Archive for the ‘Adventure’ Category

Tomorrow, When the War Began

October 3, 2012

Tomorrow, When the War Began cover

Author: John Marsden

Genre: Adventure

Publication Date: 1993

Number of Pages: 277

Geographical Setting: Australia, present day (1990s)

Series: The Tomorrow Series (book 1)

Plot Summary:  A group of teenagers blow off the town’s festivities to go camping in Hell.  After a relaxing week in the Australian bush, the group returns to the unimaginable: empty homes, spoiled food and dead dogs.  The book reads like the first in a series, giving ample time for a fully developed setting and character development before jumping into the thrilling plot.  The characters transform as their new bleak reality sets in.  Readers discover character growth and plot development through a single narrator’s point of view.  The book ends on a suspenseful note as the group decides how best to deal with the grave situation at hand.

Subject Headings: Resourcefulness in teenagers; Hiding; Imprisonment; Resourcefulness; Determination in teenagers; Determination (Personal quality); Guerrilla warfare; War; Survival; Teenagers – Australia; Wilderness areas — Australia

Appeal:  Action-packed; Builds in intensity; Suspenseful; Bleak; Compelling; Series characters; Introspective; Detailed setting; Accessible; Small-town; Episodic; Flawed; Emotionally-charged; Coming-of-age

3 appeal terms that best describe this book: Compelling; Bleak; Emotionally-charged

Three fiction read-alikes:

Life as we knew it by Susan Beth Pfeffer (Bleak, Emotionally intense, Compelling, Survival, Series)

Set in rural Pennsylvania, 16 year-old Miranda’s life changed in a blink of an eye as a meteor causes more trouble than scientists predicted.  Miranda and her family struggle to survive the Earth’s violent reaction to this event.

Holding Their Own: A Story of Survival by Joe Nobody (Survival, Action-packed, Series)

Set in 2015, a couple must learn to survive in an America that has fallen into a second Great Depression, and devastated by terror attacks resulting in governmental collapse.

Winter’s End by Jean-Claude Mourlevat (Compelling adventure story about teenagers set in other countries)

Set in an unnamed country, this dystopian story is about four teenagers daring escape from their prison-like boarding school.  The teenagers struggle for survival and quest for answers about their past, keeping readers on the edge of their seats.

Three related non-fiction titles:

The Time of the Rebels: Youth Resistance Movements and 21st Century Revolutions by Matthew Collin (Young adults, Resistance)

This book discusses the role youth movements played in taking down oppressive governments.

 Violent Politics: a History of Insurgency, Terrorism & Guerrilla war, from the American Revolution to Iraq by William R. Polk (guerrilla warfare and insurgency in several countries)

William Polk takes a global approach to the history of insurgency, terrorism & guerrilla warfare.

 Red Earth, Blue Sky: the Australian Outback by Margaret Rau (Australian Outback)

The story of Margaret Rau’s journey through the Australian Outback.

Name: Shira

Semper Fi

July 23, 2012

 Author: W.E.B. Griffin

 Title: Semper Fi (The Corps #1)

 Genre: Military Adventure

 Publication Date: November 1, 1986

 Number of Pages: 352 (Paperback)

 Geographical Setting: Shanghai, China and United States

 Time Period: The 1930’s and WWII (20th Century)

 Series: Book 1 of Griffin’s Corps Series, a 10 book series about different battles and time periods in the United States Marine Corps from the point of view of the Marines themselves.

 Plot Summary: In this novel we are introduced to Ken McCoy, a marine corporal, who is recruited into intelligence work in Shanghai in early 1941. He is involved in some action and sent back to the States, goes to Officer Candidate School and returns to the Pacific via Hawaii and the Philippines immediately after Pearl Harbor.  This book is not your average war adventure story however as it shows a more entertaining and historically grounded view of life from the inside of the Marine Corps. The flood of profanity within the novel, while it may be realistic, should be noted for those who are more sensitive readers. The constant specificity and jargon in referring to a character’s rank, or the make and model of weapons may come across as annoying at first but is effective in bringing the reader into the mindset of a marine.

