I have been a big fan of John Irving for decades. I have read all his books and this by far is the best. The story is great and the narration excellent. This is my #1 favorite book I have purchased from audible (out of almost 100 books).
I read this book because my brother is in the JAG in the navy. I also remember it from the movie, and having seen that first, I could not get Humphrey Bogart out of my mind as the captain. So if you have not seen the movie, listen to this firs, then see the movie. The movie is true to the book, but it is the performances that will make it hard to imagine the characters for yourself.
This tale is not so straight forward as it would first appear. By the end you will start to question who was right or wrong. It is rather ambiguous whether Captain Queque deserved the treatment he received from the crew of the Caine.
The book is interesting from the standpoint that it takes men from all walks of life and puts them in a role they may or may not be able to handle. Add the stress of war, and some will fail and others will succeed.
Of the three books from this author during WW II, the Caine Mutiny, War and Remembrance, and the Winds of War, I would rate this the best of the three. Start here, and if you like it, then listen to the other 2. This is an easier place to start because there is only 1, you do not have to listen 40 hours of a sequel.
I like mystery/thriller books when there ia an element of surprise. There is really not much in this book. I hate to say this, but the author has written one book to many in this series. It's so similar to previous books that it was not an enjoyable listen. I doubt that I will continue on. I read Sycamore Road by Grisham and that was much better. This book was way too predictable.
I enjoyed this book. Although slightly too long with too many side stories it does a great job describing an episode in American history that few people know much about. I am a fan of apocalypse novels, and this was even more frightening because it was true. If you want to read about the impacts that a major influenza epidemic would have, this is a great place to start. It was even more interesting because one of the major "hot zones" was Fort Devens, MA which is only a few miles from where I live.
Besides the story of the influenza outbreak, it is also a story about the ultimate stupidity of elected officials. Knowing that the outbreak was serious, they kept shipping soldiers in tightly packed troop ships to the WWI killing fields of France. Many did not make the transit.
In the days of instant communication, I am not sure that we could repeat this. At least I would hope so.
Scott Brick, as usual does a great job at narration.
So in summary if you like "end of the world" fiction (The Stand, The Passage), you will like this as well.
I go from fiction to nonfiction on a routine basis. This book reads like fiction. It brings to life the sacrifices and suffering that a whole generation undertook to save western civilization. Books like these should mandatory reading in high schools.
I bought this because it had a perfect score. I guess the authors/narrators have a good following, because for me it was like listening to Howard Stern. Plan to hear plenty of F#$# bombs and other swears.
Maybe I just can't get the humor. but then again, I find nothing funny watching shows like South Park. Don't expect anything enlightening. I would view this a wasted credit.
I can imagine Boris, one of the characters, saying exactly that in his russian accent. "Shut up Theo you talk to much. Oh my head hurts too many words" .
The author is a great writer and the narrator is great, but you will find yourself fast forwarding a lot by end of book. Near end there is a 2 hour endless dialogue with Theo by himself in a hotel room in Amsterdam. It is interminable to listen to it.
Some people compare it to Dickens, it is not really there. It actually reminds me a lot of Tom Wolfe's Bonfire of the Vanities. The lead character, Theo, is unable to get over a tragedy that happens when he is twelve. His life spirals downhill, and only at the end does he find redemption. The author gets really preachy about the "power of art" to change mankind.
When the story is moving along at a good pace, it is very good. When it starts to get preachy its very bad. The author needs to get a new editor who will get out the red pencil and chop and chop. Most of teh time I found myself saying "enough already, get on with the story".
It's hard to forget that only 60 years ago there were places on earth that were not explored by man. Today you can see everywhere with google earth. You can see all the approaches to the mountain in 3D.
I read Into Thin Air about an ascent in the 1980s and it was shocking how things have changed. No gps receivers, high tech fabrics, etc. Now that Everest is climbed by teenagers it's great to read a story where the likely outcome was death. The same could be said about Lindbergh and first flight across Atlantic.
I wish there was some unexplored place on earth that I could conquer. There will never be one for my generation. This was the last one.
As Louis L'amour is known for his "western" books, this book may seem a little out of place. It's not. It's basically a western set in Siberia Russia. The main character is of native American descent and uses his knowledge of the wilderness to survive in Siberia. Knowing that Siberia is larger than the United States, it is slightly farfetched that the Russian officers are able to track Joe Mack as his transverses the entire Asian continent. Time and time again they find him and I kept saying, "you must be kidding". It's similar to finding one person in all of the Canadian wilderness, or millions of square miles. While Joe is escaping he also manages to acquire a " love interest" that even makes it more farfetched. Although a decent listen, all the tromping through the woods gets tedious at times.
I love John Nesbo's Harry Hole series so I thought I would give this a try. It is quite good and keeps you on your toes guessing what will happen next. Although all of the characters are wanting in moral character, the combination of them is a good fit. Set in Oslo, Norway like the Harry Hole series, the backdrop is the same. The book even brings in Krepos, the same crime squad Harry works in ( but no Harry). Roger Brown, the Headhunter, has his faults but undergoes an evolution during book. In the end, everyone get what they deserve.
As some reviewers mentioned, it reminds me of the Girl with Dragon Tattoo series. If you like either that series or other John Nesbo books you will like this.
Although the original was published some years ago, the story has been updated to modern age. Without this revision it would have been dated, with it its a very good thriller. You have the typical story of a unexperienced pilot flying a modern jetliner, but also several twists have been added to increase the "thrill". Telling would give it away, so I won't. I was slightly hesitant when I added this book, but in the end I could not stop listening. As usual, Scott Brick does an excellent job at narration. If you like flight books, you will love this. If not, it's just a good plain (sorry for pun) thriller.
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