These are the write-ups of second titles read in the Adventure genre received so far. Please submit yours if you haven’t done so yet! In alphabetical order by author…
Author: Ted Bell
Main Appeal Factors: Fast-paced, action-packed storyline; battle strategy, some science fiction
Annotation/Thoughts: Frame: Contemporary setting with America and its allies as the global good guys, with a secret-agent English hero who owns a lethal warship disguised as a luxury yacht. Setting ranges from Russia and Iraq to U.S. and England.
Tone: The tone is good guys vs. bad guys – no ambiguity about who is who. James Bond-like casual violence and bromance bantering keep the tone more entertaining than thought-provoking. Subtle racism and blatant sexism may be offensive to some readers.
Pacing: Action-packed, fast-paced adventure story, with a science fiction element
Plot/Storyline: The world is being terrorized by an unknown enemy who is able to control computer and electronic systems from a vast distance, causing tragic deaths of masses of people in places like Disney World when the rides all malfunction at once. There are loose ends from previous books to wrap up before the hero, secret-agent Alex Hawke, gets involved in figuring out what is happening, and he is in Russia at the beginning to find the daughter of a Tsar he thought was dead but heard rumors was alive.
Characterization: Main character Alex Hawke is a “natural leader”. A British lord in his mid-thirties he is – underneath his physically fit, elegant, handsome, tall exterior – “a creature of radiant violence” who excels in matters of war. “Men want to be him, women want to bed him.”
Title: The Columbus Affair
Author: Steve Berry
Main Appeal Factors: Story and setting
Annotation/Thoughts: The Columbus Affair is a stand alone adventure book by Steve Berry. There are two main storylines, the first about the leading character, Tom Sagan, and his relationship with his estranged daughter. The other storyline is about the finding of a treasure on the island of Jamaica that was hidden by Christopher Columbus and his crew on his fourth voyage to the Americas. Berry uses the voices of 4 of the characters in this plot driven book. The characters have been created with some individual personalities making them seem a little bit more human than the main characters in other adventures novels such as those of Clive Cussler. The historical descriptions keep the pace at a moderate speed and the chapters become shorter and shorter as the book goes on. Although there is violence, it is not terribly gorey. The fictional history in this book is fascinating and Berry provides notes in the back to explain what is history and what has been fictionalized.
Author: Dan Brown
Main Appeal Factors: Mystery Thriller
Annotation/Thoughts: Reoccurring character Robert Langdon is back on another adventure. Using his skills at puzzle solving and his intricate knowledge of history he attempts to uncover the secret earth shattering announcement that was interrupted before it could be broadcast to the world. The main character uses his intellect rather than brawn throughout the book. This fast paced book was set primarily in Spain with interesting information on architecture and history, mixed with religion and intrigue. The mood was overall suspenseful with a twist ending. Mixed with a bit of sci-fi involving a supercomputer this book could be considered a crossover of action with science fiction and mystery thriller. Rather than the standard hero in an action book this character reads more as a realistic hero with faults and quirks like the everyday man.
Title: The Bear (originally The Grizzly King)
Author: James O. Curwood
Main Appeal Factors: Characterization, Tone, Plot, Setting
Genre: Adventure/Classic (published 1916)
Annotation/Thoughts: The Bear is deeply rooted on the environmentalism movement as it gained momentum through the 19th century. As this story unravels in the Canadian Rockies, it centers around the anthropomorphic lives of an orphaned bear cub, its adoptive father bear named Thor, the hunters after Thor’s hide and the classic turn of events as the hunter becomes the hunted thus changing their point of view, introspection. Clive Cussler’s characters travel all over the world which I think translates to his outdoorsy nature as a person. Similarly, through his vivid writing, Curwood expresses himself as an author who loves the outdoors and uses his works of fiction to raise awareness to the real world problems facing us today such as fauna destruction/degradation by man, for example.
Title: Beautiful Sacrifice
Author: Elizabeth Lowell
Main Appeal Factors: Romance crossover appeal; exotic locale; life-and-death situation
Genre: Adventure/Romantic Suspense
Annotation/Thoughts: Archaeologist Lina Taylor is an expert on Maya antiquities, and is herself descended from Maya royalty. When Hunter Johnston asks for her assistance in recovering stolen Maya artifacts, she finds herself as enchanted by Hunter as by the priceless missing artifacts. That the disappearance occurred shortly before the end of the Mayan calendar on December 21, 2012 has them wondering if the theft was committed by treasure hunters or religious fanatics. The chase eventually leads them to Lina’s sprawling family compound in Mexico, where their exploration of the local ruins leads them to answers that could cost them their lives. This story has crossover appeal for fans of romantic suspense. The fact that the protagonist is a female of Mexican heritage also gives it multicultural appeal. There is a great deal of background and facts given about Maya artifacts, which could be fascinating or boring depending on where the reader’s interests lie. The extensive detail seems to keep the pace slower than a typical adventure story. There is undoubtedly a shortage of adventure stories with strong female protagonists; until more are written, the romantic suspense adventure stories will have to do.