Continuing directly after the events in Vince Flynn’s novel The Third Option is the sequel Separation of Power. This is the third book in Flynn’s popular Mitch Rapp series.
As we left off in The Third Option, Thomas Stanfield, the former director of the CIA has just passed away and Dr. Irene Kennedy is expected to take his position. She just needs to make it through the Senate’s confirmation process and not everybody wants her to succeed. Mitch Rapp is still angry about being double-crossed in Germany and he’s on his personal mission of finding out who really wanted him dead. His only link is an Italian woman named Donatella Rahn, Rapp’s old flame from previous times. Meanwhile, Senator Hank Clark, the man who ordered Rapp’s death, is continuing with his sinister plan of taking down Dr. Kennedy’s credibility along with that of President Hayes. He hopes to emerge as a shining knight and use that fame to launch a bid for the presidency.
Separation of Power begins with a corrupt billionaire named Mark Ellis flying down to the Bahamas to meet Senator Hank Clark on his private island. We learn that Ellis gained much of his wealth by using some of the CIA’s spying techniques to learn what kind of deals businesses were planning on making. The only problem is that Dr. Irene Kennedy, the woman expected to take over as Director of the CIA, is not going to allow for those spying techniques to continue, and that’ll cut off Ellis’ primary source of inside information. Senator Clark informs Ellis that he has a plan to destroy Dr. Kennedy and things in the CIA will basically return to normal.
Mitch Rapp, meanwhile, is still considering ending his career with the CIA. Now that he’s in a serious relationship with Anna Reilly, a news reporter he saved during the terrorist attack in the White House in Transfer of Power, he and Anna both want him out of the field and going on those dangerous assassination missions. Dr. Kennedy has offered him a desk job that would keep him close to those old assignments but safe within the walls of the CIA, but Mitch is unsure if he really wants to take the job or not. He’s not used to taking orders from people all day or dealing with office politics.
When Mitch meets with Dr. Kennedy about the new job, she shows Mitch photos that the security cameras took of Donatella Rahn when she assassinated Peter Cameron in his office. Dr. Kennedy knows the woman’s identification and is prepared to send a CIA team to Donatella’s home in Italy to bring the woman back here for questioning. Not wanting the CIA to know about his past with Donatella, Mitch volunteers to travel to Italy to interrogate Donatella and find out who hired the woman to kill Peter Cameron. Besides, the trip to Italy would help Mitch and Anna’s relationship and give Mitch a chance to ask the woman to marry him.
Meanwhile, Senator Clark wants to sever the connection with Donatella Rahn. He hires Rahn’s handler in the Mossad, a man named Ben Freidman, and orders her assassination. After ordering her death, Senator Clark and Congressman Albert Rudin work together on Clark’s plan to destroy Dr. Kennedy’s credibility. Read more…
Set deep in the heart of Africa, Michael Crichton’s Congo takes readers on a thrill ride on a race for rare diamonds.
The only problems are that not only is the team of explorers racing rival teams from other countries, but none of the previous expeditions to that part of the Congo have made it back alive. But when it comes to accessing a mineral so rare and beneficial that your corporation will make billions of dollars in profits, those are accepted risks that go along with the mission.
That’s basically the premise for Michael Crichton’s thriller, Congo.
Congo begins as an expedition is hunting a remote part of the African rain forest for exclusive minerals known as Type IIb diamonds.
The expedition from Earth Resource Technology Services, Inc. (ERTS) out of Houston, Texas. The company specializes in sending expeditions to the toughest places on the planet, all while using satellites and the most advanced technology to assist with the missions.
One of the expedition’s members sets up the video camera and begins the process of achieving a satellite lock with the headquarters in Houston. Halfway around the world, Dr. Karen Ross is at ERTS and monitoring the current expedition in the Congo region of Africa. The workers note the satellite lock from the expedition’s camera, but when the company responds, nobody on the expedition acknowledges the transmission. Dr. Ross is able to active the camera remotely, and what she and the other technicians at ERTS witness is something out of a nightmare.
The video feed shows the expedition’s camp in a state of disaster. The tents are destroyed. There’s a body of one of the expedition members lying on the ground, his head smashed in a gruesome manner. Perhaps the most disturbing sight of all is what appears to be a gorilla walking around the campsite. It knocks over the camera and ends the video transmission.
