Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Foreign Body - Book Review

Foreign Body
by Robin Cook
G P Putnam & Sons 2008

I have not read a Robin Cook novel for quite some time. So when I saw the newest novel on the library shelf, I grabbed it.

There is a new area of tourism that is rapidly increasing. It's called Medical Tourism and it involves patients from the western countries (mostly USA) who fly to New Delhi in India, to have medical procedures done in private hospitals. These patients pay out of pocket for these procedures either because they cannot afford the costs of the health insurance required back in USA, or more likely their insurance company has denied their request for the specific procedure.

This is a very common problem in USA. Usually these procedures are elective. They are not medically necessary to save the patients life right now, but if the problem is left alone, the patient will eventually die.

Jennifer Hernandez is a 4th year medical stduent at UCLA University Medical school in Los Angeles. She was raised by her grandmother Maria Hernandez in New York City.

One day Jenifer hears a news item on CNN that an American woman, Maria Hermandez from Queens, NYC, has died in a private hospital in New Delhi after having a hip replacement operation. Jennier calls her fsther to find out where her grandmother is. She is shocked when he tells her that Maria went to India to get the operation done.

Jennifer contacts the company ion Chicago that set up the visit. Its called Foriegn Medical Solutions. They tell Jennifer that her grandmother is doing fine and that she is resting well as eating. They give Jennifer the phoen number of the Queen Victoria Hosiptal in Delhi. Jennifer cals them and is eventually connected with the voicemail of her grandmother's case officer Kashmira Varini. The hoapital operator also assures Jennifer that her mother is recovering nicely.

A few hours later, Kashmiri Varini calls and the nightmare begins. Yes Maria is dead. How would Jennifer (as next of kin) like the body to be dealt with? Embalming or Cremation? They need an answer today. Jennifer demures and tells Varini that she does not want anything done to the body until she gets there. She has the right to say goodbye. So Jennifer takes time off from her residency and flies to India.

Every time Jennifer speaks to Varini on her cell phone, she is pushed for an answer as to what to do with the body. Jennifer wants an autopsy. The Indians refuse to allow it. It can only be embalming or cremation.

As a medical student Jennifer begins to wonder what they are covering up. Maria's death certificate said it was a heart attack. Jenifer knows that Maria was given a clean bill of health at UCLA just the month before and that her heart was in excellent condition.

Just before Jennifer flies to India there is another news item on CNN. Another american has died in the same private hospital. He too was listed as having an heart attack. When Jennifer arrives in India there is a third item on CNN - a third American with a heart problem has died. This time he was a young man - just 40 years old with a wife and two young children. Patients from the USA are now cancelling their operations in large numbers.

Jennifer begins asking questions and they hospital staff refuse to answer them, They continue to push Jennifer to answer their question. Embalming or Cremation?

Jennifer knows that if either are done, no autopsy is possible. Jennifer calls on her mentor Laurie Montgomery back in the USA to come and help. Laurie and her husband Jack are both forensic pathologists and they do autopsies as a matter of routine.

When Laurie and Jack arrive, they must sneak Marias body out of the hospital cafeteria cooler (where it has been kept) and take it to another private hospital with autopsy equipment. There Jack and Laurie discover that Maria died of too much anasthesia. They take photographs.

Upon their return to Jennifers hotel, they discover that Jennifer has been kidnapped. The kidnappers are those who have been killing the patients and they want to know what caused Jennifer to become suspicious so that that she refused to allow embalming or cremation.

Jennifer escapes with the help of one of the nurses - specifically the one who killed her grandmother. The killers are arrested and Veena (the nurse who killed Maria) is allowed to come to UCLA on a medical scholarship to attend UCLA medical school.

This was an excellent novel. As always Cook has done his tresearch well. I could not stop reading it and I read it all in 24 hours - allowing for sleeping and eating.

Airframe - Book Review

by Michael Crichton
Alfred A. Knopf 1996

This is one of Crichton's early novels, but one that I had not read. I learnt a lot about how airplanes are made. In California there is a plane manufacturer called Norton. They make planes. Mostly they make planes to order, but the orders are slowly dropping off. If the company does not get a big sale soon, it will be out of business.

