What Uncle Stevie said

Blood Infernal, The Order of the Sanguines Series by James Rollins and Rebecca Cantrell; 2015; $27.99; 406 pages; William Morrow, New York, NY; 978-0-06-234326-0; checked out from Multnomah County Library, Central; 3/27/15-3/29/15

The suspension of disbelief is critical.  Vampire priest in the employ of the Vatican working to prevent the return of Lucifer to this world.  They are working alongside a forensic archaeologist and a special forces soldier.  The Knight of Christ (a vampire priest), the Woman of Learning (the archaeologist) and the warrior of man(the special forces soldier)  are working together with many others and against the forces of darkness to keep an ancient prophecy from coming to fruition.  The adventure travels all over the world and involves corrupted animals and humans and those who are working for the greater good.

Did I enjoy it?  Yes, there is a great deal of real history in it and I like it when fantastical elements are added in.


What is with the title of the review?  Stephen King in his book Danse Macabre that often the crucial part of reading a book with fantastical or supernatural elements is to suspend disbelief in those elements.  For that seems most possible when the other elements are firmly rooted in reality.


World Domination Now and Then

The Venetian Betrayal by Steve Berry; 2007; $9.99; 558 pages; Ballantine Books, New York, NY; 978-0345-48578-6; checked out from Multnomah County Library, Hillsdale; 2/4/15-2/7/15

Cotton Malone, bookstore owner in Copenhagen, gets sucked back into the world of government covert affairs.  The action spans the European-Asian continents moving from Copenhagen to Venice to Afghanistan and spans from the time of Alexander the Great to now.  A despot in Eastern Europe is obsessed with finding Alexander’s body and is attempting to recreate his conquering of the world.  Meanwhile a pharmacologist has found a cure for a worldwide virus but isn’t releasing it because he won’t make enough money and is involved in helping and working against the despot.  Double and triple agents abound and people keeping each other in the dark.

Did I enjoy it?  Yes, it was an exciting adventure that spanned centuries and traveled all over the world.  Plus it featured a cameo by Painter Crowe from James Rollins’ Sigma Force books.


What is with the title of the review?  Alexander the Great tried to conquer his world during his lifetime and now another ruler is trying to do the same thing.

A nod towards Princess Bride, perhaps

The 6th Extinction by James Rollins; 2014; $27.99; 426 pages; William Morrow, New York, NY; 978-0-06-178481-1; Fiction; Checked out from Multnomah County Library; 8/18/14-8/20/14

I feel like Rod Serling when I talk about James Rollins books.  Imagine if you will a subterranean world beneath the ice in the Antarctic, with its own unique ecosystem.  Some scientist in California has a problem with a genetically engineered virus that kills everything, not just people, flora and fauna and sterilizes the earth.  Meanwhile there is a mad scientist in a hidden lair in the mountains of South America who wants to re engineer the entire world with his genetically engineered creations.  Throw in a series of maps of Antarctic that go back thousands of years including an account from Charles Darwin.  Sigma Force is tasked with shutting down the mad scientist and saving California while fighting the bad guys.  As usual they use their military and science skills to save the day.

Did I enjoy it?  Yes it was an exciting page turner that I enjoyed.  I really enjoy the combination of science, history and military skills.


What is with the title of the review?  One of the ancestors of the bad guy is Cuthbert Cary-Elwes.  Cary Elwes played the male lead in the Princess Bride.


Libby, there has been a change in policy

The Kill Switch, A Tucker Wayne Novel by James Rollins and Grant Blackwood; 2014; $27.99; 388 pages; William Morrow, New York, NY; 978-0-06-21325-4; Fiction; Checked out from Multnomah County Library, Troutdale; 5/27/14-5/29/14

Tucker Wayne is a former Army Ranger who has a K-9 companion named Kane who have fought together for years in the mountains of Afghanistan.  Retired from the Army he is working freelance, when he and Kane are tasked by Sigma Force to escort a Russian scientist out of Russia.  Since nothing is ever simple, Tucker and Kane are trying to stay ahead of several groups of bad guys, deal with an arrogant scientist and decipher a 100 year old riddle.  The action runs all from Russia to South Africa and is action packed.  The relationship between Tucker and Kane is awesome as is the action that is depicted from Kanes’ point of view.

Did I like it?  Yes, Rollins and Blackwood do a great job of combining history, science, action and relationships.


What is with the title of the review?  I had once told my friend Libby that I wouldn’t read books by a well known author and anyone else.  I have read several and am changing my policy.  Because as I have often said, “A good story is a good story.”


He was right the first time

Long Live The King, Book One of the Charlemagne Saga  by Guy Cote; 2012; $12.99; 313 pages;  World Castle Publishing, Pensacola, FL; 9781938243790; Purchased from the Author at Wordstock, November 2013; 5/6/14-5/9/14

What is the story?  A down and out strippers daughter in Arizona, somehow runs to her grandfathers home in Germany.  Wait a minute how did she get a passport and able to make a immediate reservation to Germany.  The improbabilities just keep piling on, now and in the past.  A group in Germany that wants a united Europe decides to clone Charlemagne to rule Europe and decides to use the daughter as an incubator.  A group that doesn’t want one a single ruler for Europe is fighting the cloning.  The young woman runs back and forth between the US, France and Germany.  One minute she is carrying the clone of Charlemagne, next she is told that it is actually Charlemagnes’ son Pippin the Hunchback.  The clues that she chases down are so far apart, so contradictory that no reasonable person could put them together but this girl with no education who works at a fast food place manages to figure everything out.  One character is a university professor who is an expert on Charlemagne and he is also at the same time a mob boss and no one has ever  put these two together.  He is also in many ways the central character of the story.

Did I like it?  Ok, it was interesting but there were just too many coincidences*, the references were way too obscure and too many contradictions.*Rule 39, There are no coincidences.


What is with the title of the review?  When I first asked the author about the book he told me it was like the Da Vinci Code, told him I didn’t like it and he would have a sale if he told me it was like James Rollins or Steve Berry.  Next time I walked by that is what he told me, it was more like Dan Brown than James Rollins or Steve Berry.