Subject Headings: United States Marine Corps; Marines, WWII; The Thirties (20th century); Men – Friendship; Military bases, American; Military History – 20th century

Appeal: Character-driven; Intricately plotted; Fast-paced; Suspenseful; Dramatic; Compelling; Richly-detailed; Military jargon-filled; War story; Adventure story; Friendship story

3 Terms that best describe this book: Suspenseful, Compelling, Character-Driven War story.

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

1) Marine: A Guided Tour of a Marine Expeditionary Unit by Tom Clancy

A unique inside view of the Marines, including their history, recruitment, training, arms, equipment, and strategies. His main focus is the Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU). The USMC maintains seven MEUs, rapid-response units that patrol the sea while waiting for the president to send a “911” call for armed intervention. Clancy’s vivid detail works to add some real life context around some of the military jargon in Semper Fi.

2) Semper Fi: The Definitive Illustrated History of the United States Marines by H. Avery Chenoweth and Brooke Nihart

For those interested in the historical side of the Marines before and after the time period depicted in Semper Fi, this book offers a look at the Marines through over 1,000 pictures and text. From their founding in 1794 to their most recent actions-including the second battle of Falluja-the entire history of the U.S. Marine Corps comes to life in these illustrated pages.

3) Code Talker: the first and only memoir by one of the original Navajo code talkers of WWII by Chester Nez

Another side of the Marine Corps of WWII and the role they played in winning the war on the Japanese front, this memoir tells the first person story of retired Marine and Navajo Indian Chester Nez who describes his experiences as one of twenty-nine top-secret codetalkers during World War II and how his life growing up on the Checkerboard Area of the NavajoReservation prepared him for service.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

1)  Victory by Stephen Coonts

Like Semper Fi, this is a fast-paced, suspenseful and richly detailed WWII stories. It’s a collection of original WWII stories that include contributions by authors like Ralph Peters, David Hagberg, and Harold Robbins.

2)  Silent Thunder by Iris Johansen

This novel is a tale of the Marine Corps as well, set in modern times. Like Semper Fi, it’s suspenseful, fast-paced and a character-driven adventure story about marine architect Hannah Bryson who must discover the mystery behind a decommissioned Soviet submarine, Silent Thunder, that was recently purchased by the U.S. government for use as a maritime museum after her bother dies mysteriously.

3) The Eagle Has Landed by Jack Higgins

Like Semper Fi, this is a richly-detailed suspenseful WWII adventure story about the European warfront told from the perspective of the Germans. In this story, a small force of German paratroopers lands on the Norfolk coast during 1943 and attempts to kidnap Churchill who is visiting nearby. It’s is a convincing alternate history with detailed characters.

Name: Bridget Optholt

Angels & Demons

July 23, 2012

Author:  Dan Brown

Title:  Angels & Demons

Genre:  Adventure

Publication Date:  2000

Number of Pages: 569

Geographical Setting:  Vatican City, Rome

Time Period:  Contemporary

Series:  Robert Langdon

Plot Summary:  This fast-paced book follows world renowned Harvard symbologist Rorbert Langdon when he is unexpectedly summoned to the Vatican City where there was a murder and the victim had the name of an ancient society, the Illumni burned into the body.  Robert is tasked with uncovering clues that point to the resurgence of an ancient secret society that has issued a vendetta against the Catholic Church.

Subject Headings:  Secret societies, popes – election, signs and symbols, Vatican City, Illuminati, Vendetta.

Appeal:  fast paced, adventurous, sentimental, dangerous, historical details, detailed setting, suspenseful, intricately plotted, engaging characters, plot-driven, descriptive writing style, atmospheric.

3 appeal terms that best describe this book:  detailed setting, suspenseful, plot-driven.

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

Truth and fiction in The Da Vinci Code: a historian reveals what we really know about Jesus, Mary Magdalene and Constantine by Bart Ehrman.   A biblical historian examines the history of the early Christian church, pointing out inaccuracies in The Da Vinci Code and providing an introduction to biblical scholarship.

Cracking the symbol code: revealing the secret heretical messages within Church and Renaissance art by Tim Wallace-Murphy.   This non-fiction book gives the real history of Christianity, as revealed in the hidden symbols used by such heretical groups as the The Knights Templar and the Freemasons to preserve true spiritual knowledge.

The conclave: A sometimes secret and occasionally bloody history of papal elections by Michael Walsh.  This book explores how popes are chosen, revealing a history of vendettas, bribery, family feuds and political intrigue that sometimes ended in the death of voters.

 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors (why they are similar):

The Atlantis Code by Charles Brokaw. When the ancient ruins of Atlantis are discovered along the Spanish coast, linguist and archaeologist Thomas Lourds joins a violent competition to be the first to gain entry into the lost civilization.