Norton does not make engines. Engines are made by other companies and installed as per the customers requirements. Norton only makes the frame of the plane.

Transpacific flights is a small charter flight company that flies between Hong Kong and Los Angeles. On this flight the plane was a Norton plane. Towards the end of the flight the slats were somehow deployed and the plane started doing funny things. 3 passengers died in flight and a crew member died a few days later. 56 passengers were injured.

KC is a Quality assurance VP at Norton. It is her job to find out what happened on the flight and she has only one week to do it in. She must also keep things under wraps.

The novel covers that one week that KC has been given. She must deal with the managers, the president of Norton, the unions, the media, the staff who who are testing the plane to see what went wrong and also the crew of the plane.

The media start off with the assumption that the plane was faulty. KC assumes that the plane was not at fault but that the pilots were at fault. She eventually discovers that it was not the first officer who was injured, but the pilot. His cap had been found at the back of the plane. What was he doing out of his seat at the time of the incident? And if he was at the back of the plane, who was in the pilots seat?

It is an exciting novel and at the end there is an unexpected twist that lays the blame on the crew and not on the plane. The media were planning to go with the story that the plane itself was at fault. KC threatens to sue them if they publish that story or any other about Norton.


Friday, September 25, 2009

The Exodus Quest - Book Review

The Exodus Quest
By Will Adams
Harper Collins 2008

Two years ago I read and reviewed a novel called The Alexandria Link. It posited a theory that after the Jews left egypt (the exodus) they settled down in Arabia, and NOT in Palestine. This book puts all the facts together and comes up with a logical and credible account of how and why the exodus happened.

In this book, Daniel Knox, an archaeologist,makes a discovery that will redefine jewish history.

The Essenes or Gnostics were thought to have been just one sect and made up of only one group located at Qumran. Daniel discovers proof that there were other gnostic groups in Egypt at the same time. Two of these gnostic groups in Egypt were the Therapeutae and the Carpocratians. The large jars found in Qumran that held the Dead Sea Scrolls had only ever been found at Qumran.

Daniel found the lid to one of these jars in Alexandria. It came from an archeological site near Lake Mariut, just outside of Alexandria. When Danile tries to investigate, he is blocked at every turn and refused permission to search their site.

Daniel continues to investigate, and eventually finds the proof of the jewish origins. But not before he is shot at, loses his memory, is abducted, recovers his memory and is almost drowned. Finally he finds the tomb of the real Adam. Ahkenaten's tomb.

Excerpt of the Exodus Quest

You've got to understand that the Bible isn't historical. It's a collection of folk-tales designed to convince the Jews that they had broght their Babylonian exile and the destruction of the Temple upon themselves. Thats why so many of the stories follow the same basic moral path.

Man makes covenant with god. Man breaks covenant. God punishes man.

Exactly. One explanation is that person or people who put the bible together, actively looked for stories that fit this pattern. But there is another possibility.

Take Adam and Eve for example. The first man and woman right? But even the Bible tacitly admits that there were other humans around. Cain was branded for killing Abel, so that others would know not to harm him. Which others? He married and had a son named Henoch who founded a city, which you cant exactly do if you are alone in the world. So maybe Adam and Eve weren't the first humans being in a biological sense, but only in a spiritual sense. That is, maybe they were the first to understand the true nature of God.

Ahkenaten and Nefertiti.

Think about it. Here you are living in Amarna. It's your paradise, your Eden, your promised land. You are certain that nothing can go wrong because this is the home on earth of the one true god, and you are under his protection.

But something does go wrong. You're expelled, forced to flee in the night, then to leave Egypt forever. How is this possible? Surely the only explanation is that you made your god angry in some way, failed him in some manner. You vow to never let that happen again. You renew your covenant and in return, God leads your people to a new Amarna, a new promised land. But not in Egypt this time. In Canaan.

Decades pass, centuries. The people of the exodus splinter into different tribes. Each tribe has their own identity, their own stories, but they all have the common bond of flight from Egypt. They pass their stories down from father to son to grandson, down through the generations. Hundreds of years later all the stories are blurred and unrecognizable from what really happened.

