Tag Archives: Intrigue

Book Review: “Fairhaven Rising”

(See all my Book Reviews and Author Interviews) – Author L. E. Modesitt, Jr. (https://www.lemodesittjr.com) published the novel “Fairhaven Rising” in 2021. This is the 22 volume in his ‘Saga of Recluce’ series. Mr. Modesitt has published more than 80 novels. 

I received an ARC of this novel through https://www.netgalley.com in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this novel as ‘R’ because it contains scenes of violence. The story continues the saga of Recluse. The primary character in this volume is White mage Taelya. 

Taelya is now 23 and is the adopted niece of Baltur. He was the main character in the previous three novels (The Mongrel MageOutcasts of Order, & The Mage-Fire War). Taelya has matured in the 16 years that elapsed since the story in the last volume. She is now an Undercaptain with the Fairhaven city guard. Under Baltur’s tutelage, she has also become a skilled mage. While not yet as strong as Baltur, she is powerful and is growing stronger. She is also developing as a leader. 

The Duchess of Montgren has agreed to ally with Certan. Fairhaven is part of Montgren. The agreement means that troops and mages must travel from Fairhaven. Taelya is one of the mages chosen to travel with the troops as a war mage. 

The trip takes several weeks on horseback through rugged country. They join with troops supplied by Montgren, then with those of Certan. Taelya practices her magic on the long journey. She also encourages the other three Fairhaven war mages to practice as well. Baltur has given the mages a specific mission. They are to support the Montgren troops but not put themselves in danger. As is so often the case the plans for battle do not survive first contact. The Fairhaven forces must survive a military confrontation. They must also deal with deceit and treachery. Will they be able to survive to return home? If they get home will it still be standing?

I thoroughly enjoyed the 19.5+ hours I spent reading this 455-page fantasy novel. This is the fifth novel by Modesitt that I have read. I found all to be very enjoyable. I like that he has moved the focus in this novel to a new generation of mages. You have the familiarity of continuing characters but also a fresh set of characters. The story includes excitement, conflict, and battle. It also includes political intrigue and a touch of romance. I like the chosen cover art. The scene is important to the plot. I give this novel a 5 out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).

Book Review: “The Export”

(See all my Book Reviews and Author Interviews) – Author J. K. Kelly (https://jkkelly.com/) published the novel “The Export” in 2021. This is the first novel in his “The Export” series. He has published six novels. I had the chance to interview the author in September of 2019. You can read that interview here

I received a copy of this novel from the author in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this novel as ‘R’ because it contains mature situations, mature language, and violence. The story spans the world. The primary character is FBI agent Matt Christopher. 

Christopher is a good agent. One who seeks the truth. That cost him earlier in his career when he doggedly pursued the wrong people. People with deep government connections. As a result, he is now limited to operations outside the US. He has become an export. Christopher has assisted various US government agencies as well as those of allies. In short, he has become a ‘fixer’. 

The story bounces around the world. Christopher gets involved in one deadly situation after another in his travels. He enters these challenges well prepared. He has training as an FBI agent. He had almost completed SEAL training before he was forced to transfer to the Army Rangers. He is ready for almost anything. At least that is what he thinks until his aunt, the US Director of National Intelligence, dies. 

I enjoyed the 5.5+ hours I spent reading this 383-page thriller. The book reminds me of the original James Bond novels by Ian Fleming – thrillers with lots of action.. The book is more of a collection of related short stories than a novel. The Christopher character moves from one thrilling and lethal situation to another. He is no stranger to violence and deals out at least as good as he receives. When pressed he is not above doling out justice himself. I like the chosen cover art. I give this novel a 3,8 (rounded up to a 4) out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).

Book Review: “The Last Tourist”

(See all my Book Reviews and Author Interviews) – Author Olen Steinhauer (https://www.olensteinhauer.com) published the novel “The Last Tourist” in 2020. Mr. Steinhauer has published a dozen novels. This is the fourth of his “Milo Weaver” novels.

I received an ARC of this novel through https://www.netgalley.com in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this novel as ‘R’ because it contains scenes of violence and mature language. The story is set in contemporary times. Most of the action takes place in Africa and Europe. The primary characters are Milo Weaver, CIA analyst Abdul Ghali, and operative Leticia Jones.