Map of Bones by James Rollins.  This book centers around a group of parishioners that are burned to death in a German cathedral, the U.S. sends in the SIGMA force to investigate.   This is more than a case of arson when it is revealed that a priceless treasure, the bones of the biblical Magi is stolen.  

The Bourne Identity by Robert Ludlum.   This is the first book of the Jason Bourne series where Jason is dragged from the sea, with a face altered by plastic surgery and no memory of how he got there. Now he is running for his life, the target of assassins, and at the center of a deadly puzzle.  

Name:  Olivia Button

The Mediterranean Caper

July 23, 2012

Author:  Clive Cussler

Title: The Mediterranean Caper: A Dirk Pitt Novel

Genre: Adventure, Thriller, Suspense

Publisher/Publication Date:  Berkley Books, New York.  1973

Number of Pages:  372

Geographical Setting:  The Island of Thasos, Greece.

Time Period:  Modern Day

Series:  Dirk Pitt series

Plot Summary:  One of the first novels of Cussler’s Dirk Pitt series, this is a tale of intrigue, sabotage, and scientific exploration.  Dirk Pitt  is a rough-and-tumble, modern-day adventure-man with a troubled past, charming wit, and the occasional mean streak about him.  A member of the National Underwater and Marine Agency (NUMA), Dirk and his brainy colleagues embark on a mission to discover a missing creature in the evolutionary chain, only to be thwarted by a WWI bi-plane.  Pitt’s revenge on the nefarious plane leads to a tale laced with suspense, intrigue, picturesque Roman vistas, tricky villains, snarky quips, beautiful babes, and explosions galore.   This action-infused thriller is a page-turner and never lets up till the exciting conclusion.  As far as thrillers go, Cussler certainly knows what he’s doing.

Subject Headings:  Dirk Pitt (character)–Thosos (Greek Islands)–Military Bases–Submarines–Sabotage–Navy–WW I Planes– Bi-Planes–Classic Cars–Boats– Military History–Roman History–Greek Vistas–Aegean Sea–Labyrinths–Mediterranean–Troubled Pasts–NUMA (National Underwater and Marine Agency)–Adventure–War Criminals–Nazis.

Appeal:  Edgy, Informative, Shocking, Smarmy, Un-pretentious, Action-packed, Witty, Fast-paced, Richly detailed, Violent, Smart, Gut-wrenching, Spry, Loud, Serious.

3 Appeal terms that best describe this book:  Smart, Fast-paced, Loud.

3 Similar Fiction works and authors:

Blood of the Reich.  William Dietrich.

Those who enjoyed the German threads (and machines) in Cussler’s The Mediterranean Caper may enjoy this similar tale about a modern-day publicist who must find the truth about a story on the history of Nazi SS officers and an American Zoologist looking for a legendary energy source in Tibet.  Fast-paced and suspenseful, this story provides a female protagonist akin to Dirk Pitt who is thoughtful, playful, witty, and smart.  Told in alternating chapters (both the past and the present), this tale should please anyone looking for an engaging, page-turning thriller.

State of Fear.  Michael Crichton.

This thought-provoking suspense novel by Crichton is an eco-thriller taking place in various exotic locales such as Paris, Iceland, and the Solomon Islands.  Those who find Cussler’s technologically  intense scientific and militaristic facts intriguing will enjoy this tale about a millionaire dealing with a present-day concern: global warming.  This compelling, richly told tale is both intellectually stimulating with the action-packed, fast-paced pace readers love.

Thunderball.  Ian Fleming.

Those who love Dirk Pitt’s brash, some-what dark, womanizing ways will most likely enjoy this James Bond tale by Ian Fleming.  In this tale Bond deals once again with the evil criminal organization SPECTRE, which has just hijacked an NATO airplane containing two atomic bombs , and is demanding ransom.  Will Bond succeed?  And, will there be beautiful women to cavort with whilst examining cool gadgets and sketchy situations.  Most certainly so!

3 Similar Non-Fiction works and authors:

Castles of Steel.  Robert K. Massie.

This historical, non-fiction novel tells the tale of early, 20th-century naval history between the British and Germans during WWI.  The writing style of this work is filled with intriguing details, is thoughtfully described and is very scholarly, but not boring.  It is a military narrative of the finest proportions, and a good place to start for Cussler fan’s who enjoy his intricately described boats and machines of olden times.

Ancient Greece: A history in eleven cities.  Paul Cartledge.