Then the Babylonians arrive. (600 BC) They defeat the Israelites in battle, they destroy the temple and take the Israelites into exile.

Once again the Israelites wonder how such a calamity could have overtaken Gods chosen people. They look to their heritage, gather all the different traditions together and begin weaving them into a single narrative about Adam and Eve, Abraham. Issac, Moses and Joseph, all those journys back and forth between Egypt and Canaan. But in fact these stories were not about numerous patriarchs, and ages and places at all. They are all about one patriarch, one age, one place. They are about Akhenaten and Amarna.

SOURCE - Michael Rivero from What Really Happened

Reliable archaeologists, after examining excavations that contain pottery shards and buildings, concluded that archaeological finds don't substantiate the biblical history of Jerusalem and its importance during the eras of a united Jewish kingdom under David and Solomon.

Egypt is literally littered with the ruins of the ancient temples and palaces of her rulers. As much as has been found, it is estimated that only 1/3 of Egypt's archeological wonders have been uncovered to date. A newly discovered temple was uncovered while digging a sewer line, and a cache of finely preserved mummies was literally stumbled over by a cow in a pasture.

Iraq's ancient heritage was enshrined in its ancient sites and museum. As a result of the war, many of those sites have been damaged or destroyed. Part of the ancient city or Ur now lies underneath a US air base runway. The treasures of the museum have only partly been recovered. The treasures from the looted archaeological sites have been scattered to the world.

Likewise, Iran has a rich archaeological heritage marking its place in history.

All of this wealth of archaeological treasures must of course annoy Israel. We are raised from birth with Old Testament tales of the greatness of the ancient Israelites, of the powerful kingdoms of Solomon and David and the first temple. Yet Israel, while rich in antiquities, is almost totally devoid of artifacts from this supposedly glorious time in her history. The existence of the fabled First Temple was supported with just two artifacts, a carved staff ornament in the shape of a pomegranate and the Jehoash tablet. Both of these artifacts have been exposed as frauds. We are told that once there was a magnificent temple on that hill, but it "all went away." The wonders emerging from the soil of Egypt, Iraq, and Iran serve as a constant reminder that ancient buildings of such a scale as we are told the First Temple was simply do not vanish without a trace.

There is considerable reason to suspect that the tales told in the Old Testament are just that; tales. The Bible is not science, it is the collected stories of a primitive tribal people reminding each other how important they are. And like fishermen talking about the one that got away, or Ramses with his temple carvings of the did-not-really-happen victory over the Hittites at Kadesh, the writers of the ancient testaments assumed that the people they were telling stories to had no way to verify the claims for themselves. So "embellishment" was a low-risk activity.

We do know from the available archaeological evidence that the Exodus probably actually happened to the Hyksos, not the Israelites. We know that the story of Moses is suspect because no Egyptian princess would hide a Hebrew child inside Pharaoh's household, then give the kid a Hebrew name

"Moses" is actually an Egyptian title meaning "Prince" and is included in the names of many Pharaoh's names such as Tut-Moses, Ah-Moses, Ra-Moses (Ramses) etc.

Likewise, the story of Masada may be less than accurate. The remains found on the mountain were buried with pig bones, something no proper Jewish funeral would tolerate, which suggests that the bodies found and venerated as heroes of ancient Judea were actually those of dead Roman Soldiers.

But a good story is a good story and the writers of the ancient texts were probably not thinking much further into the future than the guys who pen the "Celebrity dates space alien" stories you see at supermarket checkout lines. The fact that the celebrity is a real person does not prove the space alien exists. It's just a story.

Given enough time, even a simple story written in jest can take on a life of its own. Scientology began as a bet between two science fiction writers; look how wide spread that has become in just a short time.

But, over time, entire religions with attendant wealth and power structures have been built on the premise that these old testament stories really happened exactly as written. And today, here in the 21st century world, science has started to catch up with these ancient legends and call many of them into doubt.

