Sunday, November 22, 2015

The Children of the Nakba

Israel’s problems have always been existential.  In the late 1970’s Egyptian president, Anwar Sadat, grew tired of the expense of  constant warfare, and offered his hand to Israel to the outrage of Palestinian terror group, Fatah.  The group’s leader, who used the  nom de guerre Jihad, organized a raid on a prominent Tel Aviv hotel for the purpose of forcing Israel to release terrorist prisoners and striking terror in general.  One of the leaders of the suicide assault force was his mistress.  Due to the treachery of a hired skipper, the terrorists put ashore many miles north of their target.  To salvage at least part of their mission they hijack two busloads of Jewish tourists.  The force that the Israeli authorities cobbled together to rescue the hostages and prevent the terrorists from reaching Tel Aviv resembles nothing familiar to modern Israel.

David Calder’s massive knowledge of his topic plunges the reader into the thick of the action.  It is clear that Mr. Calder has walked the route taken by the ill-fated tour bus more than once and has laid hands on the gravestones of the victims.  Rarely have I read a novelized account of a real event that carried me into the scene so completely.  For historical insight, action and mayhem, don’t miss Children of the Nakba.

Price $6.99

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Monday, November 2, 2015

Smart Guns?

A segment I saw on 60 Minutes last night about "smart guns" that only fire for the registered owner really piqued my interest.  The guns may be smart, but the fools promoting them define stupid.  I can think of three scenarios to prove it.

1. You want to shoot up the school or a movie theater: you are the registered owner of the smart gun, so there is no problem.

2. You want to rob a liquor store: you are going to use a Saturday night special that is not registered to anyone, so there is no problem.

3. You want to defend yourself from the intruder in your home who just killed your husband: the smart gun is registered to your dead husband and it will not fire for you, so there is a problem.

Happy Day of the Dead

Monday, October 26, 2015

A Brother's Oath (Tales of Hengest and Horsa)

The scorned second son of a nobleman in fifth century Jute-land abandons his youth of wealth and comfort for the life of a sea raider, but he swears a blood oath before Woden that he will return and save his brother’s life as his brother had done for him.  Horsa, the younger brother finds wealth, power and adventure on the stormy northern sea. He also makes powerful enemies. Hengest’s hope of familial bliss is dashed when a powerful king enlists his loyalty, and by code of honor, he must leave his family to accompany the king on his quest to unite the tribes. Unbeknownst to him, Hengest makes a potent enemy as well.

A Brother’s Oath is great tale of swashbuckling in pagan times when monsters of Grendel’s ilk howled at night outside the mead halls.  I’ve been a fan of Hengest and Horsa since they were first introduced to me in Norman Davies’ history of the British Isles, aptly title The Isles.  These two have inspired tales the like of Beowulf and Hamlet.  Chris Thorndycroft has done a fine job of adding some new flesh to their bones in A Brother’s Oath.  It is a fun and easy read written in straightforward, if a touch too modern, prose. Mr. Thorndycroft also gives us a peek at the further adventures of those fifth century funsters with a preview of an upcoming sequel or two.

Price $3.99

87,780 words

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Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Hazards of War reviewed for Readers' Favorites

A downed airman, a family of French vintners, a company of Nazis racing south to repel a feared American invasion are driven together by a horrific storm in the opening pages of Hazards of War.  Captain Hans Tiedemann may be a career SS officer, but he is also a cultured and thoughtful man.  After commandeering the mansion of the Conti vineyards to secure a dry place to sleep for his men, the body of one of his junior officers is discovered in the wine cellar.  Rather than summarily executing the French family, Tiedemann is determined to identify the killer.  His skilled and experienced interrogation of the family members only leads him in contradictory circles, and his quest for the murderer is further complicated by the revelation that the Contis are harboring a British airman with a dubious story of how he came to be there.

Jonathan Paul Isaacs’ Hazards of War is a detective story set against the backdrop of World War II.  Hazards of War, primarily told from the German point of view, reveals Mr. Isaacs’ extraordinary knowledge of his subject.  The complex plot unfolds in clean and excellent prose through the voices of strong and well-developed characters, each with a personality faithful to his or her background.  It is a story that builds to several false climaxes, hesitates, then peels another layer from the onion and lets the tension mount.  It is a great tale with a pace that never falters. 
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Friday, September 11, 2015

Alien Eyes

It's now live in all eBook formats at  Smashwords and their affiliate retailers, and at Amazon for only $2.99.

Carrie Player is back and still fighting to save humanity from the alien plague  while she copes with her personal predicament.

As if worldwide infertility weren't bad enough, radical Islamists are detonating in California.  The CIA sends a different woman to confront that menace, a very different woman.

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Saturday, August 29, 2015

After Alien Affairs

Some people thought it wasn't fair to end Alien Affairs where I did.

Fear Not!

Alien Eyes is coming on September 11

(An Apocalyptic Date)

You can pre-order your copy now at Smashwords for only $1.99

Our Man in Charleston

Our man in Charleston; Britain’s Secret Agent in the Civil War South, is a long story about minor player.  Robert Bunch, consul to Charleston before and during the Civil War, worked tirelessly to convince Queen Victoria’s government that their crusade to stem the global slave trade would not be served by recognizing the Confederacy. This controversy was much exacerbated by the belligerence of Union Secretary of State, William Seward, toward Britain, and Britain’s addiction to slave grown cotton.
Bunch operated as a mole among Charleston’s elite convincing rabid, slaveholding secessionists that he was sympathetic to their cause, all the while sending dispatches to Washington and London condemning the Confederacy and warning of a resurgence of the African slave trade if the South were to gain recognition.

Mr. Dickey has done a remarkable job of unearthing what a pessimist might think are details lost to history. To learn in deep detail the viewpoint of the British government toward both sides during War Between the States is insightful and broadening. However, Mr. Dickey’s account is anything but objective. As so many do who consider the Civil War a just and necessary event, he refuses to acknowledge the right of the South to even have a point of view, or to concede that any factor other than slavery was responsible for the conflagration. Not once is there any concession to the frequent slaveholder who felt himself to be a prisoner of his slaves and wholeheartedly wished to free of them if he could only find a means to do so that did not lead to ruin and mayhem. Neither does the author ever mention the numerous slave owners who did voluntarily free their slaves despite the peril and popular disapproval. I cannot deny that I enjoyed reading Our Man in Charleston but the writer’s bias tarnishes its credibility to some degree. I want to take specific exception with the assertion: “[The slave trade] endured Africa and up into Arabia until 1877, officially, and along clandestine routes well into the twentieth century.” The slave trade, in fact, never ended, and exists abundantly today in Sudan, Nigeria, and other parts of the Islamic world.

Finally, as if I haven’t complained enough, I would like to point to a number of typos and formatting errors in the eBook edition. This is published by Crown Publishers, a division of Penguin Random House. One gets the impression that mainstream publishers consider eBooks to be their bastard children and don’t bother to look at them once the manuscript is converted.