Those who enjoyed the lushly detailed, mysterious vistas of The Mediterranean Caper might enjoy this historical novel about the development of eleven Greek city states and the politics thereof.  The book contains many significant details and contains a time-line, glossary, and list of important figureheads of the time.  Engaging and well-researched, fast-paced and highly accessible reading.

Horrible shipwreck!a full, true and particular account of the melancholy loss of the British convict ship Amphitrite, the 31st August 1833, off Boulogne, when 108 female convicts, 12 children, and 13 seamen met with a watery grave, in sight of thousands, none being saved out of 136 souls but three!   Andrew C.A. Jampoler.

This amusing, startling story tells the tale of the convict transport ship Amphitrite, and how it came to its ultimate demise off the shores of France in 1833, carrying over 100 women prisoners and their children.  Though non-fiction, this book is action-packed, written in the thriller/adventure style, and is full of intrigue and historical comedy and intrigue.  It contains bibliographical details and an index as well.

Catching Fire

July 23, 2012

Author:  Suzanne Collins

Title: Catching Fire

Genre:  Adventure, Science Fiction

Publication Date:  2009

Number of Pages:  391

Geographical Setting:  Panem (North America in the future)

Time Period:  Post-apocalyptic

Series (If applicable):  The Hunger Games

Plot Summary:  In book two of The Hunger Games trilogy, the story of Katniss Everdeen is continued.  By surviving the games with Peeta Mellark in book one, she has unwittingly started stirring rebellion among the districts.  The evil President Snow is out to get her and his forces are ready to staunch the rebellion.  The lengths he goes in order to stop her and make them an example to the districts are horrifying and surprising.  When they are forced back into the Hunger Games, Katniss and Peeta must reach deep inside themselves and band together with the other contestants in a dramatic struggle for survival.

Subject Headings: Insurgency- Fiction, Survival- Fiction, Television programs- Fiction, Interpersonal relations- Fiction, Contests- Fiction, Dystopia- Fiction

Appeal:  breakneck pacing, detailed, dramatic, intriguing secondary characters, vivid, well drawn characters, action oriented, violent, open-ended, thought-provoking, bleak, darker tone, detailed setting, suspenseful, candid

3 terms that best describe this book:  action oriented, intriguing characters, thought-provoking

Similar Authors and Works (why are they similar?):

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors

The Tube Has Spoken:  Reality TV and History- edited by Julie Ann Tadeo and Ken Dvorak

The Tube Has Spoken provides an analysis of the growing phenomenon of reality TV, its evolution as a genre, and how it has been shaped by cultural history. Readers who enjoyed reading about the broadcasting of the Hunger Games, will like this look at reality television today.

Little Green: Growing Up During the Chinese Cultural Revolution– Chun Yu

In China in 1966, Chun Yu was born as the Great Cultural Revolution began under Chairman Mao. Here, in verse, she recalls her childhood as a witness to a country in turmoil and struggle.  Readers interested in true stories of political oppression and revolution will enjoy this poignant memoir.

Democracy Incorporated:  Managed Democracy and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism– Sheldon S. Wolin

This book is critical analysis of modern-day urban America, which Wolin claims is politically uninterested and submissive, much like the residents of the Capitol in Catching Fire are submissive and agree with whatever President Snow says.  A thought provoking read for those interested in government and democracy.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors

Uglies- Scott Westerfield

Tally Youngblood, an Ugly, is excited to turn 16 so she can have the operation everyone gets to turn Pretty. A few months before her birthday though, Tally meets Shay who challenges some of her ideas about being Pretty. When Shay runs away before her operation, the authorities get a hold of Tally and tell her that she must locate Shay and give up their group or else she will not be able to turn Pretty. Tally finds the Smoke, but discovers it’s not so bad and that there are some sinister things going on back in Pretty Town.  Readers of post-apocalyptic adventure will appreciate this fast-paced, suspenseful novel and it’s proceeding books in the series.

The Wind-Up Girl- Paolo Bacigalupi

Anderson Lake is a company man, AgriGen’s Calorie Man in Thailand. Under cover as a factory manager, Anderson combs Bangkok’s street markets in search of foodstuffs thought to be extinct, hoping to reap the bounty of history’s lost calories. There, he encounters Emiko. Emiko is the Windup Girl, a strange and beautiful creature programmed to satisfy the decadent whims of a Kyoto businessman, but now abandoned to the streets of Bangkok.  Like Catching Fire, this book paints a bleak future of a dystopian world that will have readers racing through it.