So, for a nation that justifies its existence on the writings of the Torah, the plethora of sites and artifacts confirming the ancient histories of Egypt, Iraq, Iran, etc. etc. etc. must seem a dire political threat for a nation whose own ancient history seems to have left little if any traces at all.

Sources on Akhenaten

Ancient Egypt online


Akhenaten the Heretic

Akhenaten and Nefertiti


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Archimedes Codex - Book wins award

The first winner of the Neumann Prize of the British Society for the
History of Mathematics (BSHM) has been announced at the Society’s Autumn
meeting, held in London on Saturday 19th September.

The prize, which will be awarded every two years, is for the best book
in the history of mathematics which is aimed at a broad audience. This
year’s winner is The Archimedes Codex by Reviel Netz and William
Noel. It tells both of the life and work of one of the ancient world’s
greatest mathematicians, Archimedes of Syracuse (/c./ 287 BC – /c./ 212
BC), and of the hi-tech scientific detective work surrounding the
rediscovery of a 10th century copy of some of Archimedes’ work which had
been hidden beneath the text of a 13th century prayer book.

The book weaves together a number of themes, including the importance
and creativity of early mathematics, the production and transmission of
ancient manuscripts, and the big science which surrounds the analysis of
such documents.

Professor Martin Campbell-Kelly of the University of Warwick, and chair
of the judging panel for the Neumann Prize, said that “although the
panel was faced with a strong shortlist of books /The Archimedes Codex,
/with its readable combination of history and modern scientific
sleuthing, emerged as a clear winner.”

Reviel Netz, Professor of Classics at Stanford University in California,
and Dr William Noel Curator of Manuscripts and Rare Books from The
Walters Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland were delighted with the award.
Speaking on behalf of his co-author, Professor Reviel Netz stated that
“The British Society for the History of Mathematics has an international
reputation for scholarship, and we are hugely honoured to be the
inaugural winners of this award.”

Dr Peter Neumann OBE, the academic and Emeritus Fellow of The Queen’s
College, Oxford in whose honour the prize in named, stated “I am very
gratified that the standard was so very high on this, the first year of
award. I was very pleased with the remarkable diversity of the books on
the shortlist and that from that shortlist, the award should be made for
the remarkable book by Reviel Netz and William Noel.”

I am posting this article because I read and reviewed the book earlier this year, and really enjoyed it. Source - Ex Libris email List

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Hetar Series - Book Reviews

A Distant Tomorow
The Twilight Lord
The Sorceress of Belmair
The Shadow Queen
By Bertrice Small
Authors website
The World of Hetar

I have spent this week reading a new (to me) series of Books - by Bertrice Small. Ms Small writes lusty historical romances. Generally they would have to be rated R18. This series of Books is called the World of Hetar. The central character is a half faerie and half human girl called Lara.

Lara is the faerie version of Joan of Arc. She has a destiny - to reunite the world of Hetar and bring peace to the land. The world of Hetar has several landmasses. The largest is called Hetar. It is divided into 6 areas - the city of Hetar, the Midlands, the Forests, the Desert, the Coastal Kingdoms and the Outlands.

The Forest is the home of the Forst Lords and also of the Forest Faeries and the giants. The Desert is the home of the Shadow Kings - a mysterious magic and long lived race of beings. The Midlands is the farming area and produce most of the food for the city of Hetar. The Coastal Kings produce luxury goods for Hetar and the Outlands are where the "savages" live.

Hetar is ruled by a Council. This council has 2 representatives from each area except the Outlands. The city is becoming too crowded and the Midlands can no longer produce enough food for the city. Gaius Prospero is a merchant. He is the head of the Merchant guild and on the council. He is also getting greedy. He wants to be emperor of Hetar. He also wants to invade the Outlands to anex more land to grow food or Hetar.

Lara is a half faerie and half human girl who was born in faerie land but then given to her human father to raise when she was 3 month old. Her father is a mercenary. He wants to become a Crusader Knight (the eleite mercearies). But on Hetar Looks and Appearance are everythiing.

So Lara comes up with a plan for her father to get enough money to join the crusader knights. She tells her dad to sell her as a slave to the pleasure houses, (what we call bordellos). Lara is 14 years old at this time. She has no idea that she has a destiny, nor does she know what that destiny is.

