After listening to the other Steve Berry novels, I'd expected more of a proactive protagonist. Colin Michener is a wuss. The author uses Colin's crises of faith to proselytize endlessly and hint shamelessly towards the moral and "the Third Secret" of the book. The antagonists are more fully developed than the 2 primary whiny protagonists. Several times I was tempted to simply turn the book off during the lengthy proselytizing episodes.
The book is supposed to be plotted around the Marian apparitions, particularly those of Fatima and Međugorje, yet the manner of exposition is very clumsy, (and I am familiar with both)! Berry's use of other hooks has always been straight forward, (once one suspends disbelief), allowing the story to do the all the twists. Here the exposition is stretched out and padded with non-essential apparitions, (La Salette), that had nothing to do with the story. Then the extemporaneous proselytizing during those continuous crises of faith kept dragging the plot to a standstill.
Firstly, the book is much better the movie. It is also much more violent than the movie! The book, written in 1972, was an early statement on PTSD in Vietnam vets. The protagonist is the Vietnam vet and the antagonist is a Korean War vet. These are important factors throughout the book. There aren't any hero's nor winners in this book, simply conflict and misunderstanding.
This is not your mother's Rambo. I lost the body count. While inside the heads of the 2 primary characters, the lines between right and wrong simply disappear. There are many complaints regarding the author's intro; I believe that he's embarrassed that his book turned into both a jingoistic movie series and a cash cow. Not what he had in mind when attempting to portray PTSD!
While I wouldn't go so far as to compare this to 'All Quiet on the Western Front' or anything of that ilk, it is perhaps just one step below. The narration is flawless.
To be perfectly honest I bought the book on sale because I liked the 1939 movie starring Ralph Richardson. It's a 1902 vintage serialized book written about the Mahdist Wars in the Sudan beginning in 1882 and covering the next 7 years, including the death of Gordon of Khartoum.
The plot is long and convoluted involving 5 primary male characters, 2 primary female characters and 3 secondary male characters, all of who have some participation in returning the titular 3 small and 1 large white feathers. The white feathers signify that the senders accuse the recipient of cowardice. The majority of the novel is what follows once the feathers are received. If you have seen any of the movies you may have a general idea of what follows, (except the 2002 version which was complete revisionist crap having no relationship to either actual history nor the spirit of the book).
The book's plots are much more involved and interesting than any of the movies. Still the characters are your standard British upper class stiff upper lip, but - with a touch of humanity. A classic example of popular literature 110 years ago, well done with excellent narration.
J. Kellerman with J. Rubenstein has to be one of my all time favorite combos in audio. I've listened to all 20, and can recognize all the major characters sans labels. has to be one of the best pairings in audio book history!
As usual a great convoluted intricate and tight plot line, but I figured out 'who done it' by Chapter 2 and spent the rest of the time just waiting to see if I was right. Still a great ride! Kellerman and Rubenstein hitting another one out of here!
As I've written previously, Leslie Charteris' Saint series is a picture in time of 1930's England much as Dashiell Hammett & Raymond Chandler provide snapshots in time for the same period in American San Fransisco and Los Angles - warts and all. The prejudices of the time with the bigotry and racial attitudes of the day are rampant throughout the books. The "N" word is used in ways that may surprise many American readers to reflect attitudes of the Britons of the day at all levels of society.
Where Dashiell Hammett and his characters are terse and taciturn, Leslie Charteris is loquacious, but Simon Templar is one of the most loquacious and relaxed characters in the genre history! Reading these books one can see the development of the genre as we know it today.
Mr. Tefler delivers all characterizations with flair and verve.
Book 3 is actually Book 1! Audible & Amazon staffs have a tendency to do minimal service to some series & unfortunately this is one of them.
The book is fantastic! A picture in time right up with Dashiell Hammett & Raymond Chandler. This is NOT your mother's Simon Templar! This is more of an amoral Saint filled with violence and fuzzy philosophies. There are more than one Saint and Simon Templar is not a womanizing Lothario,but a one-woman man.
Charteris helped write the early Saint movies, so agreed to the sanitizing of what Simon Templar became on the screen, but he kept The Saint true to his origins on the page.
