All posts by Keith Brownlow

NAVIGATOR

Title:  Navigator

Author:  Stephen Baxter

As Willian the Conqueror’s men attempt to stamp out the flames of rebellion, a prophecy is uttered.  A bedraggled woman in a ruined chapel speaks of civilizations in conflict, armed by the engines of God.

And that prophecy proves to be true as the fearsome war between Christianity and Islam leaves its mark across the land.  In Spain, where Moore and Christian live side by side, a rogue priest dreams of the final defeat of Islam, for he has found a rent in the tapestry of time, a point where agents from the future once tampered with the past and changed history—using diabolical weapons of destruction.

For centuries, the conflict ebbs and flows, moving from one part of the known world to the next.  Men of vision, weary of the strife, are drawn to the West, to whatever may lie across the endless sea.  And in 1492, one such explorer seeks the funding for his voyage while a mysterious Weaver plots to unravel the strands of time and stop him.

 

 

RUFF JUSTICE

Title:  Ruff Justice

Author:  Laurien Berenson

As owner of prize-winning Poodles, Melanie Travis knows how to handle fierce competition.  But when a conformation show turns deadly, it’ll take every trick in the book to outsmart a murderer who refuses to lose.

With the excitement of the spring dog show season sweeping Connecticut, Melanie is determined to help her son finally lead his Standard Poodle toward a championship title.  Aunt Peg even skips the judging panel to exhibit a pup of her own, and she’s set on standing out from the pack with a handmade leash from Jasmine Crane, a talented canine portrait artist who also crafts stunning accessories for discriminating show-goers.  Jasmine’s handwork is to die for –but Aunt Peg didn’t expect to discover the woman murdered behind the concession booth, strangled by one of her dazzling custom creations.

Another shockwave ripples through the close-knit show community when Amanda, Aunt Peg’s longtime dog sitter and a renter on Jasmine’s property, ominously vanishes that same day.  While nosing around for clues, Melanie suspects a dangerous connection between Amanda’s disappearance and the homicide case–a hunch that grows as her investigation reveals sketchy secrets about the late artist.  Juggling a demanding teaching job, the pressures of the show ring, and a daunting suspect list, Melanie finds herself entangled in a mindboggling murder mystery…and hot on the trail of a desperate killer.

 

 

RISING IN FLAMES

Title: Rising in Flames

Author: J.D. Dickey

Antebellum America was a deeply troubled country, divided by partisan gridlock and ideological warfare. There were angry voices in the streets and the statehouses, and furious clashes over tace and immigration, coupled with a growing chasm between immense wealth and desperate poverty.

The Civil War that followed brought America to the brink of self-destruction. But it also created a new country from the ruins of the old one, bolder and stronger than ever. No campaign in the war was more destructive—or more important—than William Sherman’s legendary march through Georgia and the Carolinas. It would cripple the heart of the South’s economy, free thousands of slaves, and mark the beginning of a new era.

The invasion not only quelled the Confederate forces, but transformed America, forcing it to recon with a century of injustice. In this timely, narrative social history, Dickey reveals the story of women actively involved in the military campaign, and later in civilian networks, one of whom was so vital, even Sherman himself would call her “General.” African “Americans also took active roles as soldiers, builders, and activist, despite the hesitation on the part of some, though not all, Union officers to integrate the ranks.

Rich with despair and hope, brutality and compassion, Rising in Flames tells the dramatic story of the Union’s invasion of the confederacy. Dickey brilliantly examines how this colossal struggle provide a radiant and violent rebirth for a nation on the edge of collapse—and helped create a vigorous new country from the embers of the Old South.

CHOSEN COUNTRY A REBELLION IN THE WEST

Title:
Chosen Country a Rebellion in the West

Author: James Pogue

In a remote corner of Oregon, James Pogue found himself at the heart of a rebellion. Granted unmatched access by Ammon Bundy to the armed occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, Pogue met with ranchers and militiamen ready to die fighting the federal government.

He witnessed the fallout of communities riven by politics and the danger (and allure) of uncompromising religious belier. The occupation ended in the shooting death of one rancher, the arrest of dozens more, and a firestorm over the role of government that engulfed national headlines. The resulting federal trials and their dramatic conclusions have only clouded the future of America’s public lands.

In a raw and restless narrative that roams the same wild terrain as his literary forebears Edward Abbey and Hunter S. Thompson, Pogue examines the struggles to reconcile diverging ideas of freedom, tracing a cultural fault line that spans the nation.

A Brotherhood of Spies

Title: A Brotherhood of Spies

Author: Monte Reel

On May 1, 1960, an American U-2 spy plane was shot down over the Soviet Union just weeks before a peace summit between the two nations. The CIA concocted a cover story for President Eisenhower to deliver, assuring him that no one could have survived a fall from that altitude. And even if pilot Francis Gary Powers had survived, he had been supplied with a poison pin with which to commit suicide.

But, against all odds, Powers emerged from the wreckage and was seized by the KGB. He confessed to espionage, revealing to the world that Eisenhower had just lied to the American people–and to the Soviet premier. Infuriated, Nikita Khrushchev slammed the door on a rare opening in Cold War relations.

In a Brotherhood of Spies, award-winning journalist Monte Real reveals how the U=2 spy program, principally devised by four men working in secret, intensified the Cold War and carved out a new mission for the CIA. This secret fraternity, made up of Edwin Land, best known as the inventor of instant photography and the head of Polaroid Corporation; Clarence “Kelly” Johnson, a hard-charging taskmaster from Lockheed; Richard Bissell, the secretive and ambitious spymaster; and ace Air Force flyer Powers, set out to replace yesterday’s fallible human spies with tomorrow’s undetectable eye in the sky. Their groundbreaking clandestine successes and all-too-public failures make this brilliantly reported account a true-life thriller with the highest stakes and the most tragic repercussions.