The Alchemy of Stone– Ekaterina Sedia

Mattie, an intelligent automaton skilled in the use of alchemy, finds herself caught in the middle of a conflict between gargoyles, the Mechanics, and the Alchemists. With the old order quickly giving way to the new, Mattie discovers powerful and dangerous secrets. However, this doesn’t sit well with Loharri, the Mechanic who created Mattie and still has the key to her heart.  Readers who appreciate the conflicted romance and adventure of Catching Fire will enjoy this book.

Name:  Becky Ozinga

The Last Templar

April 18, 2012

Author:  Raymond Khoury

Title:  The Last Templar

Genre:  Thriller, Adventure

Publication Date:  2005

Number of Pages:  523

Geographical Setting:  United States, Turkey, Greece, Palestine

Time Period:  13th Century, Contemporary

Series:  Sean Reilly Thrillers

Plot Summary:  After witnessing the theft of valuable artifacts on loan from the Vatican, archeologist Tess Chaykin joins with FBI agent Sean Reilly to help track down the thieves and recover the artifacts.  Discovering that one of the artifacts leads to the famed hidden treasure of the Knights Templar, Tess and Sean engage in an adventure -filled treasure hunt across the Mediterranean. The treasure they discover is not what they expect; instead, it is a powerful secret that can change the face of Christianity.  This fast-paced, suspenseful thriller with loads of action will take the reader on an historical adventure that spans eight hundred years.

Subject Headings:  Knights Templar, The Crusades, Archeology, The Vatican, Catholic Church, Christianity, Conspiracies, Cryptography, Treasure Hunting, Women Archeologists

Appeal:  fast-paced, suspenseful, dramatic, flashbacks, cinematic, investigative, multiple points of view, multiple plot lines, action-oriented, thought-provoking, historical details, details of The Knights Templar

3 appeal terms that best describe this book:  suspenseful, dramatic, fast-paced

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

The Crusades:  The Authoritative History of the War for the Holy Land:  by Thomas S. Asbridge-    The Crusades tells the story of the Holy Wars from both the Muslim and Christian perspective.  The Crusades: The Authoritative History of the War for the Holy Land will appeal to readers interested in the battles of the Templars in The Last Templar.

Discovery!:  Unearthing the New Treasures of Archeology by Brian M. Fagan- Through first-hand accounts, renowned archeologists discuss how their discoveries have helped to mold our understanding of history.  Discovery will appeal to readers who are interested in Tess Chaykin’s profession in The Last Templar.

The Templars:  The Secret History Revealed by Barbara Frale- The Templars:  The Secret History Revealed utilizes recently discovered Templar inquisition transcripts to provide a more thorough examination of the enigmatic order of medieval knights.  Both The Last Templar and The Templars:  The Secret History Revealed have the Knights Templar as a main topic.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors (why they are similar):

Captain Alatriste by Arturo Perez-Reverte- When hired to assassinate two Englishmen visiting Madrid, seventeenth -century sword for hire Diego Alatriste finds himself torn between his conscience and fulfilling his contract.  Like The Last Templar, Captain Alatriste is a suspenseful, fast-paced novel rich in historical detail.

The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown-  While working to solve a murder, a French cryptologist and an American symbologist  uncover secrets that can discredit the traditional beliefs of the Christian Church. Both The Last Templar and The Da Vinci Code are suspenseful, fast-paced novels about the Catholic Church, conspiracies, and cryptography.

Sanctus by Simon Toyne- While investigating the death of a monk, an American journalist becomes entangled if a web of conspiracy involving the Catholic Church.  Like The Last Templar, Sanctus is a dramatic, fast-paced novel filled with conspiracy and nonstop action.

Elissa

Ready Player One

March 21, 2012

Author: Ernest Cline

Title: Ready Player One

Genre: Science Fiction

Publication Date: 2011

Number of Pages: 384/15 hours

Geographical Setting: Oklahoma City, Pittsburgh, Oregon, Cyberspace

Time Period: The not so distant future

Plot Summary: Ready Player One reads like a science fiction lover’s dream, but has plenty to offer other readers as well.  18 year old Wade Watts lives in a trailer park just outside of Oklahoma City, and like most of the people around him, spends most of his time in the Oasis. Created by legendary game designer James Halliday, the Oasis is an immense online multiverse that in many ways has supplanted the real world.  When Halliday dies after spending years in isolation, he leaves not a will, but a contest. The winner of the contest, the one who finds the Easter egg hidden somewhere in the Oasis, will win all of his multi-billion dollar fortune and controlling interest in the Oasis.  Wade is a gunter, a harcore hunter of Halliday’s Easter egg, and like the many other gunters around the world, is making his way through masses of 80s pop culture looking for clues. In a world where there are planets inspired by Battlestar Galactica, flying DeLoreans,  and countless arcades, Wade solves wickedly difficult puzzles, makes friends, and races against the rest of the world to capture the ultimate prize. Ready Player One transcends genre, and is at times a pulse-racing adventure, a sweet story of first love, and a celebration of geek culture.