Dr. Ross alerts ERTS CEO R. B. Travis of the disaster in the Congo. Travis makes a decision to withhold news of the disaster for thirty days and to send another expedition into the Congo. Those Type IIb diamonds are worth to much to simply withdraw and allow other companies access to the area. They MUST be the first team to locate and make a claim for the land containing the diamonds. Read more…
Published back in 1975, Iceberg is the second of the successful Dirk Pitt series of books written by Clive Cussler.
Iceberg opens with a Coast Guard aircraft flying a routine iceberg patrol flight over the frigid waters of the northern Atlantic Ocean. The spotters notice that one of the icebergs has a peculiar look to it, so the pilots bring the aircraft down for a closer look. Upon closer examination they see that entombed within the massive floating piece of ice is a ship.
How the ship got there is anybody’s guess. The crew of the Coast Guard aircraft drop a red dye pack on the iceberg and report their discovery to their superiors.
Admiral James Sandecker, director of NUMA (National Underwater and Marine Agency), dispatches Dirk Pitt and Dr. Bill Hunnewell on a top-secret mission to the iceberg. Pitt is forced to lie to the commander of a Coast Guard ship, claiming that the ship entombed in the iceberg is a Soviet spy ship disguised as a fishing trawler. The Coast Guard commander cooperates, and Pitt and Hunnewell use the Coast Guard ship as a launching point to fly their helicopter to the iceberg.
In reality, Pitt and Hunnewell are searching for a luxury yacht named the Lax. The Lax was on its way on a top-secret mission to the White House when it mysteriously disappeared a year ago.
Finding the iceberg at sea turned out to be more of a challenge. Pitt and Hunnewell had the coordinates and knew roughly where to find the iceberg when factoring in the currents and wind direction. The problem was that the iceberg seemingly vanished. The two went on a wild goose chase before realizing that somebody beat them to the iceberg and removed the red dye from the ice.
Pitt finally landed his helicopter on the correct iceberg, and after entering the ship, they found a chilling discovery. Not only had somebody beat them there, but the entire inside of the ship was charred. A fire of some sort killed the entire crew. The odd thing was that the crew was still seated in their normal positions, as if none of them bothered to stand up and fight the fire.
It’s later revealed that the owner of the Lax, a billionaire named Kristjan Fyrie, had developed a new underwater probe. This probe was said to be able to scan the ocean floor from the surface and detect what minerals and metals were just beneath the floor, all without the need to drill. This type of equipment is priceless to drilling companies. Read more…
To the CIA he was known as John Clark, a highly skilled former Navy SEAL who could think on his feet and deliver results.
Before being part of the CIA, John Clark was John Terrence Kelly, a former Navy soldier who used his underwater demolition skills to earn a living. One day fate would place a young, drug-addicted woman in his path, and that would lead to the ending of John Kelly’s civilian life.
This is his story.
Without Remorse, a thriller written by Tom Clancy, begins in November of 1970.
John Kelly has been hired to help destroy an oil rig that was heavily damaged from Hurricane Camille in August of 1969. It was more cost efficient to sink the structure and have it form an artificial reef versus hauling it out of the water and repairing it. The underwater demolition is successful and that job goes well.
Unfortunately for John Kelly, that same day his young wife, Patricia, is driving through town when an out-of-control semi-truck smashes into her car, killing her on impact. What makes her death even more devastating is that she was pregnant with the couple’s first child.
That same month, Air Force Colonel Robin Zacharias is piloting his F-105G Thunderchief strike aircraft over North Vietnam during a Wild Weasel mission. It’s a dangerous game where pilots actively engage the deadly SAM missiles that have shot down so many American aircraft. A freak missile shot destroys his aircraft and Zacharias is forced to parachute into enemy territory. He’s quickly captured and taken away as a prisoner.
Fast forward to May of next year.
John Kelly is driving through Baltimore when he spots a young woman on the side of the road. She’s clearly in need of help, and John decides that he could use the companionship. He stops his jeep and allows the twenty-year-old woman to join him. She’s glad to be on the road, just as long as it takes her out of town.
John’s companion is Pamela Madden, a rather skinny young lady who could use a good home along with some decent meals. She gladly joins him onto his boat, a cruiser named Springer, and goes along on an excursion to his island home in Chesapeake Bay. It also turns out that Pam is very affectionate towards her new friend, and the two of them quickly develop an intimate and close relationship.
A storm rapidly approaches as they’re cruising the water, and John Kelly is forced to anchor the boat for the night near a sandbar. The next morning John answers the distress call to two boaters in need of rescue. Their boat is damaged and John gives them a tow to his island home so he can further analyze the damage to their boat. Read more…
Following a few months after the events of Transfer of Power, the first Vince Flynn book starring his hero, Mitch Rapp, is the book, The Third Option.
