Wednesday, December 5, 2012

From Terry Brooks and Clive Cussler come more exciting titles

The Tombs (Fargo Adventure Series #4) by Clive Cussler and Thomas Perry

Kirkus Reviews –

Cussler and company (The Kingdom, 2011, etc.) send treasure hunters extraordinaire, Sam and Remi Fargo, onto the windy steppes of the ancient Hun empire searching for the tomb of the Scourge of God. The Fargos are volunteering temporarily as excavators at a Paleo-Indian village site under shallow water off Grand Isle, La. The dive's interrupted by a hasty call from famed German archaeologist, Albrecht Fischer. Fischer believes he's unearthed a major find near Szeged, Hungary. The Fargos head off to Europe to help. Then, Fischer is kidnapped and taken to Szeged, only to be rescued by a Fargo-led amateur commando raid on a pharmaceutical complex owned by Arpad Bakor, a Hungarian who claims Attila as an ancestor. Bakor believes Fischer's find may be the location of Attila's legendary lost tomb. And so it goes, Sam and Remi, assisted by character-actor players who always appear at the right time, follow a series of Attila-supplied scavenger-hunt clues to the location of his triple-coffin burial site. The dialogue is sophisticated rom-com snappy, and there's much mention of the right vintages and exotic gourmet dining and five-star hotels. Best of all are dozens of Wow! historical factoids about Attila and concurrent history. The settings are exotic: a vineyard south of Budapest; the confluence of the Po and Mincio rivers in Italy, the point where Attila turned away from Rome; then Châlons-en-Champagne, the furthermost western point of the Hun's dominion; Transylvania; Kazakhstan, and finally, Rome's Catacombs of Domitillia. There the story should end, but coming free with all the interesting Hun history is a multi-chapter shootout involving Hungarian, French and Russian bad guys, each of whom wanted a share of the tomb but will settle for revenge. Even with a plot hole or two, a tacked-on narrative thread about a corporate treasure-hunting enterprise and a believability buy in--the Fargo's bottomless money bucket--Cussler fans can expect more than a few hours of page-turning action.

Trickster's Point (Cork O'Connor Series #12) by William Kent Krueger

Kirkus Reviews –

The murder of a rising political star who just happens to be one of his oldest friends lands Minnesota private eye Corcoran O'Connor in the hot seat. Even though he wanted to go for help, Cork agreed to sit with Jubal Little for three hours after their backwoods deer hunt was cut short when his old schoolmate was shot by an arrow that closely resembled the arrows Cork made for himself. He listened to Jubal ramble about his romance with their mutual friend Winona Crane, his foreshortened run for the Senate and the mysterious Rhiannon, whose fate was "the worst sin of all." Now all of Cork's friends and former colleagues in the Tamarack County sheriff's office suspect Cork of shooting Jubal. Even Jubal assumed that Cork had fired the fatal arrow. Determined to clear himself, Cork makes the rounds of alternative suspects--Jubal's politically connected widow, Camilla, and her family, Ojibwe activist Isaiah Broom, logger Buzz Bigby, whose bullying son, Donner, met a bad end after one last run-in with Jubal many years ago--with all the finesse of a bull in a china shop, though he can't catch eternal wild-child Winona, who's taken a powder once again. More revealingly, Krueger interleaves the present-day story with a series of flashbacks that trace the winding steps in Cork's relationship with his old friend, whose charm, warmth, wide range of skills and iron ambition made him easy to like but hard to love. The climactic revelations, if they aren't exactly surprising, are as logical as they are poignant. Krueger's 12th (Northwest Angle, 2011, etc.) is alternately muscular and tender, and maybe a tad synthetic--middling for this fine series.

Wards of Faerie: The Dark Legacy of Shannara by Terry Brooks

Kirkus Reviews –

Prolific epic-fantasy novelist Brooks (The Measure of the Magic, 2011, etc.) unveils the first in his latest Shannara trilogy. The story takes place 100 years after the events of Brooks' 2005 Shannara novel, Straken, and follows an Elven Druid, Aphenglow Elessedil, on her quest to recover the remaining legendary Elfstones. After discovering a reference to the magical stones in an ancient diary, she becomes determined to find them, in large part so that they don't fall into the wrong hands. She travels to the Druid fortress Paranor, where she enlists the help of her Elven relation, the powerful Ard Rhys Khyber Elessedil. The Ard Rhys consults the shade of the Druid Allanon, who advises her to gather a group to aid in the quest, including twins Railing and Redden Ohmsford, who wield the magic of the wishsong. Meanwhile, Drust Chazhul, the treacherous new prime minister of the technology-favoring Federation, uses a fleet of airships in a plan to destroy the magic-using Druids once and for all. After having spent the past several years publishing prequels to the original Shannara trilogy, Brooks here tackles a continuation of the vast series chronology. Fans will not be disappointed, for while this first installment primarily serves to introduce the main plot and players, it doesn't skimp on the action scenes, which crackle as always, including a climactic confrontation between airships and magic. And although Brooks has written some 20 books in the Shannara saga to date--the first, The Sword of Shannara, was published 35 years ago--he shows little sign of slowing his pace; the second book in this trilogy is planned for publication in 2013. An auspicious beginning to Brooks' latest Shannara tale.

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