Author David McCullough hails from my hometown of Pittsburgh so I feel a connection to him. Okay, not really, but I’ve enjoyed many of his books. If you love historic settings and details, you have to have read some of his books. The Pioneers is subtitled “The Heroic Story of the Settlers Who Brought the American Ideal West.” In this case “West” is Ohio. The book heralds the settlement of communities in and around what is now Marietta, Ohio. Being from Pittsburgh, I truly enjoyed the references to the Ohio River and Pittsburgh itself.
So I am obviously behind the times only just discovering Lee Child’s Jack Reacher series. I had heard about them, but I tend to shy away from very successful, “popular” novels as they often leave me wanting. So when I decided to reach for one of these novels (see what I did there?), I went back to the beginning…and it had one heck of a beginning…
Keep It Quiet by Richard Hull follows the Secretary (manager) of a British gentlemen’s club, the Whitehall Club. When a member seems to be murdered the Secretary is embroiled in intrigue and cover-up while still trying to please his members…all very British!
“You can’t have murders in decent clubs. It does the place no good – no good at all. Best to let sleeping dogs lie.’ He went to Morrison’s funeral quite happily, and returned from it in so cheerful a frame of mind that he even thought he could find a bye-law as to the sherry which would satisfy Cardonnel. A closer examination, however, brought disillusionment. It was then that he opened the letter.”
“From an early age I have known that I am a favorite of the gods, particularly of the great god Horus to whom I pray. How else could I have been gifted from birth with so many talents and virtues? How else have I been able to survive so many terrible perils and mortal dangers that would certainly have destroyed any lesser being? How else have I been able to stay so young and handsome and my mind so sharp when all those about me wrinkle, turn gray and fade away with age? There is something about me that has set me aside from most other mortal men.”
In Camino Island a group of thieves make off with priceless, hand-written manuscripts. The owner is hesitant to alert the world fearing that the writings will disappear forever. The authorities act fast and apprehend many of the criminals, but not all and not the manifests. Fast-forward to the tiny, Florida town of Santa Rosa where a popular bookstore owner dabbles in rare books. Could he have obtained the manuscripts? A struggling novelist who has roots on the island is convinced to go undercover.
The Skaar Invasion by Terry Brooks is the second book in The Fall of Shannara books. I basically leaves off from where The Black Elfstone ended. The Skaar are a people whose land is failing and they are in search of a new home. Lead by their warrior princess, they show cunning and little mercy against their enemies. Meanwhile the remaining druid must find a way out of the vanished Paranor before he disappears completely. He must join forces with his friends before the lands are taken over by the Skaar and his former colleague.
FBI agent Jessica Blackwood comes from a famous family of magicians. She too shares that past, but has driven herself to become the best cop that she can in hopes of leaving that all behind. Her unique talents with misdirection, however, makes her a valuable asset when facing criminals looking for a big splash. In Black Fall, a series of seemingly unrelated events lead to anarchy in the United States. Blackwood and the FBI must find the people who are pushing the buttons before it’s too late.
“He glanced at the sun again, squinting, but it still didn’t look any different. But it was different. Just before going to bed shortly after midnight, they had listened to a BBC broadcast on a battery-powered shortwave radio and heard that another CME had exploded from the sun’s surface, perhaps more powerful than the December 1 incident, and would strike Earth in less than three days. Something was indeed going wrong, and holding Darla close, he felt a vague fear of what was to come.”
Rose Franklin and her colleagues are trapped in Themis and transported to the alien planet where she was made. Some want to stay, some want to go home, but it becomes apparent that there is a need for them to return to Earth. That’s not so easy and they are challenged to find a way to transport back home.
Waking Gods is the second in author Sylvain Neuvel’s Themis series. Themis being the giant “robot” discovered in pieces scattered around the globe. The United States has control of the robot and is convinced to share the discovery and use it to protect the world. It has become obvious that this was not made on Earth, yet the men and women who operate it have become comfortable with making it move. Things are going well until a second robot shows up in London.
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