So Gaius purchases Lara and then attempts to sell her in a private auction to the highest bidder - in this case the owners of the Pleasure Houses. but when they see Lara's beauty, they begin to argue amongst themselves and even start fights. So Gillian, the Head of the Pleasure Houses guild, stops the auction and refuses to sell her to any pleasure house. Gaius wants his payment so Lara is sent to the Coastal kingdoms to be sold.

One the way to the Coastal Kingdoms, they must pass through the Forest. The Head Forester purchases Lara as a slave and Lara spends a year with the Cruel Forest Lords. As a faerie Lara has the abiity to produce children only when she chooses. The Foresters were cursed by a faerie many years before and they now beleive that only another faerie can undo that curse. The Foresters demand that Lara give them a son. She refuses to do. Lara's only friend in the Forests is the giant Og whose mother was killed by the Foresters when they killed everyone who would know of the curse.

Lara and Og escape from the Forests and eventually arrive in the desert where they meet the Shadow Kings. Og is given a job as the horse master and Lara is taught how to use her magic and how to fight, how to love and how to trust. She is also renunited with her faerie mother and faerie grandmother whom she has never known.

Eventually Lara's destiny calls to her and she must leave the Shadow Kingdoms. She heads for the Outlands. There she meets Vartan - the lord of the Outlands and of the Fiacre clan. she learns that the people of the Outlands are not savages as the Hetar believe.

The other 4 book tell of Lara's journey, her family, her husbands, her lovers, her children, her new home on Terah, how she rescued and saved the clans of the Outlands from Gaius's invasion, and how she must protect Terah from Gaius Prospero, the Emperor of Hetar. The old ways of Hetar are fading. Lara must teach the people new way to live.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Nineteen Minutes - Book Review

Nineteen Minutes
by Jodi Picoult
Atria Books 2007

This book revolves around 4 characters. Alex Cormier and her daughter Josie. Lacy Houghton and her son Peter. It is also about school violence and why it happens.

Alex is a lawyer and has just been promoted to the superior court of New Hampshire after spending 5 years as a district court judge. Alex is a single mother with just the one daughter Josie.

Lacy is an OB/GYN and she delivers babies. Lacy and her husband Lewis used to have 2 boys. Joe the older son had been killed by a drunk driver the previous year. Peter the younger son was withdrawn and depressed. Joe had been the favourite son, the smart one, the sports jock and the social butterfly.

Peter was always a very quiet kid, and fron the day he started kindergarten, he had been bullied by his school mates. Peter never said anything about being bullied. Peter was always being told by his teachers and his parents - Why can't you be more like Joe? But Joe was not perfect either. Joe had also teased Peter at school.

When Joe died the parents had both grieved over the loss of their smart son and they pretty much left Peter to his own devices.

Peter had only one friend - Josie Cormier. they hads been good friends in the lower grades. But when Josie had started making new friends, she was pressured by these new friends to stop being friends with the weird guy Peter. So she did. By the time they reached high school they had drifted apart.

This was the scene for the violent massacre at the local high school. Ten kids were killed and dozens wounded.

The first half of this novel was about Josie and Peters early lives when they were friends. The second half of the book is taken up with Peter's trial - as the state and the town of Sterling (New Hampshire) tried to understand why Peter Houghton had gone on a killing spree.

This was Jodi's first book to debut at #1 on the New York Times Best Seller list.

I know what it is like to be bullied. When I was 8 and 9, I was bullied by a kid who was from a different school than mine. But I had to walk past his home every day going to and from my school. He owned this big huge dog (possibly a german shephard). Every day he would have this dog, crouch and jump up on me and then stop me from walking forwards, and sometimes the dog was even told to push me into the road, in front of oncomimg traffic

When I was 10 I got my first bike and was allowed to ride to school. So while I still passed his home, I was going too fast for him or his dog to catch me.

To this day I am terrified of large dogs (german shephards, labradors, huskies) and I am terrified of any large dog is running around free where I am, because they might attack me.

