Book review: Get Lenin

Get Lenin is set in World War II. Eva Molenaar is working for the British Secret Services, with the book detailing how she was recruited for them. It is learned that the German hierarchy are planning to steal the corpse of Lenin from the Russians to force them out of the war. Molenaar finds herself in with key German plotters and looks to prevent the corpse being stolen.

The first half of the book focuses on Molenaar’s history and how she was recruited for the British Secret Services. It also gives an overview of some of her earlier missions. The second half focuses on the German plot and Molenaar’s attempts to stop the theft. The pace quickens as the German plot develops and there is well-described action as the Germans look to succeed, whilst the Russian and British look to prevent a successful theft.

Rating (out of 5): ****

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Book review: The Kremlin Device

An SAS group under the leadership of Geordie Sharp is sent to Russia to help train Russian special forces in their conflict with organised crime. Before leaving, they are informed that they have an additional mission – to plant two nuclear devices in Russia. Orders are not to get involved in any mission undertaken by the Russians, but Sharp helps plan an operation. The first device is to be planted close to the Kremlin and is achieved relatively easily. The second device is to be planted next to the base that they are at, but the vehicle containing the weapon gets ambushed and hijacked when bringing the device back from the embassy in Moscow. Sharp then has to track down the device along with the two men taken with it.

There is plenty of action, starting with the raid by Russian special forces and culminating in tracking down the stolen nuclear bomb. The action is well-described and fast-paced. The situation the SAS team find themselves in deteriorates quickly and plans have to be adjusted at short-notice. This helps add pace to the story, with challenges appearing all the time.

Rating (out of 5): ****

Book review: These Final Hours

These Final Hours sees Colonel Neil Mattox and Chon Li Su in Pyongyang in the moments before America drops a hydrogen bomb on the city in retaliation for a nuclear bomb being exploded in America, which was retaliation for biological agents being released in North Korea to cause crop failure.

The book begins with the central two characters waiting for the American attack and then flashes back to how events had reached that stage. Much of the first half of the book focuses on the relationship between Mattox and Chon Li Su and the development of the ‘Three Horsemen’ plan to cause crop failure. Campbell is at his best describing action and with a fast-moving story, but the plot moves quite slowly in the first half and the breaks in time result in jumps. The second half of the book is full of action as American forces look to rescue some hostages from Pyongyang before the nuclear attack and it moves along at a great pace, with the action being well-described as always. Definitely a novel of two halves.

Rating (out of 5): ***

Book review: Vauclain’s Shield

Vauclain’s Shield sees a hardline Russian regime launch a massive and devastating first strike on America, with hundreds of missiles launched. However, Jonathan Vauclain and his assistant, Kerry Enloe, have developed a shield that stops everything moving at speed, including missiles. America survives without being hit by a single missile, resulting in political change in Russia, but Spetznez teams in America armed with nuclear weapons are put on alert by the hardline regime. Meanwhile, in America, the Joint Chief of Staff lost his son in the failed attack and plans his revenge against Russia, whilst Vauclain and Enloe are kidnapped by Russian agents.

Vauclain’s Shield is an excellent novel that moves along at a fantastic pace, but there is no skimping of detail either. There is some action, but the novel does not rely on this to make in an excellent book. The characters are realistic and believable – for example, Vauclain has doubts about his shield because as well as stopping missiles, it causes planes to crash, whilst the Joint Chief of Staff becomes driven by revenge on Russia. I have read other books by Campbell, but this is his best by quite a distance in my opinion. I cannot recommend this book enough and is the best that I have read this year.

Rating (out of 5): *****

Book review: Cobra Dane

Russia launches nuclear missiles at America and a Russian sleeper team takes over the Cobra Dane radar site on the remote island of Shemya so that America will receive no warning. The sleeper team is successful and America receives a massive first strike that it cannot answer. Except that it was a drill and America is unharmed. There is a power struggle in the Kremlin as some want the incident to be swept up to continue receiving aid, whilst hardliners want it to be known and a new Cold War to begin; America also wants the incident to be unreported. Engineer Frank Trask comes across various people on the island as the situation unfolds.

Cobra Dane is a fast-moving action-thriller. The plot unfolds and it is not known that the attack was actually a drill initially. Once the plot has been activated and both sides work out what has happened, the novel brings in a political aspect as well. Trask is an unlikely hero and when he is introduced, he is hungover. Both sides move forces to the area and the action that takes place is well described. Cobra Dane is a very enjoyable action-thriller and another triumph for John Campbell.

Rating (out of 5): ****

Book review: Raid on Truman

Raid on Truman is an action thriller set onboard an American carrier, the Truman. A North Korean special forces operation sees an attack on the vessel; it starts with a gas attack sending most of the crew to sleep, but Lieutenant Simmons and the engineering team avoid the gas and end up in a battle against the North Korean forces who plan on sailing the ship back to North Korea.

The backstory for the attack is set quickly and effectively, along with why the ship is close to the Korean peninsula. The action is fast-paced as the crew of the ship look to repel the attackers and is described in plenty of detail. The book is a genuine page turner as the battle on the ship takes twists and turns. An excellent book and very easy to recommend.

Rating (out of 5): *****

Book review: FAST: A Military Thriller

FAST: A Military Thriller starts with Captain Alex Coleman, a Marine, escorting weapons inspectors to a top secret biological research facility. When they reach the facility, they encounter a situation beyond their comprehension with everyone at the facility who has somehow remained alive in severe danger as mutant plants have been unleashed by a group of terrorists.

I think the best way of describing the book is by likening it to Die Hard as the action comes thick and fast (no pun intended) in a defined area, although Coleman does have help from his team (despite losing members throughout) and estranged wife who works at the facility and he is also battling the mutant plants as well as the terrorists. The novel moves at a very brisk pace as Coleman goes from one crisis to another. The action is described well the tension is kept throughout. A very readable action thriller that is helped by being in a confined area, with a good twist of a third force that presents a danger to both sides.

Rating (out of 5): *****