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Publisher's Summary

In Ted Bell's latest pulse-pounding and action-packed tour de force, Alex Hawke must face a global nightmare of epic proportions.

As this political crisis plays out, Russia gains a new leader. Not just a president, but a new tsar, a signal to the world that the old, imperial Russia is back and plans to have her day. And in America, a mysterious killer, known only as Happy the Baker, brutally murders an innocent family and literally flattens the small Midwestern town they once called home. Just a taste, according to the new tsar, of what will happen if America does not back down.

Onto this stage must step Alex Hawke, espionage agent extraordinaire and the only man, both Americans and the Brits agree, who can stop the absolute madness born and bred inside the modern police state of Vladimir Putin's "New Russia".

Take another thrill ride with Alex Hawke.
©2008 Brilliance Audio, Inc.; 2008 Ted Bell

Critic Reviews

"As always, Bell pulls out all the stops with terrific action scenes, fiendish murders, diabolical villains, dramatic rescues and all the cool weaponry the reader could possibly hope for." ( Publisher's Weekly)"I couldn't put it down." (Rush Limbaugh)

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What members say

Average Customer Ratings


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  • Overall

pure masculine entertainment

I have listened to all of the Alexander Hawke novels available from Audible. This book, like all in the series, is based upon a James Bond-like character who battles egomaniacal world-conquering bad guys. The books in this series are less believable than some, but if you like to escape through fantasy, the series is great. The futuristic technology is well-thought out, the characters are enjoyable, and the action is non-stop. This book can easily stand alone, but I'd recommend reading/listening to the books in chronological order. Even better than the story line is the narration. The narrator "performs" each book, and is the best I've ever listened to. I listen while taking long walks and in the car. If you can't enjoy far-fetched action-packed stories with macho men and beautiful women, don't bother with this book. If you like to escape into action and fantasy, you can't get a better deal in terms of hours of enjoyment for the dollars spent. I'd recommend this to anyone who enjoys James Bond, James Rollins' books, etc. Lots of fun.

11 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Jeff P.
  • Westlake, OH USA
  • 11-23-08

I love this series!

Now don't go getting all "high-brow" on us here guys. It is what it is, and what it is, is bloody marvelous! Sure the plot is fantastic and predictable, but so what? This is audio book drama at its finest. If you are looking for terrific entertainment to make that daily commute actually enjoyable, look no further. John Shea's reading is the best I have heard and Ted Bell can spin a yarn! I love this series!

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Lynn
  • Atlanta, GA, United States
  • 01-03-09

A good yarn!

This book would have ranked four stars if the characters had not been so stereotypical. The plot was unique and fast-moving, and tne reader was quite good. But it's not "great literature," but so what? It was a fun read.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Jaime
  • Saratoga, CA, USA
  • 11-08-08

predictable and repetitive

This book is very predictable, repetitive, and filled with cliches. Even if you like this genre of books would steer you away from this one. Overly long, wildly inconsistent, and outlandish plot with predictable villian and hero- it would be better if this was a comic book.

4 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

I'm ready for more

Another good Hawke book. I especially like the way the action and heroism is not relegated to a single person but shared amongst the various characters. The ending of this one was a bit of a surprise, because there was a comment made by a character that left me expecting a surprise action at the end, but nothing more was said of it and the "action" didn't occur. I'm wondering if Ted Bell is saving that for the next book.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Despite its charm, the work fails.

If you like spy works, this book will have its moments. I find the narration gifted, but the beach scene of Dr. No by Ian Flemming is clearly inspiration to at least the opening scene in this book. The similarities were so strong that I purchased the Dr. No audiobook to compare. Homage or plagiarism? I am still undecided on that count, but settling into the work, I let the question fade. No matter the intent, the opening here grabs attention. Some of the premises occaisionally strain credibility, but I was interested throughout until the very end when the work breaks. Several of the last thematic elements seem very forced. Add in free use of rough language and this work is clearly not for everyone.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

a comic book, not a novel

silly beyond belief! It's one thing to stretch reality for the sake of a story, it's another when brain death is a requirement for appreciating the plot. The author's previous books were along these lines so I probably should have known to pass on this one. It's a long book but I quit listening well before the end. Don't waste a precious credit on this loser.

5 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Excellent Performance

The story starts off a bit slow, in my opinion. This is not the best in the 'Hawke' series. The second half was excellent, and even stirred some feelings! Narrator John Shea was fantastic, as usual. This will not be my last 'Hawke' novel, but I hope the next one carries more intensity along the length of the story, rather than just the end.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Had potential, but disappointed

Would you try another book from Ted Bell and/or John Shea?


Would you ever listen to anything by Ted Bell again?


How did the narrator detract from the book?

He pauses in completely random and inappropriate places.

Any additional comments?

This book suffers from a lack of identity. At times I felt as though I were reading what I expected: a modern spy thriller, but those times were far too few. At other times the book vacillated between tawdry romance novel, 19th century melodrama, and Young Adult mystery. So much so that at one point I actually went back to the description to make sure I hadn't picked up a YA book without realizing it. The veering style was so distracting that it pulled me out of the story several times. When you're noticing the writing style, the writing style needs work. This wasn't helped by John Shea's odd habit of inserting pauses in completely inappropriate places where ... they just don't make sense.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Good book that grows on you

There are some instances where the author has taken liberties with history. The book is also a bit macabre in places. However, it grows on you and would probably be a good foundation for a movie.