Subject Headings: Avatars, Dystopias, Geeks, Popular Culture, Puzzles, Quests, Social Networks, Teenage Boys, The Eighties (20th century), Virtual Reality.

Appeal: colorful, suspenseful, thrilling, geeky, plot driven, strong secondary characters, compelling, fast-paced, quirky, humorous, vivid, witty, cinematic, descriptive, engaging, engrossing, concise, edgy, unique, intricately plotted, richly detailed, nostalgic.

3 appeal terms that best describe this book: thrilling, quirky, nostalgic.

Similar Authors and Works (why are they similar?):

Nonfiction works and authors:

Dungeons and Dragons Players Handbook by Rob Heinsoo:  Readers who want to be immersed in another world may enjoy this player’s handbook, which provides character creation guidelines, rules, and world creation assistance.  Dungeons and Dragons is the most famous role-playing game in the world, and it plays a pivotal role in Ready Player One.

The ultimate history of video games: from Pong to Pokemon and beyond : the story behind the craze that touched our lives and changed the world by Steve L. Kent:  Anecdotal and exhaustive, this spirited  history of video games runs the gamut between game catalog and business memoir. Filled with enthusiasm and thorough in coverage, The ultimate history of video games is a comprehensive guide to the history and cultural impact of one of the world’s most popular pastimes.

Totally Awesome 80s: A Lexicon of the Music, Videos, Movies, TV Shows, Stars, and Trends of that Decadent Decade by Matthew Rettenmund.  Whether you fondly remember the 80s or you’re just finding out about them, this playful tribute will tell you everything you never knew you needed to know. Ready Player One is a love letter to that decade, and this guide will show you why it was so great.

Fiction works and authors:

Beauty Queens by Libba Bray: Another coming of age story infused with pop culture, Beauty Queens begins with a group of teenaged pageant contestants who have crash landed on a desert island. A diverse and clever group of girls, they grow from spoiled and naïve to actualized and self-sufficient. Funny, touching, and strangely relevant, this title provides both a thrilling plot and interesting character development.

The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde: Thursday Next is a literary detective, traveling in and out of books while searching for a villain who has been kidnapping major characters.  Combining wry humor with suspense and a multitude of literary allusions, this is another genre transcending science fiction title with wide appeal.

Strange Flesh by Michael Olson: A grittier and steamier look at virtual reality, Strange Flesh follows a hacker who rediscovers an old love while in the midst of murder and a kidnapping. Fast-paced and suspenseful, this is a compelling look at a high-stakes, technical world.

Name: Laura F.

Sacred Stone

February 23, 2012

Author: Clive Cussler (and Craig Dirgo)

Title: Sacred Stone

Genre: Adventure

Publication Date: 2004

Number of Pages: 406

Geographical Setting: Greenland, Iceland, United States, Europe, High Seas

Time Period: Contemporary

Series (If applicable): The Oregon Files

Plot Summary:  A 50,000 year-old radioactive meteorite has just been unearthed in the remotest reaches of Greenland by a clandestine archeological team.  When the team is murdered and the meteorite goes missing, it’s time to call the Corporation.  Headed up by the enigmatic and fearless Juan Cabrillo, the Corporation is made up of two dozen or so of the most highly skilled individuals ever to have come out of the military, intelligence, and special-ops communities.  Disguised as a rusty cargo ship, the Oregon serves as the super high-tech floating command center for the group.  When governments around the globe encounter threats too advanced or sinister for their own people to handle, much less their citizenry to ever find out about, it’s the Corporation that gets the call.  In tracking down the meteorite, Cabrillo and his crew discover and must attempt to thwart not only a plot to reduce Western cities to radioactive rubble, but also a scheme to eradicate Islam from the face of the earth by way of poisoned prayer rugs.  A breakneck race against the clock ensues as the Corporation must call upon their every resource, as well as every bit of luck, in order to stop annihilation on a global scale.

