Category > Adventure fiction

Private India

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 Private India, James Patterson, Ashwin Sanghi, book reviewThis is a continuation of the Private series, one of James Patterson’s most popular worldwide which is based around the exclusive detective agency, Private, headed by Jack Morgan with offices across the globe. In India, the setting is Mumbai, the centre of Bollywood glamour, glitz and finance which results in a collaboration between Ashwin Sanghi and the world’s No 1 thriller writer.

Ashwin Sanghi has been making headlines with books like Chanakya’s Chant and The Krishna Key. Given the fact that the thriller focuses on whisky swilling Santosh Wagh who is the Indian head of Private India, it is obvious that Sanghi’s contribution is vital to pad out the Mumbai crime details and to provide information that Patterson would not have had access to without in depth research. And one is tempted to give Sanghi credit for the Durga connection in the novel, which is probably not too presumptuous an assumption.

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The Book of Blood and Shadow

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The Book of Blood and Shadow by  Robin Wasserman, book reviewThe Book of Blood and Shadow by Robin Wasserman is something of a historical fantasy adventure story. Opening in present day New England, it follows Nora Kane as she attempts to solve the mystery of the Book, revealed through letters written in 16th century Prague and supposedly about the creation of the Lumen Dei, a device allowing communication with god. She and her friend Chris and her boyfriend Max have been working on translation of these documents, and now Chris has been murdered, his girlfriend Adriane appears to have lost her mind, and Max has disappeared.

Right from the outset of The Book of Blood and Shadow, we know the major events and driving force of the story – Chris’s death, Adriane’s inability to tell what happened, and Max’s disappearance.


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Micro

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Micro - Michael Crichton, Richard Preston, book reviewSince my early teens I have been a fan of Michael Crichton – most of my adult reading life. I have always looked forward to his novels, and was deeply saddened to hear of his death in 2008. Yet since then there have been two new Crichton novels published – Pirate Latitudes, discovered completed on his computer after his death, and the recent Micro, which was around a third completed and has been finished by Richard Preston, based on Crichton’s outline and notes.

Prior to his death, Crichton described Micro as “an adventure story like Jurassic Park”. Set in Hawaii, it follows six graduate students as they visit a company called Nanogen which is promising them jobs using advanced technology and research methods.

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The Delta

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The Delta - Tony Park, book reviewHaving thoroughly enjoyed Tony Park’s recent novel, African Dawn, I added his other novels to my wishlist – all of them set in Africa and sounding similarly exciting. He hasn’t written that many novels, so I decided to ration them so as to make the enjoyment of them last. My first purchase was The Delta.

Sonja is a mercenary, originally from Namibia, a former soldier who now works for a security firm, basically soldiers or assassins for hire. After a botched assassination attempt in Zimbabwe, she hides in the Okavango Delta in Botswana, a place she knows well.


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The Litigators

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The Litigators , John Grisham, book reviewA few years ago I was an avid reader of John Grisham books but recently seemed to lose interest in them. However, when I saw his latest book, The Litigators, it caught my interest and I decided to give him another go. I am really glad that I did as I really enjoyed this book and it has rekindled my interest in John Grisham so much so that he is now firmly back on my ‘must read’ list!

The Litigators seems to be a typical John Grisham legal thriller and courtroom drama where the little man takes on the big guns. In this case the little men are the ’boutique’ firm of Finley and Figg and the big guns are a pharmaceutical company called Arrick which has a drug on the market called Krayoxx that is designed to reduce cholesterol levels in overweight people.


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African Dawn

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African Dawn, Tony Park, book reviewBrowsing through new releases by publisher Quercus, a bright and bold cover caught my eye – African Dawn by Tony Park. The saying goes that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but this cover certainly served its purpose in attracting my attention to the blurb, which sounded like a novel I would enjoy.

Moving beyond that eye-catching cover design, African Dawn is a novel set in Zimbabwe. Opening in 1959, in what was then Rhodesia, it progresses through the bush war before skipping a few decades to present day Zimbabwe. The tagline says “A country in turmoil, a family torn apart”, but the novel actually concerns three families, whose lives become entwined through choice and accident. The Bryants have a farm where they care for black rhinos and are making a positive contribution to conservation efforts. It is around this farm that much of the action centres.


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On Stranger Tides

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On Stranger Tides by Tim Powers, book reviewOn Stranger Tides by Tim Powers is the novel upon which the latest Pirates of the Caribbean film is based. Originally published in 2006, it has recently been re-released in paperback and Kindle format to coincide with the film’s release. As a fan of the movie series, when I happened upon Powers’ novel available for pre-order at a bargain price in the recent Kindle sale, I decided to give it a go.

