy it? Yes, this is one of my favorite kinds of books, one that takes historical fact and tweaks it just a little and then speculates What if?

What is with the title of the review?  The supposed revelation of God presented as the third secret reveals God’s problems with the church and is something that most of society today would be glad to hear and would completely challenge what many people of Christian faith believe.

 

Theme song by Sister Sledge

Michael Vey, Hunt For Jade Dragon by Richard Paul Evans; 2014; $18.99; 319 pages; Mercury Ink, New York, NY; 978-1-4814-2438-7; checked out from Multnomah County Library, Northwest; 2/15/15-2/17/15

Michael Vey and the Electroclan are recovering after the Battle of the Ampere when they are sent to Taiwan to rescue Jade Dragon.  She is an autistic savant who has come up with a formula that the Elgen covet so they can make more electric children.  Before they undertake the mission they are reunited with their families and have some r&r at a ranch somewhere in the Southwest.  They recruit a new member to the Electroclan who had been a enemy previously to help them rescue Jade Dragon.  They are captured and escape learning new powers and new languages.  They rescue Jade Dragon and get some bad news, which will start the next book.

Grade-A

Did I enjoy it?  Yes, Evans has crafted another exciting with a theme of family at its core.  Each of the Electroclan is tight with family in some shape.

What is with the title of the review?   A theme that has run through all of the Michael Vey books is family.  Family is not just blood.  Sister Sledge had a hit with the song We Are Family in 1979.

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