Weaver is head of ‘the Library’. That is a secret, independent intelligence organization operating out of the UN. He thought that the CIA-trained assassins, ‘The Tourists’, had been closed down for years. Now he is being pursued by what appears to be new ‘Tourist’ agents.

He must avoid them while investigating. He arranges for Ghali to meet him so that he can disclose all that he knows. Long time friend Jones is one who comes to his aid. The three must dodge the agents while they find out who is controlling the Tourists.

I enjoyed the 11.5 hours I spent reading this 384-page spy thriller. It was a little slow at times, but I did feel compelled to keep reading to see how it ended. While this novel is part of a series, it reads well on its own. The part of the novel from Abdul Ghali’s perspective is told in the first person. That sets that portion apart from the rest of the novel. I am not a fan of the cover art. It does not seem to have much to do with the story. I give this novel a 3.9 (rounded up to a 4) out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).

Book Review: “The Bells of Hell “

(See all my Book Reviews and Author Interviews) – Author Michael Kurland (http://www.michaelkurland.com) published the novel “The Bells of Hell ” in 2019. This is the first of his “A Welker & Saboy Thriller ” series. Mr. Kurland has published more than 25 novels.


I received an ARC of this novel through https://www.netgalley.com in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this novel as ‘R’ because it contains scenes of Violence and Mature Situations. The story is set in 1938. The primary characters are OSI Special Agent Jacob Welker and Lord & Lady Saboy. Welker is President Roosevelt’s own covert counter-intelligence agent. Lord Geoffrey Saboy is the British ‘cultural attache’. Both he and his wife have ties to British Intelligence.


Discovery of the body of a recent arrival from Germany involves Welker. This gets him on the trail of Nazi agents operating in New York City. Both of the Saboy’s are on missions of their own for the British government.
Lady Saboy openly flirts with most of the men she meets. She is not above using her looks, as well as her body, to discover hidden secrets. Before long, Welker has recruited the Saboy’s to assist in halting an assassination.


I thoroughly enjoyed the 8 hours I spent reading this 256-page WWII era mystery and spy thriller. I like the novels set in this period. I also liked the characters in this novel. They are a little different than those normally found. I look forward to reading more novels in this series. The cover art is a little plain, but it is eye-catching. I give this novel a 5 out of 5.


You can access more of my book reviews on my Blog ( https://johnpurvis.wordpress.com/blog/).


My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).


If you are interested in the WWII era of history, you may find these three pages of interest. 

  • The “World War II Sources” page is a constantly growing collection of more than 490 links to museums, memorials, websites, Facebook pages, Twitter feeds, and other sources with information on the World War II-era in history.
  • The “World War II Timeline” page expands almost daily and shows events leading up to WWII, as well as during the war. Events are broken down into the Pacific and European Theaters by date.
  • The About WWII page is a collection of links to posts that I have made over the years that are relevant to WWII.

Book Review: “Spitfire: A Livy Nash Mystery”

(See all my Book Reviews and Author Interviews) – Author M. L. Huie (https://www.mlhuie.com) published the novel “Spitfire: A Livy Nash Mystery” in 2020. This is the first book in his ‘Livy Nash Mystery’ series. He has published two novels in the series.


I received an ARC of this novel through https://www.netgalley.com in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this novel as ‘R’ because it contains scenes of Violence. The story is set in 1946 England and France. The primary character is Livy Nash.


Nash served in the SOE during the war. After serving in occupied France she finds herself at loose ends with the war over. The man she had come to love is now long dead at the hands of the Germans. She has a dead-end job working as a copy editor on a minor paper in London. She is depressed and is drinking too heavily.


Things begin to turn around when she is approached by Ian Fleming to join his intelligence unit. He knows of her wartime experience. He wants her to return to France posing as a newspaper reporter. Most importantly he wants her to help track down the man who killed her wartime lover.


I thoroughly enjoyed the 9 hours I spent reading this 266-page WWII era mystery. While this isn’t WWII exactly, it is tied to it. I like the character of Livy Nash. The plot has thrills, intrigue, and twists. I like the chosen cover art. I give this novel a 4.5 (rounded up to a 5) out of 5.


You can access more of my book reviews on my Blog ( https://johnpurvis.wordpress.com/blog/).


My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).


If you are interested in the WWII era of history, you may find these three pages of interest. 

