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LINDA A. ROOT
5.0 out of 5 starsAn intriguing departure from the stereotypical spy story.
Reviewed in the United States on May 20, 2012
Shield of Darius spares us both a brooding jihadist villian and a superhuman action hero protagonist. It does have the somewhat mundane element of a major character who subverts the United States government, and the frightening theme that we see all too often of a US goverment steered by men and women willing to do anything to cover their tracks. But there is something fresh and different about a man and woman vacationing with their family only to have a pastoral excursion interrupted when one of them disappears from a tourist site. The target of the seizure is not a high ranking public official, diplomat or political figure--he is a successful partner with his wife in a thriving business, nothing more exotic than that. His wife is competent, faithful, and tenancious, but she, too, is an ordinary woman without a dark past, harboring nothing more sinister than a desire to spare herself the harangues of a disapproving and tiresome mother. How rare is that? During their months of separation, husband and wife discover strengths that keep each of them from disaster. The tale is more believable because of the kidnap victim's ethnicity and life experiences. For example, as a child, he lived in the Middle East country where he is being held, which makes his escape more feasible. Also his family of immigrants from Yugoslavia are Roma, a tight knit subculture with links to its European roots that makes the ultimate resolution of the plot work. Add the bad guy who thinks he is a good guy, some rather likeable Russians, and an operative of the Mossad who is avenging the death of his family, and we are treated to a storyline with believeable intrigue and rising action without the need for excessive violence. I enjoyed this at in a single setting. To my great relief, I found it well written and well edited, well above the norm. I disagree with the reviewer who found it trite. There is a theme of family solidarity that is unique for the international political thriller but which by no means diminishes the suspense.
4.0 out of 5 starsCleverly Believable Spy Story Satisfies And Disappoints Only Briefly
Reviewed in the United States on August 30, 2013
Ben Sager's life tailspins into a nightmare when a bad-luck lottery makes him an unsuspecting victim. The Shield of Darius by Allen Kent sets out a very interesting and defensible premise: Iranian kidnappers might be able to use kidnapped Americans as shields against attacks on nuclear development sites in Iran. The book quickly moves from one believable event to another. The backdrop and back story keep the reader interested. Well-written prose dominates the full development of the complex, well-managed plot. Characters possess convincing flaws and strengths. The reader cheers the hero on and hates the antagonist for trying to steal the captive protagonist's wife while manipulating a scenario right out of today's newspapers. Even happenstance seems credible. Really a great read that delivers everything an international intrigue should, including a healthy amount of well-described, minutely researched and cleverly elaborated conspiracy theory. The Shield of Darius remains a consistent, exciting international thriller until the final pages when the author succumbs to naive patriotism. His previously intense and critical characters suddenly forget reality and believe that the dominant institutions of the USA would not be subjugated by the all powerful and outside the law offshoots of military power he has spent the whole book describing in their full blown insidiousness. Absolute power always corrupts absolutely.
Reviewed in the United States on December 11, 2016
I love Allen Kent's books. The Shield of Darus was the first of his that I read, and I was surprised to find that I enjoyed it more than Baldacci's or other comparable authors' books. Not only is the book well written, the storyline kept me thinking about the plot whenever I had to put the story away.. I know Allen Kent through his work with community colleges. I am as impressed with him as an author as I am with him in his CC work and look forward to reading new books as they come out.
This book leaves you with mixed emotions about the characters, the subjects of the story and the final out come of the story. The development of the story was long and drawn out. The last third of the story didn’t fit together. The book was like a lot of short stories put together and changed to make work.
I'm kind of surprised I downloaded this because it's not really my cup of tea but I got into it and stuck it out. It's not all that well-written and/or believable, in a lot of ways, but the author seemed pretty knowledgeable about the Middle East and the story kept you interested. As far as the accusations of Muslim-bashing, much ado about nothing. I think the most significant message of the book is that people of all nations are power-hungry and corrupt. I guess I should have said governments although it IS pretty much true of most people, unfortunately.
What an interesting plot.I can imagine a rogue country trying to implement something similar and government's response along the lines as written.I would have given 5 stars but felt that the hero's escape actions were a little unrealistic.Well worth reading.
The Shield of Darius war leider keine Überraschung. Zwar war die Idee sehr gut und die Ausführung auch ganz nett, aber insgesamt hätte es spannender sein können. Hier liegt eine Mischung aus einem Buch über einen terroristischen Anschlag mitsamt einer Entführung und einer Verschwörungstheorie vor. Die gelieferten Erklärungen stellen mich aber keinesfalls zufrieden. Alles in Allem bleibt bei mir ein etwas schaler Nachgeschmack. Es ist gut geschrieben, Rechtschreibung und Grammatik lassen nichts zu wünschen übrig. Wenn jemand also etwas zum Zeitvertreib sucht, lohnt es sich allemal.