This weekend, I'll be at the Maine Summer Book Festival: Books in Boothbay getting to visit with a horde of Maine authors (either from Maine or who write about Maine.) Among them are several of my favorites: Kate Flora (of the Thea Kozak series), Julia Spencer-Fleming (who doesn't love the Clare Ferrgusson/Russ Van Alstyne mysteries?), Paul Doiron (author of the Mike Bowditch series) and Gerry Boyle (of Portland city police procedural fame.) These of just a few of the over 50 authors who will be celebrating the reading life of Maine.
In that batch is also a debut author who lives pretty close to me, Bob Branco (sometimes known as Mr. Tutu) who will be signing copies of his piracy at sea thriller STRIKE FROM THE DEEP. As you know, I've refrained from trying to review this one, but will admit that I really really liked it and don't feel the least bit shy about recommending it to others. Bob has agreed to let me do a giveaway here on the blog. Leave a comment below to enter and we'll have a drawing on July 31st for one lucky winner. Be sure to leave me an email address to contact you. We're even opening this one to our friends in Canada!
Although I won't review it, here's what others have been saying:
“Strike From The Deep” is Maine author Bob Branco’s excellent novel about the high-stakes game of counter-piracy operations, the U.S. Navy and coalition naval forces versus pirate skiffs, mother ships and a ruthless conspiracy that threatens to upset the world’s energy markets.
This novel is a masterful tale of how the Navy works, how a ship operates at sea and how a captain and crew can singlehandedly make a positive difference in the fight against piracy. Stewart is a solid commanding officer with a well-trained crew on a desperate mission to protect international shipping.
This story is gripping, exciting and suspenseful, but the real strength is Branco’s accurate depiction of naval leadership, training, technology and cooperation in a hostile environment against a resourceful enemy. Great high-seas adventure.
....Don't kid yourself...it's a novel, but it's not ... a fanciful conceit. Branco took a very real and worsening concern for the shipping industry, piracy based in the lawless failed state of Somalia, and ratcheted up the stakes. I suspect it's only a matter of time before the book is seen as predictive instead of entertaining. If, that is, the events haven't already played out like this, only with more silencing oil poured over them.
When Jason Stewart, commanding the USS Farragut, is ordered to look into the status of a supertanker full of liquified natural gas en route from Nigeria to Mumbai, the plot kicks into high gear and doesn't stop. Alternating sections of the story are told from the major points of view...the pirates, the motivating malefactors, the loyal henchrats...seldom staying with us long enough for the reader to become inured to the action.
Back and forth, cat and mouse, and all told in a spare, clipped narrative voice that feels more like it's overheard than written for an audience, there's just barely time to get in the swing of Lt. (jg) Christine Johnson's duty shift before we're aboard a pirated vessel and experiencing the terror of a crewman about to die, and before that becomes squicky we're in a plush Moscow office listening to a very, very ruthless and unpleasant man give orders that appall the reader who rejects Ayn Rand as a moral guide.
Navy veteran Branco can be relied on for accuracy, and savvy world citizen Branco can be relied on to "get" the power dynamics of world-straddling military forces both pro and con. There is not a jot of doubt about who is doing wrong here, but there is not a hint of lazy, demonizing anticharacterization at work either. Everyone here has a motivation for acting in a particular way, and it's never simplistic.
under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
"Strike from the Deep" is a story about modern day pirates and how the world is trying to deal with them. While it IS fictional (at least so far), it is based on the author's real life experiences with the U.S. Navy in the Arabian Sea.
If you are looking for a book about buried treasure, this isn't it.
If you want to gain a better understanding of the pirates of Somalia - who they are, why they are pirates and how they are being manipulated by outsiders - this is the book to read.
If you want to get an inside look at the "modern" Navy - it's successes and failures - this is the book to read.
Or if you just want to spend a couple pleasant hours in a good book - this is the book to read.
So quit wasting your time here and go read it!
Here are the simple rules:
Leave a comment saying why you'd like to win. (I has nothing to do with who wins- the winner will be chosen by Random.org)
Include an email address.
Enter no later than 6pm EDT July 31, 2014.