The book’s title refers to a process of handing an international problem. The first option is to use diplomacy. If that fails the second option is to use a military strike. If the military cannot be used for one reason or another, then solving the problem comes down to the third option, an assassination. The assassin leaves behind no traces of his or her origin, allowing the attacking country deniability.
The Third Option begins in northern Germany as Mitch Rapp is on an assassination assignment with the CIA. His target is the wealthy Count Heinrich Hagenmiller V, an arms dealer who supplies weapons to Saddam Hussein and other enemies of the United States. Don’t worry about why Germany continues to protect Hagenmiller or what Saddam Hussein thinks about the matter. The Third Option jumps right into the assassination and its aftermath.
Rapp checks out the exterior of Hagenmiller’s mansion and then meets up with his two mission companions, known to him as Tom and Jane Hoffman. Rapp doesn’t like being in a team with them and is suspicious of their actions, but the three of them plan the assassination of the wealthy count. Rapp and Jane Hoffman pose as Germany’s federal agents and talk their way into the mansion. While in a private room, Rapp kills Hagenmiller while Jane takes out one of his bodyguards. Before he can stop her, Jane shoots Rapp twice in the chest, leaving him for dead. Without bothering to fire a final round into his head, Jane flees from the mansion and she and Tom make their getaway.
Fortunately, Mitch Rapp was wearing body armor and was only temporarily knocked out during his attack. Rapp is forced to set fire to the room to cover his DNA evidence, and then he easily flees from the burning mansion. Rapp steals a car, gets to an airport, and kidnaps a taxi driver to take him to another city in Germany. From there Mitch Rapp uses his fake IDs to easily make his way back to the United States. As you can guess, at this point Mitch Rapp is upset and doesn’t know who to trust in the government.
Back in the U.S., we’re re-introduced to Anna Reilly, the hot female reporter that Mitch Rapp rescued from terrorists in Transfer of Power. She’s waiting for Mitch to return home so that he can finally quit working with the CIA and try to live a normal life. She begins to grow worries as it takes longer and longer for Mitch to make contact with her again. Read more…
Today I finished reading W.E.B. Griffin‘s military novel, Brotherhood of War: The Captains.
This is the second installment in this series of books.
In Brotherhood of War: The Lieutenants, W.E.B. Griffin introduced us to four young soldiers at the end of hostilities in World War 2. Three of the soldiers, Lowell, Felter, and MacMillan, had all been promoted to the rank of captain by the end of the book. Parker was still a first lieutenant at the end of the first book.
Brotherhood of War: The Captains begins on June 25, 1950, when North Korea launched an all-out attack on South Korea, the opening phase of the Korean War.
Captain Rudolph “Mac” MacMillan is stationed near Seoul, Korea, when he receives an urgent order to rescue three American officers stranded on a peninsula. They’re under attack from mortars and in danger of being captured or killed. MacMillan makes a flight across the country and makes a hair-raising landing, picks up the officers, and quickly takes off while under fire from light machine guns.
MacMillan is then sent back to the U.S. to keep him out of harms way, much to his disgust. MacMillan is a warrior but also a recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor. The army doesn’t want one of those top award winners to get killed in combat. It would be extremely bad for moral and the media.
Over in Paris, France, Captain Craig Lowell and his young German wife, Isle, and infant son, Peter-Paul, are spending some time getting to know Isle’s father, Peter Paul von Greiffenberg, a former high ranking German officer during the Second World War. They’re later visited by Captain Sanford “Sandy” Felter and his wife, Sharon. While visiting, Felter informs Lowell that there’s now a war taking place in Korea. After already serving his country and being wounded when seeing further combat while in Greece, Lowell is not interested in fighting in another war.
Lowell would later be visiting relatives back in the U.S. when he receives his notice about being deployed to serve in Korea. He was initially assigned to be in the infantry where his combat experience in Greece would be beneficial to the American soldiers in Korea. Lowell protests this as he sees it as being part of a slaughter as right now the American and South Korean forces were still on the run. A talk with Lieutenant Colonel Robert Bellman goes a long way. Bellman is able to use his connections to get Lowell transferred to a tank company as he was recently trained (and excelled) in a tank training school at Fort Knox.
First Lieutenant Philip Sheridan Parker VI is the commander of a tank platoon stationed in Japan when the war begins in Korea. His men are a bit rowdy, especially when they receive notice about immediate departure for Korea, but Parker has exceptional leadership skills and keeps them in line.