There is one large labrador dog in my apartment building who is so quiet and so well behaved that I know he wont hurt me. I have never heard him bark in all the 7 years I have lived in this building.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Deat Heat - Book Review

Dead Heat
by Joel C. Rosenberg
Tyndale 2008

The is the fifth and last book in the Jihad series. I reviewed the Copper Scroll (the 4th volume in the series) a few weeks ago. 4 Nuclear bombs are dropped on 4 US cities - Washington DC, New York City, Los Angeles and Seattle. Millions of people are killed.

Jon and Erin Bennett are in Jordan helping the refugees there. James McPherson, the president of the USA is killed when Los Angeles was nuked. He was at the democratic convention. Fortunately the Vice President was in Florida. He is quickly sworn in as president and he contacts the Bennetts asking then to come home from Jordan to help.

The Bennets dont make it home. Erin is killed on the road trip to the airport and Jon is kidnapped and sent to a terrorist nation.

The new government settles in at NORAD in Colorado. The question is - who dropped the nukes? Was it china? Or was it some other nation? When Oak starts the ball rolling for the USA to attack China, the situation becomes heated. But Oaks's decisions are not to the liking of some military officals. Oaks is convinced that the chinese did it and is shot for his decisions. The head of DHS becomes the new President.

The result comes in that the last second that the refined uranium from the nuclear fallout came from North Korea. Indira Rajiv (the Indian traitor from the Copper Scroll) confesses to Jon, who is in North Korea, that it was her idea of nuking the USA. She explains why she did it.

The world is out of balance. I don't beleive there should be only one superpower in the world. It's too dangerous. A country that is answerable to noone becomes arrogant, corrupt, bloodthirsty. And that is what has happened to America. She swaggers about the world as if she owns the place. She bombs civilians without mercy. She thinks she is superior to everyone else on the planet and its not right. The world is out of balance and I decided to set it right.

The Israelis perform a surgical mission to penetrate North Korea and rescue Jonathan Bennett. The new President fires nukes at North Korea. And right when the bombs explode, the rapture occurs.

The one thing I did not like was reading, on literally every single page, was an urging for someone to accept christ into their hearts and to become a follower of jesus and get a free ride to heaven, because this were the last days.

DUH these events were (or will be) created by MAN and not by God.
Those preaching parts were very sickening to read so I skipped over them.
I heard it at church every week as a child. So boring and repetitive.

As I said on the Copper Scroll review - Christians MUST understand that they are not supposed to be bringing about the end of the world. Only Jesus can do that, (as per the bible) and if jesus (god) chooses to not do that - well then thats his decision. The christians should not be trying to interpret what they think god wants them to do.

As we watch those Christians doing what they can to bring about the last days, do so because they desperately want to know that their faith in god is real and not a lie, not a delusion. The longer god stays away and does nothing, the more proof there is, that god either does not exist or chooses to not involve himself in the pettiness of humanity.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Cathedral of the Sea - Book Review

Cathedral of the Sea
By Ildefonso Falcones
First spanish publication in Spain 2006
English Translation by Nick Caistor 2008
New American Library 2008

Spain in the year 1320 is a place of great danger. Bernat Estanyol and his infant son Arnau, are forced to escape to Barcelona after Bernat’s wife is appropriated by the cruel feudal Lord of Navarcles. In Barcelona, Bernat and Arnau can be freed from their ties to the feudal land if they live for a year and a day without being found.

But life is never easy for the Estanyols. Despite their hopes, they find that freedom is a relative term when one is indebted to an unforgiving and devious brother-in-law. After the tragic death of his father, young Arnau finds himself orphaned and alone. With nobody to turn to, except the Virgin Mary and the Santa Maria del Mar church, Arnau devotes himself to the church and embarks on a life filled with drama, war, riches and love that his father, a former serf, could never have imagined for him.

Faced with hunger, war, a city in turmoil, and the Spanish Inquisition, Arnau finds a way to escape from his pre-determined feudal destiny: through faith and hard work. He finds love, friendship, and embarks on numerous careers: as a builder of the cathedral, as a moneylender, as a soldier. Cathedral of the Sea tells the extraordinary story of the first populist: a good man who never forgets his humble origins.

