The good: Suspenseful story, likeable and realistic characters with some depth and mortal flaws, room for multiple characters to have strengths, reflects pretty good research into the realm of the US Marshall service (except for a few flubs like having 14 rounds in a six-shooter revolver).
The bad: starting in Part 2, Robards apparently thought she needed to lengthen the book and relied on two strategies: repeating the same phrases ad nauseum and, for a change of pace, she apparently invited "Mr. Obvious-man" to add his two-bits, to the detriment of the book. With some good editing it could have been a great suspense and action novel.
Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley he is not. Unfortunately, Stephen Lloyd Jones follows more closely in the footsteps of Elizabeth Kostova. There is lots of historical context, innuendo, and build-up, but only about 20 minutes of action - some of it just sadistic - in the entire muddled novel. Such possibilities - and such disappointments. At least it was pleasant listening to the appropriate accents of Gemma Whelan, the narrator.
Uris takes 21 hours to make a very good case that the world is better off when the power to control the course of events is not in the hands of superstitious fanatics and to explain the complexities at play in the middle east and similar regions - but I can get that message validated from listening to a minute of news on the BBC any morning. The characters are too stereotypical to care about and the stereotyped accents of the narrator come close to mockery. I would recommend this book as a way for high school students to learn the region's history, current events, and civics in a manner more interesting than reading a text book but it was not an entertaining way to spend 21 hours.
I wish I had noticed this book was published in 1996. I purchased it thinking there would be new insights added to the folklore most Americans learned in 5th grade class and field trips to history museums, but there wasn't much other than details of provisions purchased and used, salaries paid, ranks bestowed, diseases endured, moneys authorized and spent, etc., that added nothing to a story for non-scholars. The lengthy, overly personal and sentimental preface and dedication almost caused me to stop before the story began. Maybe there was more to the unabridged version.
Yes - the first time, suspense keeps you racing through to follow the story. In subsequent reads you notice details & subplots and reflect on the implications of Suarez's revelations.
First it is a well-crafted and entertaining story. But it also explains so much and so well the terrifying plunge the One-Percenters (and especially the .01 Plutocrats) are driving our society through. Richard Clarke (former National Coordinator for Security and Counterterrorism) has been warning of the dangers through 3 presidents' administrations; Billy O'Brien (former Director of Cybersecurity at the White House) has endorsed the legitimacy of Suarez's warnings, woven into a fiction novel.
Thought you were paranoid walking out of the theater after Alien and Mad Max? Just wait and see how scared you are after watching Daemon!
If you have not read any of the previous dozen books written by former Navy Seals you will enjoy this, but there is nothing new told here and it lacks the depth and craft of some others.
The author's childhood hunting in Alaska, his basic Seal training.
If for no other reason, read this book so you can participate in conversations about it. This series is now part of our common cultural experience. Each time the story faltered Collins was able to throw in an unexpected turn of events that kept me reading. It is a terrible shame though, that they chose a middle aged woman to narrate for the character of a simple, headstrong teenager. To make matters worse, Ms. McCormick apparently decided to play Catness as stupid and self centered rather than a survivor who rose above serial traumas, conspiratorial intrigue, and the crossfire of adult politics.
I found the first one-third tedious and almost quit but am glad I stuck with it. Despite organizational problems it all comes together well in the end. Don't expect a female Bourne but rather a reflective perspective on life at the gray area of government-sanctioned intrigue and crime a la le Carre and you'll enjoy this many-layered story.
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