After arriving in Korea, Parker’s platoon is quickly sent to assist a tank company that was under attack by the North Korean army. When he arrives at the position, he’s shocked to see the American soldiers running away from the battle line like cowards, including the unit’s lieutenant. Parker uses his pistol to shoot and kill the coward lieutenant, an event that would later come back to haunt him. The retreating men stop and are forced to join Parker’s men. They form a solid defensive line and successfully hold it from further attacks. Not long after that Parker is promoted to the rank of captain. Read more…
Last night I finished reading Robert A. Heinlein’s classic tale of outer space military adventure, Starship Troopers.
This was actually my second time reading this book. Back in 1998, Starship Troopers was one of many books that I read as a freshman in college. This was just after the movie was released and I heard that the book was on the Marine Corps’ reading list (it’s not on today’s Marine Corps reading list). Since I was still pursuing my goal of becoming an officer in the military, I gave it a shot.
For one reason or another, I didn’t like Starship Troopers the first time I read the book. Perhaps it was because the book was nothing like the movie. Maybe I just didn’t pay attention and understand the characters and events in the book. Whatever the reason, I finished the book, donated it to a local used books store, and returned to reading other topics.
Just recently I checked Starship Troopers out of the local library and gave the book a second chance. Let me tell you, this second reading of the story was a world of difference from the first reading.
As you probably know from the movie (and its direct-to-video sequels and brief TV series), Starship Troopers is a science fiction novel set in the future. The story primarily follows the actions of Juan “Johnnie” Rico, a recruit who graduates from high school, joins the elite Mobile Infantry, and progresses through the rankings while fighting in an interstellar battle known simply as The Bug War.
Starship Troopers begins with Juan Rico making a combat drop and conducting a military raid against a race of beings known as “Skinnies.” He’s serving on a space corvette called the Rodger Young, and Rico’s Mobile Infantry unit is nicknamed “Rasczak’s Roughnecks” (named after their commander, Lieutenant Rasczak). Rico uses his advanced mobility suit to advance through the target area and wipe out many Skinnies. After the brief outburst of combat, Rico and his fellow troopers are retrieved by a smaller craft. The only casualty is a trooper known as Dizzy Flores.
The story then flashes back to Rico’s high school graduation and his decision to enlist in Federal Service, much to the objection of his father. His father wants Rico to attend Harvard and then continue in the family’s business. We meet Carl, Rico’s smart friend, and Carmencita Ibanez, their flirty classmate from school. They all sign up for Federal Service and take the examinations to see where they best fit in the organization. Ibanez heads off to flight school to become a space pilot, Carl gets his wish and leaves for Research and Development Corps, and Rico is accepted in the Mobile Infantry. Read more…
Last night I finished reading J.R.R. Tolkien’s adventure story, The Hobbit.
First published back in 1937, The Hobbit tells the tale of Bilbo Baggins and how he inadvertently went on the greatest adventure of his life. The Hobbit is the predecessor to the epic The Lord of the Rings trilogy.
The Hobbit begins with the introduction of Bilbo Baggins, a hobbit who lives in The Hill and is very fond of his home. One day Bilbo is visited by a wizard named Gandalf. Although Bilbo doesn’t recognize Galdalf, the wizard claims to know all about Bilbo. Gandalf tricks Bilbo into hosting a party for a group of people and carves a secret mark into his front door.
That night the party guests arrive, much to Bilbo’s disliking. The guests turn out to be a band of dwarves led by Thorin Oakenshield, descendent of the King under the Mountain. After eating nearly all of Bilbo’s food the dwarves reveal that Gandalf selected Bilbo to be the last member of their special group. The dwarves are setting out on a quest to rid the Lonely Mountain from Smaug the dragon and reclaim the vast amount of treasure. Bilbo was recruited for his stealth and burglar skills, something that will prove very useful on their quest to the Lonely Mountain.
The group begins their quest and a few days later they encounter three trolls in the woods. The trolls eventually capture Bilbo and all the dwarves and plan on eating them. Bilbo successfully stalls the trolls until Gandalf arrives at sunrise. The rays of the rising sun strike the trolls, turning all three of them into stone.
After the encounter with the trolls the group arrives at Rivendell and meets with Elrond, leader of the elves. Elrond examines Thorin’s map and is able to translate the ancient language. They learn that there’s a secret entrance on the side of the Lonely Mountain only visible under certain conditions. This side entrance is what the dwarves want to use to sneak into the Lonely Mountain and defeat Smaug.