  • The “World War II Sources” page is a constantly growing collection of more than 490 links to museums, memorials, websites, Facebook pages, Twitter feeds, and other sources with information on the World War II-era in history.
  • The “World War II Timeline” page expands almost daily and shows events leading up to WWII, as well as during the war. Events are broken down into the Pacific and European Theaters by date.
  • The About WWII page is a collection of links to posts that I have made over the years that are relevant to WWII.

Book Review: “The four Symbols”

(See all my Book Reviews and author Interviews) – Authors Eric Giacometti & Jacques Ravenne (http://www.giacometti-ravenne-polar.com) published the novel “The Four Symbols” in 2020. This is the first of their “Black Sun” series, and their fourth novel together.


I received an ARC of this novel through https://www.netgalley.com in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this novel as ‘R’ because it contains scenes of Violence. The story is set in pre-war Europe.


German Himmler has sent SS operatives of the Ahnenerbe in pursuit of objects of obscure supernatural powers. German SS Colonel Karl Weistort has led one team to the Himalayas and found one object. An old book alludes to three other items of power hidden around the world.


If they can find all these objects the Nazis feel assured of success in their war. Churchill doesn’t believe in these occult powers. On the other hand, he doesn’t want Germany to have any advantages.


British Commander Malorley, with Churchill’s approval, begins a search for the other objects. Mallorey heads to France where the next object is thought to be hidden. When he arrives he finds Weistort all ready at work with a team of archeologists.


Caught up with the Germans is the Frenchman Tristan Destrée. Destrée seems to be as much a criminal as he is knowledgeable about antiquities. Adding to the mix of characters are German archeologist Erika von Essling and Frenchwoman Laure d’Estillac. The dig site in France is on d’Estillac property. Essling is leading the excavation. All these characters come together with a bit of romance and French resistance fighters in a struggle for the object.


I enjoyed the 10.5 hours I spent reading this 384-page WWII era thriller. The novel is very reminiscent of the Indiana Jones movies. The novel starts slowly and it takes a while for the plot to develop. It did not feel like it had a smooth flow. That is perhaps due to translation from their native French. This is the third novel (The others were Shadow Ritual & The Lafayette Sword) of Giacometti and Ravenne that I have read. They have all been very enjoyable. I do like the selected cover art. I give this novel a 3.8 (rounded up to a 4) out of 5.


You can access more of my book reviews on my Blog ( https://johnpurvis.wordpress.com/blog/).


My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).


If you are interested in the WWII era of history, you may find these three pages of interest. 

  • The “World War II Sources” page is a constantly growing collection of more than 480 links to museums, memorials, websites, Facebook pages, Twitter feeds, and other sources with information on the World War II-era in history.
  • The “World War II Timeline” page expands almost daily and shows events leading up to WWII, as well as during the war. Events are broken down into the Pacific and European Theaters by date.
  • The About WWII page is a collection of links to posts that I have made over the years that are relevant to WWII.

Book Review: “The Annihilation Protocol”

(See all my Book Reviews and author Interviews) – Author Michael Laurence (https://michaellaurence.com) published the novel “The Annihilation Protocol” in 2020. This is the first of his “Extinction Agenda” series and his second novel.

I received an ARC of this novel through https://www.netgalley.com in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this novel as ‘R’ because it contains scenes of Violence. The story is set in the contemporary US. It picks up where the first novel in the series “The Extinction Agenda” leaves off.

FBI Special Agent James Mason and his childhood friends continue to combat the mysterious syndicate. This dark agency known as the Thirteen is out for world dominance. This time using lethal nerve gas.
Not only are Mason and his team facing the potential death of millions, but hems work around his new partner. He can’t be sure if he can trust her. Will be able to find the nerve gas and stop the next attack?

I thoroughly enjoyed the 16.5 hours I spent reading this 433-page thriller. This was a good follow-on thriller. I look forward to more in the series. I do like the selected cover art. I give this novel a 4.8 (rounded up to a 5) out of 5.

You can access more of my book reviews on my Blog ( https://johnpurvis.wordpress.com/blog/).

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).

Book Review: “Winston’s Spy: Carlton Chronicles”

(See all my Book Reviews and author Interviews) – Author Robert Webber published the novel “Winston’s Spy: Carlton Chronicles 1” in 2020. This appears to be Mr. Webber’s first novel. Read my interview with the author.


