Saturday, October 24, 2009

#42: The Apostle by Brad Thor

The U.S. president is blackmailed into approving a covert op in Afghanistan to rescue the daughter of a major donor; meanwhile, a secret service agent who overhears the blackmail works to find out the truth in Brad Thor's military thriller The Apostle.

I had never heard of Brad Thor or his series of books when I picked this audio book up on a whim from the shelf at the Morrison-Reeves Public Library. I was quickly hooked on the fast-paced story with realistic overtones. As the plot rocketed along I found Thor leaned more and more to the right, to the point of making Tom Clancy read like Al Franken. The president, a demonized version of the worst of Clinton and Obama, who rides to the presidency on a wave of support from "the mainstream media," was my first clue.

But I enjoyed the storytelling overall and understood, via Google, that Thor did quite a bit of legwork and research on Afghanistan before writing this outing, and it shows. Politics aside, there is enough rough bromance and gun fetishism to slake the bloodthirst of any military thriller fan. I will look for more of Brad Thor's work.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

#41: The Jewels of Aptor by Samuel R. Delany

In a post-apocalyptic world, a ragtag band of adventurers journeys to a mysterious island to secure a treasure and head off a potential enemy invasion in Samuel R. Delany's The Jewels of Aptor.

This is Delany's first published work, and bears a lot of the same motifs he explores, with more polish, in later classics like Nova and Babel-17; artists and misfits as protagonists, critical plot points featuring music and literature, psychedelic overtones. We also see the early emergence of some of his more curious obsessions, such as people wearing one shoe, rope belts, and sporting chewed fingernails.

But The Jewels of Aptor stands on its own merits, a brisk mix of high fantasy and sci-fi with some lyrical passages. A worthwhile read for fans of Delany (and I am one).

I nabbed this from, one half of an Ace Double with James White's Second Ending on the reverse.