After Rivendell the group enters the Misty Mountains. They take shelter in a cave only to be captured by goblins. Bilbo is separated from the group and he gets lost deep within the mountain. Bilbo eventually discovers a magical ring that can make him invisible. That ring’s former owner, a creature known as Gollum, tries to attack Bilbo, but Bilbo fends him off. Bilbo challenges Gollum to a riddle contest where if Bilbo wins, then Gollum will have to lead him out of the mountain. Bilbo eventually wins the contest but Gollum tries to attack him anyway. Bilbo uses the ring to make himself invisible and then follows Gollum through the tunnels and out of the mountain. Read more…
W.E.B. Griffin’s Brotherhood of War novels tell the stories of U.S. Army officers as they tackle problems both on an off the battlefields.
The Lieutenants, book number one in the Brotherhood of War series, begins in February of 1943 as the Allies are still fighting the Germans in northern Africa. Major Robert Bellmon is leading a few tanks when they’re ambushed by the Germans. All of his men are killed and Major Bellmon is thrown clear of the action. He plays dead but the German soldiers don’t buy it. Bellmon is captured and taken to a German prisoner-of-war camp in Poland.
Robert Bellmon’s father-in-law, Major General Peterson Waterford, is powerless to conduct a search in hostile territory for the missing soldier. The general is aware that Bellmon may have been taken prisoner, but the odds of seeing his son-in-law alive again were incredibly small.
While Major Bellmon is being held captive in Poland, the POW camp commander, Generalleutant Graf Peter Paul von Greiffenberg, treats Bellmon favorably and allows the prison certain liberties. Robert Bellmon would later discover that General Waterford and General von Greiffenberg have been friends since before World War 2. While a prisoner, Robert Bellmon is used by the Germans and taken to a site where Russian troops massacred Polish army officers. Bellmon sees the horrific sights and allows his photograph to be taken as proof of him seeing the truth. Bellmon agrees to take the evidence of the massacre to his superiors and bring the Russian troops responsible for it to justice.
While in captivity, Robert Bellmon receives news that just before he was captured he was promoted to lieutenant colonel. General von Greiffenberg allows the promotion to proceed inside of the prison camp, and Bellmon is even awarded the correct American rank to wear on his uniform.
Back in the United States, a U.S. military academy cadet in West Point convinces his superiors to let him drop out and enlist in the army. Sanford Felter believes that his linguistics skills can help army intelligence gather information about the German troops and other assets over in Europe. Because Felter has already completed a few years at the academy and the army needs linguistics experts, Felter is commissioned as a second lieutenant and sent overseas.
The war in Europe has progressed and the Allies and Russians are closing the trap on Germany. By 1945 most of the combat against Germany is finished. Read more…
In the spring of 2011, I read Vince Flynn’s political thriller, Protect and Defend.
I’ve heard of the author and the book’s plot sounded interesting. After reading the book, I thought it was so cheesy and stupid that I practically swore off the author. It felt like one cliché after another. However, for some reason still unknown to me, I recently picked up one of Flynn’s earlier books in the series and gave it a fair shot.
And this book was much better.
Today I finished reading Transfer of Power, the first book in Vince Flynn’s Mitch Rapp series. Why did I resume this series with Flynn’s second book and his his first one? Well, I haven’t found the first book in my usual places . . . yet.
The book begins with series hero and special agent, Mitch Rapp, conducting a raid with Navy SEALs. Out in Iran they kill a few terrorists and capture Fara Harut, a terrorist leader. Special forces helicopters safely extract the commandos and their prisoner while enemies from all angles fire upon the troops.
In Washington, D.C., terrorist leader Rafique Aziz is in the final stages of preparing an elaborate attack upon the mother of all targets. After a long time planning, things are finally in place. Aziz is cleverly disguised as an important fundraiser for the current political party in control of the government. He’s in the Oval Office and preparing to meet President Robert Hayes.
While this is taking place, Mitch Rapp is flying back to Washington with Fara Harut. The CIA is already in the process of interrogating the prisoner, and they quickly learn of a devastating attack that’s about to take place. Sure enough, terrorists are planning on attacking the White House that very day.
And then the terrorists strike.
Rafique Aziz’s men receive an electronic signal and launch their attack upon the White House. One of the terrorist snipes at Secret Service agents while other terrorists use explosives to breach into a secret tunnel that leads to a White House basement. They successfully make their way into the most secure of buildings, killing everybody who stands in their way. Just as Aziz is about to attack President Hayes, Secret Service agents receive an alert from the CIA, and they rush into the Oval Office and hurry the president downstairs to his secure bunker. Read more…