Mr. Tefler serves the written word with panache and verve! Listen to the series and see why Simon Templar, The Saint has been popular since 1929!
Overlord reads like the summation of multiple underlying plot lines, some that began in "Event", the first book in the series. Reads like either the end of the road or the series taking off on new tangents.
The characters are the normal archetypical jingoistic stereotypes from their respective countries, except the Speaker of the House who's your standard Tea Party'er taken from CSPAN. ;-) In other words - the usual suspects down to the 'men in black'.
As I've said in past reviews of this series, Mr. Goleman is master yarn spinner. He manages to suspend belief just enough that his tall tales can be enjoyed to escape from the mundane travails of everyday life. What more can you ask?
He IS a tad sloppy with getting all the details correct in his books, but he is so consistently sloppy that it's almost a trademark by now. Richard Poe has only gotten better over the life of the series to the point that I'm looking for other books narrated by him.
Audible has all 9 of the Event Group series, you just need to hunt for the suckers because they like to hide them! Mr. Goleman spins pretty neat yarns in all of his books. His biggest problem is that he really needs a fact checker to edit his books desperately. His lack of knowledge regarding the military in general is appalling. The time in grade for promotion for officers has his characters frozen in rank; some change rank during the same book. He needs a decent armorer to fact-check his guns and ballistics.
In one book India is described as the world's largest Muslim nation; the NKVD as the successor to the KGB, etc. Sometime it almost seems that Mr. Goleman is putting in false facts in on purpose! He does seem to get a favorite phrase for each book, plus many re-occurring ones like, "...screamed like a girl..."; "...a sight he would remember for the rest of his life"; etc.
Richard Poe's narrations have come around from a virtual Joe Friday presentation to pretty good variation for all the characters and gets into the material!
This series has fantastic potential. Solid character development, good plot backgrounds. The only shortcoming was the 2 dimensional battle scenes. Everything occurs on one plane; ships go port and starboard, forwards and reverse, but little transvering in the 3rd plane of up and down or any combination thereof. If the author gets his ships moving in all 3 planes, (in some cases 4), then he has the makings of one rip-roaring space opera here!
Firstly the tag team approach to the narrative distracts greatly form the story. If they feel the first person narrator is lacking, get another one. Secondly audible.com has not spent much time in this series. They have omitted the short story which would be 1.5; "The Dig", and the 4th novel, "The Widow's Strike" from the Series Listings in spite of the fact that both are sold by audible.com. Sloppy.
Basic premise of Pike Logan series is a broken special forces operator being gradually made whole again by partnering with an extraordinary civilian broken female. Two halves make more than a whole. The action is well above average. The narrative tends to get verbose, but doesn't get too much of a bore. I have a tendency to read or listen to entire series if I find one of the books interesting - bought the first on sale and then listened to entire series. Author is obviously knowledgeable in special operations procedures, (I'm sure that they're disguised sufficiently to give away secrets), so the action sometimes suffers from detail - but detail IS the author's forte. Found all 10 'books' of the series worth my money and time.
Fantastic bio! The best that I've ever read of Jackson! There were a few incidents missing, but the way the book was presented there was no way to include them. A most novel method of weaving his life through the various periods of both his career and childhood. It was most entertaining and kept my attention in spite of a rather dull narration.
The good General was a man of many facets. He had a wicked sense of humor, displayed only in private, that belayed his public taciturn image. He could courts-martial men for disobeying orders and then caress their heads when they were wounded in battle. He was a pro-Union man, but when war came - lobbied for fighting under the black flag.
The author repeatedly compares Jackson to Cromwell, Grant and Sherman. The Americans were all exposed to Jomini at West Point, but only Cromwell and Jackson constantly exhibited the Jominian tenets of speed and mass; besides their sharing a deep religious faith.(IMHO, Jackson,was the superior general). I think that most would consider Grant and Sherman more Claustewizian in their strategy, and therefore don't bear the author's comparison. The points in common being in rather humble circumstances at the war's beginnings. Other than that small point, it is an outstanding book.
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