Subject Headings: Terrorism – Prevention; Relics; Mercenary troops; Ship captains; Meteorites; Greenland; Suspense fiction; Erik the Red; Elton John.

Appeal: colorful, concise, straightforward, fast-paced, dangerous, dramatic, earnest, foreboding, menacing, intense, action-oriented, layered, conclusive, violent, contemporary, provocative, confident, confrontational, clandestine, energetic, swaggering, tense, urgent, volatile.

3 appeal terms that best describe this book: action-oriented,

straightforward, fast-paced.

Similar Authors and Works (why are they similar?):

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

 

Mad, Bad & Dangerous to Know by Ranulph Fiennes.

Fiennes “recounts his exploits as an explorer-adventurer, including traveling the Nile in a Hovercraft, four thousand miles of wild river journey in Alaska and Canada, and an overland trek to the North Pole” (Novelist), and that’s just a warm-up in a remarkable life filled with a remarkable number of near death escapes.  This work would do well with the reader enamored by the self-sufficient and ever resourceful adventurer character Cussler seems fond of placing in his novels (and probably thinks himself along those lines as well).

Spycraft: The Secret History of the CIA’s Spytechs from Communism to Al-Qaeda by Robert Wallace H. Keith Melton, Henry R. Schlesinger and George J. Tenet.

This title is a collection of some of the harrowing and clandestine operations embarked upon by the CIA since the beginning of the Cold War, and also of the high-tech espionage tools and weapons invented to help agents to live to spy another day.  Spycraft would have wide appeal for any Adventure fan but especially with Cussler’s legions, what with his love of Bond-ish high-tech gadgetry.

SEAL Team Six by Howard E. Wasdin and Stephen Templin.

These are the guys who killed Bin Laden, rescued those people from the Somali pirates, and seem to be the go-to guys anytime the US government needs anyone saved, dead, or captured.  Wasdin was a Team Six sniper and gives a rare insider’s view into the grueling training and harrowing and deadly missions of this elite squad.  If Juan Cabrillo and the Corporation were real (and hopefully they aren’t) they would be rife with former Team Six people.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

By Order of the President by W.E.B. Griffin

At the behest of the President, Special Forces Major Carlos Castillo assembles a secret team of operatives to investigate a missing airliner in this terse, fast-paced action thriller.  Big appeal is here for the reader who enjoyed the more militaristic aspects and machinations of the Corporation and Sacred Stone.  Fans of the Dirty Dozen/Magnificent Seven archetype of every person in the gang having a special skill (like the Corporation) would like this as well.  This is the first book in a series.

Jaws by Peter Benchley

As Cussler’s novels all seem to be water-bourn in some manner, it would seem a natural choice to suggest the granddaddy of aquatic adventure and danger and his masterwork.

The Lion by Nelson DeMille

Former NYPD detective John Corey is now a special agent for the Anti-Terrorist Task Force and must track down a notorious Libyan terrorist hell-bent on murder and destruction.  Another natural choice for Cussler fans, this time in line more with the anti-terrorism aspects of Sacred Stone.  This is also part of a series.

Name: Bill S.

The Da Vinci Code

February 22, 2012

Author: Dan Brown

Title: The Da Vinci Code

Genre: Suspense

Publication Date: 2003

Number of Pages: 454

Geographical Setting: Paris, France and London, England

Time Period: Present

Series: Angels and Demons (Prequel), featuring Robert Langdon

Plot Summary: The mystery begins with the shocking murder of Jacques Sauniere, the elderly museum curator for the Louvre in Paris.  Upon dying he leaves behind a bizarre set of symbols, written in his own blood, as a clue to his allies.  This triggers a hunt for the murderer in which Robert Langdon, a professor of symbology, and Sophie Neveu, a French cryptologist, must search below the glass pyramid of the Louvre, to uncover a perplexing puzzle emanating from a work by one of the world’s greatest artists, Leonardo DaVinci.  But can Langdon and Neveu solve the mystery before it is too late?  Full of action and suspense, this thriller, now a major motion picture, is sure to have you on the edge of your seat!

