Code of Conduct by Brad Thor
Scott Harvath is back and the bad guys are even badder. Uber-rich eugenicists are out to trim the planetary population, especially those people they don’t think are genetically suited for continued life on the planet. Norseman takes names,and kills bad guys. It’s good solid adventure pulp, which is a good thing.
Filed under: American History, Global War on Islamofascism, History, US Military
Not A Good Day to Die by Sean Naylor
For Memorial Day, I’m going with my Monday Book pick for July 28, 2014.
This book tells the story of Operation Anaconda. It starts with the first planning stages in January 2002, through its conclusion in early March 2002. Up to this point, the war in Afghanistan had been conducted mainly by US Special Forces troops working with various Afghanistan groups and calling in US air assets. Anaconda was the first operation to involve large scale use of regular US forces. In this case elements of the 10th Mountain Division and the 101st Airborne Division. The first third of the book covers the planning and the background of the key players. This is fairly dry, but interesting and informative on why and how the fog of war effected the operation. Intelligence said that there were 200-250 Al Qaeda fighters in the intended AO (Area of Operation). The plan was for Afghan forces, with Special Forces ‘advisers’ to confront the enemy, with ‘escape routes’ to be blocked by Afghan forces and elements of the 10th Mountain and 101st Airborne. The motto, ‘no plan survives contact with the enemy’ is often referenced in various forms in this book. There were a lot more than 250 AQ fighters, later estimates put it at 800 or more. They opened up the US forces almost immediately after they got out their helicopters with small arms, heavy machine guns, mortars, and in some cases artillery. The US forces responded with much more accurate fire and air strikes. Lots and lots of air strikes. From the CIA’s armed Predator drones to B-52s dropping JDAM bombs. The most effective though were the Apache helicopters, which got close enough to see the enemy and pour firepower right were it was needed. The fighting continued much longer than expected, in areas were it wasn’t expected, from a well dug in, and well supplied enemy force. Many of which got too see Allah personally. A well written book about a major operation that dispelled the common notion in early 2002, that the war in Afghanistan was almost over.
Filed under: American History, Clintons, Global War on Islamofascism, History, Monday Book Pick, Politics
13 Hours: The Inside Account of What Really Happened In Benghazi by Mitchell Zuckoff and the Annex Security Team
Mitchell is a journalism professor at Boston University. This is not a political book. It is a detailed account of what happened on September 11, 2012 in Benghazi. It details what the security arrangement were, including the use of local militia groups, who was where during each of the multiple attacks, who died, who was wounded, and what the responses by the State Department were at the time.
The Emperor in the Cities of Danger [The Amazing Adventures of the Emperor #4] by Charles Jackson Lee II
This book is actually collection of stories. All of which take place in different major cities. Seattle and San Francisco for example. The tales of the Emperor are delightful pulp stories with a light hearted touch. The hero, one Charles Jackson Lee, is an actual superhero, with super powers. He goes by “The Emperor”, but his “Empire” consists mostly of himself, which is enough. 🙂 He doesn’t go for costumes or secret identities. He prefers a suit and tie, and makes movies when he isn’t fighting crime. I find these stories fun to read, and I enjoy the other pulp genre references. This includes the time he ran into Spencer and Hawk while at a party in Boston. If they made movies of these stories, Job Bob would say check ’em out.
Filed under: Baen Books, Monday Book Pick, Science Fiction
The Disinherited by Steve White
This is Steve White’s first solo novel. My first printing of this book has a 1993 copyright. It’s a straight up space opera, and fans of the classic SciFi RPG Traveller, and the closely related 2300AD game will some familiar concepts. It is also a first contact story. A group of Terrans, a mix of Americans and Russians working in the Asteroid Belt are contacted by beings from another star, with advanced technology. Both sides are more than a bit freaked out to find out they are both human. The alien humans have a problem, namely a very aggressive species of actual alien that makes up for a slightly lower tech base with a fracking lot of resources. The space faring Earth humans go to assist the other humans. They might as well, since the Earth had been poisoned by what Mr. White had correctly identified 23 years ago as the toxic ravings of the so called “social justice” movement, which has a more dangerous level of Antisemitism than it does today. Heroic stuff happens, and there is even a surprise twist at the end. Just to top this tale of adventure in deep space off, there is a mad scientist and his beautiful daughter.
Filed under: American History, Global War on Islamofascism, History, Monday Book Pick
Thomas Jefferson and the Tripoli Pirates: The Forgotten War That Changed American History by Brian Kilmeade and Don Yaeger
This book covers an important piece of American history, the first foreign war fought by the United States. The Barbary nations associated with the Ottoman Empire practiced piracy and enslaved captured crews of any Nation that could not defend its merchant fleet or could not afford the “tributes” the leaders of the Barbary Coast nations demanded as the price to not have ships, cargos, and crews captured and sold. It was President Jefferson (the third President) who decided that continuing to pay foreign nations who held US citizens for ransom (while forcing them to perform hard labor as slaves), and continuing to raid US flagged merchant vessels, was bad policy. President Jefferson persuaded Congress to fund new Naval construction and personnel to take the fight to the Barbary pirate nations. This well researched book details the diplomatic front, as well as the battles fought by the US Navy and Marines.
The Martian by Andy Weir
A fun SciFi adventure read. By adventure, I mean someone else in a huge amount of trouble, very far away from me. Quick summary, astronaut Mark Watney gets left on Mars when his team has to leave Mars in a large hurry because a really big sandstorm is about to tip over their ascent vehicle. He’s injured on the way to the ascent vehicle, knocked out with his bio monitor destroyed. So it looks like he’s dead to the rest of the team. Watney’s challenge is to survive long enough to be noticed, and then rescued. This reminded me of a Heinlein juvenile, which is a good thing. A fun and engaging read.
The Desert and the Blade by SM Stirling
The latest in his Change series. This trilogy is the coming of age story of the Crown Princess of Montveil and her companions, which includes the young Empress of Japan. The forces of evil were defeated in North America by the late High King, but won in what used to be North Korea. Evil doesn’t want Reiko to obtain her own magic sword (Orlaith already has her father’s magic sword), which is the conflict of the novel. Of course there are battles, including one bloody huge one against hordes of eaters under the sway of an evil sorcerer. A good read, in which characters introduced in the last novel are grown, and new allies are introduced. It also sets the stage for the next giant novel in the series.
Pastwatch: The Redemption of Christopher Columbus by Orson Scott Card
In honor of Columbus Day, today’s pick is an excellent alternate history novel.
Doc Savage: The Sinister Shadow by Kenneth Robeson and Lester Dent
As my gentle readers may know, I’m a big pulp fan, especially of the Doc Savage novels. Most written by Lester Dent, under the house name of Kenneth Robeson. Will Murray proves himself as the modern master of the classic pulp with this mash up with Doc Savage and The Shadow. While I’m a huge Doc fan, I’ve read enough Shadow novels to do more than just hum the tune. Murray skillfully blends the styles of Walter Gibson and Lester Dent in this book. Stir in an over the top villain, who is completely and utterly ruthless, as an evil villain of the era should be, you have a story that Smith & Street would have proudly published.