LUCID INTERVALS

Title: Lucid Intervals

Author: Stuart Woods

It seems like just another quiet night at Elaine’s. Stone Barrington and his former cop partner Dino are enjoying their drinks when in walks former client and all-around sad sack Herbie Fisher….in need of a lawyer.

But while he’s trying to fend off Herbie, Stone is propositioned by another potential client, this one a bit more welcome, because she’s both a potential employer and a beautiful woman. She’s looking for somebody whom somebody wants dead.

She takes Stone into the posh world of embassy soirees and titled privilege, where high society meets government intrigue. And when trouble follows him from his Manhattan townhouse to the tranquil summer home in Maine, Stone has to decide what to do with the explosive information he’s uncovered.

BOOTS ON THE GROUND

Title: Boots On The Ground

Author: Elizabeth Partridge

In over a decade of bitter fighting it claimed the lives of more than 18,000 American soldiers and beleaguered four U.S. presidents. More than forty years after America left Vietnam in defeat in 1973, the war remains controversial and divisive both in the United States and abroad.

The history of this era is complex; the cultural impact extraordinary. But it’s the personal stories of eight people–six American soldiers, one American military nurse, and one Vietnamese refuge–that create the heartbeat of Boots on the Ground. From dense jungles and terrifying firefights to chaotic helicopter rescues and harrowing escapes, each individual experience reveals a different facet of the war and moves us forward in time. Alternating with these chapters are profiles of key American leaders and events, reminding us of all that was happening at home during the war, including peace protests, presidential scandals, and veterans’ struggles to acclimate to life after Vietnam.

With more than one hundred photo graphs, award-winning author Elizabeth Partridge’s unflinching book captures the intensity, frustration, and lasting impacts of one of the most tumultuous periods of American history.

THE KREMLIN CONSPIRACY

Title: The Kremlin Conspiracy

Author: Joel C. Rosenberg

SEPTEMBER 1999
A series of apartment bombings in Moscow Shock the world. The Russian government immediately blames Chechen terrorist, and Oleg Kraskin–a sharp young lawyer in love with the president’s daughter–has no reason to doubt it. Yet when he joins the First Family of Russia, and the president’s personal staff, he has no idea how radically the bombings will one alter the course of world events. Or what role he himself will play.

SEPTEMBER 2001
Just after the Twin Towers and the Pentagon are attacked, Marcus Ryker enlists in the Marines and is scent to Afghanistan to defend his country. In time, he joins the United States Secret Service and works his way up to the elite Presidential Protection Detail. It’s his dream job, until a tragic accident causes him to rethink his priorities.

Neither Marcus nor Oleg is aware of just how much they themselves will change history when their paths cross.

Russia’s president is rising czar determined to restore his country to her former greatness–and he will stop at nothing to do so. Even risk nuclear war.

Now Marcus has to make the most important decision of his life. Would it ever he right to assassinate a single leader if it could prevent a genocide? If it is, then everything he’s learned to protect our president, he’ll need to take out theirs.

THE DEATH OF DEMOCRACY

Title: The Death of Democracy

Author: Benjamin Carter Hett

Why did democracy fall apart so quickly and completely in Germany in the 1930s? How did a democratic government allow Adolf Hitler to seize power? The Death of Democracy, Benjamin Carter Hett answers these questions, and the story he tells has disturbing resonances for our own time.

To say that Hitler was elected is too simple. He would never have come to power if Germany’s leading politicians had not responded to a spate of populist insurgencies by trying to co-opt him, a strategy that backed them into a corner from which the only way out was to bring the Nazis in. Hett lays bare the misguided confidence of conservative politicians who believed that Hitler and his followers would willingly support them, not recognizing that their efforts to use the Nazis actually played into Hitler’s hands. They had willingly given him the tools to turn Germany into a vicious dictatorship.

Benjamin Carter Hett is a leading scholar of twentieth-century Germany and a gifted storyteller whose portraits of these feckless politicians show haw fragile democracy can be those in power do not respect it. He offers a powerful lesson for today, when democracy once again finds itself embattled and the siren song of strongmen sounds ever louder.

DISCIPLES

Title: Disciples

Author: Douglas Waller

Allen Dulles ran the OSS’s most successful spy operation against the Axis. Bill Casey organized dangerous missions to penetrate Nazi Germany. Bill Colby led OSS commando raids behind the lines in occupied France and Norway. Richard Helms mounted risky intelligence programs against the Russians in the ruins of Berlin.

Later they were among the most famous and controversial directors the CIA has ever had. Dulles launched the calamitous operation to land CIA-trained, anti-Castro guerrillas at Cuba’s Bay of Pigs. Helms was convicted of lying to Congress about the CIA’s effort to oust President Salvador Allende in Chile. Colby would become a pariah among the agency’s old hands for releasing to Congress what became known as the “Family Jewels” report on CIA misdeeds during the 1950’s, 1960’s and early 1970’s. Casey would nearly bring down the CIA–and Ronald Regan’s presidency–from the scheme to secretly supply Nicaragua’s contras with money raked off from the sale of arms to Iran for American hostage in Beirut.

Mining thousands of once-secret World War II documents and interviewing scores, Waller has written a worthy companion to Wild Bill Donovan, and given us a riveting spy story full of intrigue and historical insight.