Subject Headings: 1. Art museum curators — Crimes against — Fiction 2. Cryptographers — Fiction 3. Grail — Fiction 4. Secret Societies — Fiction

Appeal: atmospheric, suspenseful, descriptive, fascinating, intricately plotted,  compelling, thrilling, religious tie-ins, gripping, page-turner, historical aspects, cinematic

3 appeal terms that best describe this book: cinematic, page-turner, intricately plotted

Similar Authors and Works (why are they similar?):

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors

  1. The Lost City of Z, David Grann – for readers who enjoy a mix of history and mystery.  This is a non-fiction book about the British explorer, Percy Fawcett.
  2. The Way of DaVinci, Jay Williams – for readers who want to know more about Leonardo DaVinci.
  3. Seven Days in the Art World, Sarah Thorton – this book provides a look at the world of contemporary art today through interviews and narratives.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors

  1. The Fire, Katherine Neville – Suspenseful, female protagonist, and involves cryptic codes and puzzles.
  2. The Breath of God, Jeffery Small – Compelling, though-provoking, and for readers who want more Christianity-themed fiction.
  3. Timeline, Michael Crichton – for readers who like books set in Paris, also richly detailed and incorporates time travel.

Garden of Beasts

November 30, 2011

Author: Jeffrey Deaver

Title: Garden of Beasts

Genre: Adventure, Historical Fiction

Publication Date: 2004

Number of Pages: 11 discs

Geographical Setting: New York City, New York; Berlin, Germany; other various

Time Period: 1936

Series (If applicable): N/A

Plot Summary:  When hitman Paul Schumann finds himself caught in a sting set up by New York City police, he recognizes that his luck has run out.  Preparing himself to be tried, jailed and probably executed, Schumann is surprised when he is given a choice: instead of facing the consequences in America, he can work a job for the American government and assassinate a political leader in the burgeoning Nazi government.  When he accepts, Schumann is sent off on a wild and crazy ride through Berlin where he meets local characters, beautiful women, and the most dangerous and evil villains in the world at that time.  Narrated by several characters other than Schumann, including a German police detective hot on Schumann’s heels and the object of Schumann’s assassination plot, the audio book version’s performer Jefferson Mays does a decent job of differentiating between characters and uses accents to provide local color.

Subject Headings: Mafia hitman; Nazi Germany; German Olympics; Adolf Hitler; Jesse Owens; Assassination plot; Detectives; Anti-semitism

 Appeal: Builds in intensity, engrossing, fast-paced, atmospheric, dangerous, dramatic, menacing atmosphere, stark, detailed characters, flawed characters, strong secondary characters, multiple points of view, action-oriented, character-centered, cinematic, investigative, multiple plot lines, plot twists, thought-provoking, detailed setting, historical details, political, unpretentious language, jargon

3 appeal terms that best describe this book: Builds in intensity, flawed characters, historical details

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors

In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson

A piece of narrative nonfiction, this title describes the lives of the William E. Dodd, the American ambassador to the Third Reich, and his family as they lived in Berlin during the period before World War II.  Figuring in the story also are the characters of Göring and Goebbels who are featured in Jeffrey Deaver’s novel of almost the same title.

Hitman: The Untold Story of Johnny Martorano: Whitey Bulger’s Enforcer and the Most Feared Gangster in the Underworld by Howie Carr

This biography of Johnny Martorano, a hitman for the mob tells the story of life for a real hitman.  It also discusses the knowledge of some politicians and the FBI of Martorano’s activities.  This mirrors Schumann’s eventual connection to political and law enforcement organizations as well as giving more information about his line of work.

Backing Hitler: Consent and Coercion in Nazi Germany by Robert Gellately

This title discusses and rejects the idea that the German population as a whole knew nothing about the atrocities committed by Hitler and his minions.  It discusses this point of view using primary sources including case studies and news sources.  Some of the terms and ideas touched on in Garden of Beasts are presented and expounded upon in this book.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors

A Game of Lies by Rebecca Cantrell

The third in a series about German crime reporter Hannah Vogel, this title takes place during the 1936 Olympics in Hitler’s Berlin, Germany.  This historical mystery shares a time period and setting with Garden of Beasts.

Casino Royale: a James Bond novel by Ian Fleming

This first James Bond novel has 007 taking on the Soviet Union.  It includes many elements similar to Deaver’s Garden of Beasts including adventure, international intrigue and assassins and is written with a fast-paced and suspenseful style.

Killing Castro by Lawrence Block

This novel, written in 1961 tells the story of 5 Americans offered $20,000 to kill Fidel Castro.  The fast-paced suspense story includes multiple plot lines and a suspenseful feel that may appeal to fans of Garden of Beasts.

Name: Christi H.