I received an ARC of this novel through https://www.netgalley.com in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this novel as ‘PG’ because it contains mild scenes of Violence and Mature Situations. The story is set 1939 as Europe sits on the brink of WWII.


Britain needs information about Russian interests in the pending war. The best place for them to sue out that information is in the countries of the Baltic. They have particular interest in Finland.


MI2 approaches Alex Carlton. Carlton’s mother is Russian nobility and fled due to the revolution. Carlton was born in Finland. He seems the perfect match for MI2’s assignment. As Carlton prepares for his assignment he is involved in both romance and intrigue.


I enjoyed the 9.5 hours I spent reading this 339-page WWII spy thriller. It did start off a little slow, and seemed to focus more than necessary on Carlton’s day-to-day life. The novel also seemed to end abruptly. That obviously is leading up to a second novel, but it left me with the feeling of the novel being unfinished. I will be looking for the next novel in the series. The cover art is OK, but it doesn’t do a lot to interest me in reading the book. I give this novel a 3.5 (rounded up to a 4) out of 5.


You can access more of my book reviews on my Blog ( https://johnpurvis.wordpress.com/blog/).


My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).


If you are interested in the WWII era of history, you may find these three pages of interest. 

  • The “World War II Sources” page is a constantly growing collection of more than 470 links to museums, memorials, websites, Facebook pages, Twitter feeds, and other sources with information on the World War II-era in history.
  • The “World War II Timeline” page expands almost daily and shows events leading up to WWII, as well as during the war. Events are broken down into the Pacific and European Theaters by date.
  • The About WWII page is a collection of links to posts that I have made over the years that are relevant to WWII.

Book Review: “Fight To Survive”

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(See all my Book Reviews) – Author Alan McDermott (http://alanmcdermottbooks.co.uk) published the novel “Fight to Survive” in 2019. He has published a dozen novels. This is the third of his “Eva Driscoll” thrillers.

I received an ARC of this novel through https://www.netgalley.com in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this novel as ‘R’ because it contains scenes of Violence. This novel continues the story of the ESO and former CIA agent Eva Driscoll.

Driscoll had thought she had escaped the ESO. She still wants to destroy them, but they pressure her into working for them. The ESO needs someone smuggled out of North Korea. As risky as this mission is she has little choice but to accept it.

What she finds in North Korea is something that she feels compelled to destroy – a prison that is selling organs. She compiles the ESO to back her so that she can free the prisoners in North Korea. Driscoll pulls most of her old team back together to strike inside of North Korea.

They not only want to free the captives, but they also need to find a way to free themselves from ESO surveillance. Driscoll knows she can’t trust the ESO. Will she and her team be able to pull off the rescue and escape the ESO?

I enjoyed the 5+ hours I spent reading this 262-page thriller. I thought that this was a good thriller. I have read all three of the ‘Eva Driscoll’ books (“Run and Hide” and “Seek and Destroy” were the other two). I have also read a couple of McDermott’s other novels (“Gray Salvation” and “Trojan”). I judge them all to be well written and enjoyable. The cover art is a little plain, but not bad. I give this novel a 4 out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).

Book Reviews: “Night of Camp David”

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(See all of my Book Reviews) – “Night of Camp David” eBook was published in 2018 (the original paper edition was published in 1965) and was written by Fletcher Knebel (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fletcher_Knebel). Mr. Knebel published a dozen novels.

I received an ARC of this novel through https://www.netgalley.com in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this novel as ‘G’. The story is set in Washington D.C. during the 60s. The primary character is the Junior Senator from Iowa, Jim MacVeagh.

MacVeagh is unexpectedly invited to Camp David one evening by the President. As the President begins talking with MacVeagh, the Senator begins to have misgivings about the sanity of the President. The Senator starts to investigate to prove to himself that the President is at risk.

Soon MacVeagh finds himself being scrutinized for mental problems. With a summit with the Russians looming ahead, MacVeagh and a few others he has allied with must find a way to keep the President from meeting with the Russians.

I thoroughly enjoyed the 8.5+ hours I spent reading this 352-page thriller. While this novel was written nearly 55 years ago, it still reads well. There are some references to pay phones and other things from the 60s, but the story holds together well. I read many of Knebel’s novels back in the 60s and enjoyed them. I give this novel a 4.5 (rounded up to a 5) out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).