This was the first book for quite a while that I was going to give up on. I still don’t know how I managed to get to the end! The story picks up one year after the events of The American. Ryan Kealey has become a loose cannon acting outside the law in Iraq supposedly under the control of the CIA. He starts by placing a Special Forces team in great jeopardy during an operation where he goes rogue and pretty much gets black carded by everyone from the FBI to the President.
His arch enemy is back, he falls head over heels in love again and Vanderveen tries to kill her. This time though he also tries to wipe out half the population of New York with a huge bomb in Times Square aimed at destroying a key Iraqi alliance and causing Civil War in Iraq as the US try to withdraw. Kealey battles against the system to save America, beat Vanderveen and rescue his love. Good plot but badly written.
I just found the whole thing way too complicated and far fetched. I couldn’t keep track of all the players, way too many names on both the Arab and US sides and a plot that switched around far too much.
However, what really ragged me was how stupid Kealey and Vanderveen were at times. They’re both highly trained special forces operatives who are supposedly at the top of their game. However, the author constantly inserted idiotic, emotional or novice errors in their decisions and behaviours that were simply wrong for their characters. Lazy writing to force the story to where he needed it to be. A typical example is when Kealey leaves Naomi handcuffed in the warehouse simply so Vanderveen can capture her again. Only that I was so close to the end I would have stopped here.
Some good bits that were eclipsed by the bad and although the next book is supposed to be much better I don’t know if I’ll bother.
I’m no fan of An Taoiseach Micheál Martin and I did think that the start of his speech was a bit corny. However, by the end I felt it was the best government speech I’ve heard for a long time. Maybe it was the message, maybe it was the nationalistic theme and maybe it was even the man himself but I have to admit I was a bit emotional by the end…
Spring is coming and I don’t know if I’ve ever looked forward to one as much as I’m looking forward to this one.
Humans are social beings and we Irish are more social than most.
A fascinating and insightful depiction of events that surrounded the period of time in Ireland known as The Arms Crisis and the subsequent Arms Trial. It also provides history of events in Northern Ireland as relationships between the Protestant majority and Catholic minority disintegrated leading to The Troubles.
Gun Plot deals with the decisions made by the government in the Republic of Ireland to provide support to the Catholic people in Northern Ireland. There was a possibility of invasion of the North by the army of the Republic to provide protection for Catholic areas. This was eventually watered down to providing arms for the Citizen Committees to provide defence against marauding Loyalist militias acting in collusion with the police.
This importation and provision of arms was done in secret to avoid the perception of a declaration of war by the Republic of Ireland towards Britain. Not all of government or all government departments were included in the decision and some were vehemently opposed to it as it was feared that the IRA would gain access to the weapons and use them to try and overthrow the government of the Republic. The subsequent revelation of the smuggled guns led to the Arms Trial in 1971 and the eventual aquittal of all the accused. One of these was Cabinet Minister Charles (Charlie) Haughey who went on to become a very controversial politician and eventually Taoiseach.
Gun Plot is composed of a 1hr TV documentary and a 9 part podcast. It provides a detailed analysis of the events and backs it up with current interviews of family and recordings of interviews of the main characters recorded in the 90s (all the people involved have now died). It also uses recordings from the actual trial which have not been heard before and is a first for any court case in Ireland. This is crucially important as the original typed transcripts have disappeared.
This period in Irish history is crucially important to the following years but has remained shrouded in mystery as to many of the details. Modern perceptions are very different to what is portrayed in this series and RTE have done a fantastic service in bringing it out in the open.
Second in Feist & Wurts’ wonderful epic trilogy — one of the most successful fantasy collaborations of all time THE EMPIRE TRILOGY: BOOK II Nobody knows how to play the Game of the Council better than Mara of the Acoma. But when you’re surrounded by deadly rivals intent on toppling you at every turn, you need to be the best simply to survive!
My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
I very much enjoyed returning to this series when I read the first installment back in February. It was hugely enjoyable but despite the 5star review I felt there was something missing and that I had enjoyed it more when I read it years ago. I put it down to a combination of rose-tinted glasses and changing tastes over the years.
However, picking up this book again made it clear to me that this series improves as you go through it. This is an epic story. The setting, the characters and the storylines are all amazing. It’s a perfect example of two authors collaborating to bring out the absolute best in each other.
No matter what I say I won’t be able to describe how good this book is or how much I enjoyed it. Just go and read it but make sure that you start at the beginning.
Magic and murder engulf the realm of Kelewan. Fierce warlords ignite a bitter blood feud to enslave the empire of Tsuranuanni. While in the opulent Imperial courts, assassins and spy-master plot cunning and devious intrigues against the rightful heir. Now Mara, a young, untested Ruling lady, is called upon to lead her people in a heroic struggle for survival. But first she must rally an army of rebel warriors, form a pact with the alien cho-ja, and marry the son of a hated enemy. Only then can Mara face her most dangerous foe of all–in his own impregnable stronghold. An epic tale of adventure and intrigue. Daughter of the Empire is fantasy of the highest order by two of the most talented writers in the field today.
My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
On my review of the final Liveship Traders book I said that it was one of the series of books that I read a long time ago but have always stuck with me. This is one of the others. I’d say this is definitely the third but possibly the fourth time I’ve read this brilliant series.
I’m a big fan of Feist and I’ve also enjoyed a couple of Wurts‘ books. This collaboration takes the best of both authors and combines them into a very original and fantastically complex story.
The story is completely set on the Tsurani world of Kelewan first introduced by Feist in the first Riftwar Saga Magician and runs at approximately the same timeline. The Tsurani live in a society dominated by honour and magic with families constantly in conflict in the political and deadly Game of the Council. The society and customs are clearly influenced by the eastern cultures of ancient Japan and China but with enough originality to make it feel alien.
This first book of the series builds the foundation of Mara as leader of one of the oldest families and how her life is turned upside down by the betrayal and murder of her father and brother. She is forced to turn her back on the religious life and take control of the family to prevent its total destruction by their enemies.
It is a refreshing change to see a strong female character at the heart of an old fantasy story. Feist has been criticised for his treatment of women during the Riftwar Saga but he very much overcomes that with the Empire Trilogy with obvious influences from Wurts.