Set in the 1700s, the main character is John Chandagnac, who is travelling from England to the Caribbean to track down his uncle, who conned his way into inheriting Chandagnac’s grandfathers whole estate, by claiming his brother, Chandagnac’s father, was dead. Aboard the ship, Chandagnac meets the lovely Beth Hurwood, but their friendship is interrupted by pirates – who force Chandagnac to join them or die.


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For Your Eyes Only

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For Your Eyes Only (Paperback) By (author) Ian Fleming‘The destruction of a Russian hideout at SHAPE headquarters near Paris; the planned assassination of a Cuban thug in America; the tracking of a heroin ring from Rome to Venice and beyond; for Bond it is just routine. For anyone else – certain death.’

For Your Eyes Only is a collection of five James Bond short stories by Ian Fleming and was first published in 1960. Fleming had originally written the stories for a proposed series of Bond television adventures to be broadcast by CBS but that never transpired in the end. Two of the stories here were first published by Cosmopolitan and Playboy respectively. Although regarded to be an interesting offshoot from his series of Bond novels, For You Eyes Only is not generally regarded to be one of the strongest examples of Fleming’s work.

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Death on the Ice

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Death on the Ice  By Robert RyanIn 1917, as the First World War raged across Europe, artist Kathleen Scott was busy fighting her own battles for the memory of her late husband, Captain Robert Falcon Scott. Following the tragic events of the Terra Nova expedition to the Antarctic, one-time popular hero Scott is widely treated as a man of poor judgement and foresight, who lost the pole to Norway, who brought disaster on those depending on him, and Kathleen seeks desperately to publish a new book that will re-establish him as a great man. In this vision she partially succeeded, with him becoming a hero once more before it later become fashionable in a more sceptical age to condemn the man, instead raising Sir Ernest Shackleton – who never reached the pole but also never lost a man – to the position of Antarctic hero in his place.

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You Only Live Twice

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You Only Live Twice By Ian Fleming‘Shattered by the murder of his wife at the hands of Ernst Stavro Blofeld, James Bond has gone to pieces as an agent. M gives him one last chance, sending him to Japan for a near-impossible mission. There Bond is trained in the fighting arts of Ninja warriors and sent to infiltrate a mysterious fortress known as the ‘Castle of Death’ – a place of nightmares where a lethal poisoned garden destroys all who go there – and awakens an old, terrifying enemy. You Only Live Twice sees Bond’s final encounter with an insane mastermind – one that could mean the end for 007…’

You Only Live Twice is the 12th of thirteen James Bond novels written by Ian Fleming and the last to be published (in 1964) while he was alive. The novel follows on from the shocking events of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service – a book you should probably read before you pick up this one.

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Shaken and not stirred, please!

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Dr No by Ian Fleming‘A British Secret Service agent and his secretary have gone missing from their base in Kingston. M thinks this will be an easy case for 007, still recovering from his near fatal encounter with a Russian agent. Arriving in Jamaica to investigate, Bond learns that the reclusive Dr Julius No may be behind their disappearance. And when Bond and the exotic Honeychile Rider are caught trespassing on Dr No’s secluded island, they discover he has diabolical plans afoot that could threaten international security.’

Doctor No is the sixth book in the series of James Bond adventures written by Ian Fleming and was originally published in 1958. The story starts with 007 still recovering from the events of From Russia with Love and his poisoning at the hands of Rosa Klebb. M discovers that Bond has been given tetrodotoxin, a poison that derives from a type of Japanese fish. A combination of Bond’s friend Rene Mathis and a doctor well versed in poisons manage to save our hero and, despite a grim diagnosis, he recovers.

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The Golden Era of the Longbow

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HarlequinBernard Cornwell will doubtless be best known amongst you for the best selling Sharpe series of novels – you know, the ones that Sean Bean starred in as a Napoleonic era soldier when they were adapted for TV a few years back. Following on from this great success, he has now turned his talents towards a trilogy of novels (The Grail Quest) set during the 14th century (the other two books being “Vagabond” and “Heretic”); this review is on the first of the series, “Harlequin”. You may find it surprising that I am reading these at all, given their reputation as being very much “bloke’s books”; Cornwell’s preference for writing about warfare while relishing every grisly detail of it does seem to appeal to an almost exclusively male readership, I must admit. My interest in these books, though, comes from the fact that their central character is an English longbow archer. So what? Well, having previously dabbled in archery myself, I do have something of an interest in the history of the bow, and as anyone with even a passing interest in Medieval arms will know, the 14th century is the golden era of the longbow.

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