Though set in the distant past, Cathedral of the Sea by Ildefonso Falcones is distinctly modern: concerned with what it means to be a man, father, son and, most of all what it means to be free. Cathedral of the Sea is an intensely readable and relatable novel. Engrossing and compelling, the story of Arnau Estanyol is not to be missed.


This is a Chunkster book. It has 600 pages. And I enjoyed every page. This was a great story. If you like history, you will love this book. Yes it took me a week to get through it, but I never got bored with it. There was advanture and action happening on every page.

This story tells of Arnau's life growing up in the time of the Holy Inquisition, Of How he became a bastaix - a labourer of the Sea. And later a soldier and then a money changer. We follow Arnau as he is brought before the Holy Inquisition just because he was getting too rich and the catholic church did not like competition.

The Cathedral of the Sea (Santa Maria del Mar - St Mary of the Sea) is a real church in Barcelona. It was built in the 1320's. The website said it took 5 years to build. This novel says it took 55 years. I dont know which is correct.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The Lost Symbol - Dan Brown

The Lost Symbol
By Dan Brown
September 15, 2009
Due out 2 weeks from today

Dan Brown's new novel, the eagerly awaited follow-up to his #1 international phenomenon, The Da Vinci Code, which was the bestselling hardcover adult novel of all time, will be published on September 15, 2009.

The Lost Symbol will once again feature Dan Brown's unforgettable protagonist, Robert Langdon.

'The Lost Symbol is a brilliant and compelling thriller. Dan Brown's prodigious talent for storytelling, infused with history, codes and intrigue, is on full display in this new book. This is one of the most anticipated publications in recent history, and it was well worth the wait,' said Sonny Mehta, Chairman and Editor in Chief of the Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group.

Brown's longtime editor, Jason Kaufman, Vice President and Executive Editor at Doubleday said, 'Nothing ever is as it first appears in a Dan Brown novel. This book's narrative takes place in a twelve-hour period, and from the first page, Dan's readers will feel the thrill of discovery as they follow Robert Langdon through a masterful and unexpected new landscape. The Lost Symbol is full of surprises.'

"This novel has been a strange and wonderful journey," said Brown. "Weaving five years of research into the story's twelve-hour timeframe was an exhilarating challenge. Robert Langdon's life clearly moves a lot faster than mine."


Medusa - Book Review

Medusa (A Novel from the NUMA Files)
by Clive Cussler & Paul Kemprecos
G P Putnam & Sons 2009

I love this series of books from Clive Cussler.

Kurt Austin is the head of the special assignments team for NUMA. This is the same job that Dirk and his mate Al Giordino were doing for many years before Dirk got married to Lori and his kids showed up. But I guess it was inevitable - that things had to change.

Dirk Pitt now has a non-active role as the Director of NUMA and Admiral Sandecker is now the Vice President of the USA.

In this book Kurt and his team (Joe Zavala, Paul & Gamay Trout) are investigating the cause of a new flu outbreak in China. Then Kurt learns that one Chinese Triad gang developed the flu and released it. They intended to destabilise the Chinese government and bring the Triads into power.

This triad has 3 leaders - a set of triplets. Each is in charge of a different area of the business. One triplet is in Shanghai, another is in Hong Kong and the third is in USA.

The triad has hijacked a private laboratory that was hidden underwater in the Melanesian area of the Pacific Ocean, nor far from the island of Pohnpei.

Kurt and Joe are charged with finding out what happened to the laboratory and to do anything they can to rescue the scientists being held there. Paul and Gamay must do whatever they can to trace the origin of this new strain of flu, and find a vaccine for it. Part of the vaccine is derived from the toxic venoms of jellyfish - hence the title name Medusa.

The action runs from DC to Florida to Boston to the Caribbean, to Pohnpei to Shanghai. This is another excellent adventure. It is also entirely appropriate to have an adventure story about a flu of unknown origin at the exact same time as the world is also battling a flu of "supposedly" unknown origin. It is called Swine Flu.