Tag Archives: russia

Jasper Kent: The last Rite (review)

Jasper Kent

Jasper Kent's picture
UK (1968 – )

Jasper Kent was born in Worcestershire, England in 1968. He attended King Edward’s School, Birmingham and went on to study Natural Sciences at Trinity Hall, Cambridge, specialising in physics.

Jasper has spent almost twenty years working as a software engineer in the UK and in Europe, whilst also working on writing both fiction and music. In that time, he has produced the novels Twelve, Thirteen Years Later, Yours Etc., Mr Sunday and Sifr, as well as co-writing several musicals, including The Promised Land and Remember! Remember!

He currently lives in Brighton, with eight rats called Manjula, Lurleen, Alecto, Nyssa, Isolde, Polly, Messalina and Maude, and a person called Helen.

The Last Rite  (2014) 
(The fifth book in the Danilov Quintet series)

Book Description:

Buy the paperback

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Russia – 1917. Zmyeevich, king of all vampires, is dead.

History records that the great voordalak – known across Europe as Dracula – perished in 1893 beneath the ramparts of his own castle, deep in the mountains of Wallachia. In Russia, the Romanov tsars are free of the curse that has plagued their blood for two centuries.

But two decades later and Tsar Nicholas II faces a new threat – a threat from his own people. War has brought Russia to her knees and the people are hungry for change. Revolution is in the air.

Mihail Konstantinovich Danilov – who himself carries Romanov blood – welcomes the prospect of a new regime. Like his ancestors he once fought to save the Romanovs from the threat that Zmyeevich brought them. Fought and won. But now he sees no future for a Russia ruled by a tyrant. He is joined in the struggle by his uncle, Dmitry Alekseevich – a creature born in a different era, over a century before. For more than half his existence he has been a vampire, and yet he still harbours one very human desire; that his country should be free.

But the curse that infects the blood of the Romanovs cannot be so easily forgotten and Mihail soon discovers that it – that he – may become the means by which a terror once thought eradicated might be resurrected . . .

Review

The series so far has been thoroughly dark and entertaining, I had high hopes for the grand finale and what ever Jasper Kent had in store for us, as with the other four books in the series he did not disappoint.

Set during the Russian Revolution a period of dark change, intrigue, betrayal and want in a nation thoroughly torn by the rise of the Bolsheviks and the decline of the Tsarist empire. Jasper Kent continues in the same vein as the rest of the series and concentrates his story and his view on the immediate, those things that impact the everyday man rather than the momentous events of history, this I know has been a point of concern with some readers, but it works for me, the immediacy it creates is worth the loss of the wider history.

The central character of  Mihal Danilov, a man who has lived a life dedicated to the eradication of all vampire kind gives a fatalistic, very Russian outlook on his country  and his role in life. Sometimes that fatalistic view drags on the pace of the plot but the counter POV (which you will have to read the book to find out whom…or i fear i will give spoilers) provides the perfect foil and opposing view to drive the reader forward to an unexpected and thrilling conclusion.

By creating a mix of well researched Russian historical fiction with the authors own take on the  Vampire culture Jasper Kent has created something unique, and thoroughly enjoyable!

(Parm)

Series
Danilov Quintet
1. Twelve (2009)
2. Thirteen Years Later (2010)
3. The Third Section (2011)
4. The People’s Will (2013)
5. The Last Rite (2014)
aka The Last Oprichnik

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Filed under Historical Fiction, Jasper Kent, Supernatural

James Rollins: The Kill switch (review)

James Rollins

rollins

(James Czajkowski)
(1961 – )

aka James Clemens

James Rollins was born in Chicago, Illinois, is 1961. With his three brothers and three sisters, he was raised in the Midwest and rural Canada. He graduated with a doctorate in veterinary medicine from the University of Missouri and went on to establish his own veterinary practice in Sacramento, California. An amateur spelunker and a PADI-certified scuba enthusiast, he’ll often be found either underground or underwater.

Book Description

kill switch

Who does the U.S. government call upon when a mission requires perfect stealth, execution, and discretion? Meet the newest recruits to the expanding Sigma Force universe–former Army Ranger Tucker Wayne and his stalwart companion, Kane, a military working dog of exceptional abilities — in:

THE KILL SWITCH

The mission seems simple enough: extract a pharmaceutical magnate from Russian soil, a volatile man who holds the secret to a deadly bioweapon. But nothing is as it appears to be. A conspiracy of world-shattering scope unravels as Tucker and Kane struggle to keep one move ahead of their deadly enemies.

From the frozen steppes of Russia to the sun-blasted mountains of South Africa and Namibia, a biological threat millions of years in the making strikes out at the heart of America. All that stands in the way from a global apocalypse: one man and his dog. But can even Tucker and Kane thwart an ecological menace out of the ancient past to save the world’s future?

Review

Every Rollins is a thriller I look forward too, but when I saw this one I was slightly concerned, the Grant Blackwood link smacked of a James Patterson change of pace. I liked Patterson in the early years, but his “shared books” were always slightly wrong, not quite up to the class of the solo books.

The Kill Switch isn’t the best book i have read by Rollins, but it is a really fun, Interesting and powerful thriller, it still has the Sigma spin and drive. The co-authoring doesn’t diminish the writing, it feels like a Rollins through and through.

This book has an interesting POV style with the switch from Tucker our main character to his partner, a dog, in the form of Kane. The dogs POV could have been a really dodgy gimmick, but it think the authors get the tone just right, smart but still an animal. The plot has plenty of twists and turns and the feel of the co-locations of the book is impeccable. From Russia to South Africa, the author has clearly done his research, i froze in Russia, i cooked in Africa. One of the regular triumphs of a Rollins book is that every side character is complete and one you feel emotinally tied too, from traitors to sub drivers, to the brothers who assist Tucker in Africa all are so well written you could enjoy a book about any of them.

The wild apocalyptic plot as ever has the right amount of plausibility in it to add the fear factor and the “what if” niggling doubt. All in all it is a well rounded fun thriller, one that will delight Rollins fans.

Recommenced

(Parm)

Sigma Force

1. Sandstorm (2004)
2. Map of Bones (2005)
3. Black Order (2006)
4. The Judas Strain (2007)
5. The Last Oracle (2008)
6. The Doomsday Key (2009)
6.5. The Skeleton Key (2011)
7. The Devil Colony (2011)
7.5. Tracker (2012)
8. Bloodline (2012)
9. The Eye of God (2013)
10. The Sixth Extinction (2014)
The Doomsday Key / The Last Oracle (omnibus) (2011)
The Sigma Force Novels (omnibus) (2013)

SandstormMap of BonesBlack OrderThe Judas StrainThe Last OracleThe Doomsday KeyThe Skeleton KeyThe Devil ColonyTrackerBloodlineThe Eye of GodThe Sixth ExtinctionThe Doomsday Key / The Last OracleThe Sigma Force Novels


Jake Ransom

1. Jake Ransom and the Skull King’s Shadow (2009)
2. Jake Ransom and the Howling Sphinx (2010)

Jake Ransom and the Skull King's ShadowJake Ransom and the Howling Sphinx

Order of the Sanguines (with Rebecca Cantrell)
0.5. City of Screams (2012)
1. The Blood Gospel (2013)
1.5. Blood Brothers (2013)
2. Innocent Blood (2013)

City of ScreamsThe Blood GospelBlood BrothersInnocent Blood

 

Tucker Wayne (with Grant Blackwood)
1. The Kill Switch
 (2014)

The Kill Switch

 

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Filed under Crime, James Rollins, Thrillers, Uncategorized