Flight of the Eagles reviewed by Bongani Mkhonta

booksThis novel is a story of two twin brothers, namely, Max and Harry Kelso who were both born in the United States but were separated when they were boys. When the Second World War broke out, they found themselves fighting on opposite sides, with Max as one of the Luftwaffe’s most feared pilots and Harry as a yank ace in the RAF. The war produced many amazing stories but neither twin could have predicted the diabolical circumstances which would bring them together again. The war events placed them in awkward positions full of danger, such that they found themselves questioning everything that they valued, their lives and ultimately their loyalties. And upon their actions hung the outcome of the war itself. This is a breathtaking World war adventure that is so spellbinding, readers will find it difficult to cease reading about it.

Jack Higgins was a soldier and then a teacher before becoming a full-time writer. ‘The Eagle Has Landed’ turned him into an international bestselling author and his novels have since sold over 250 million copies and been translated into sixty languages. Many of them have also been made into successful films

Title: Flight of Eagles
Author: Jack Higgins
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers, 2011
ISBN: 0007384718, 9780007384716
Length: 400 pages
Subjects: Fiction Action & Adventure

For people living in South Africa, purchase Flight of Eagles from Kalahari.com

source: The Swazi Observer

Popularity: 10% [?]

A Darker Place

jackA famous Russian writer and ex-paratrooper named Alexander Kurbsky is fed up with the Putin government and decides he wants to -disappear- into the West. He is under no illusions, however, about how the news will be greeted at home, having seen too many of his countrymen die mysteriously at the hands of the thuggish Russian security services, so he makes elaborate plans with Charles Ferguson, Sean Dillon, and the rest of the group known informally as the -Prime Minister-s private army- for his escape and concealment.It-s a real coup for the West except for one thing: Kurbsky is still working for the Russians. The plan is to infiltrate British and American intelligence at the highest levels, and he has his own motivations for doing the most effective job possible. He does not care what he has to do or where he has to go . . . or who he has to kill.

It’s 16th book in Sean Dillon series.1
1Sean Dillon is a former IRA enforcer turned British special agent

Killing Grounds

51-YOnHGsQL._SL110_Higgins pits series hero ex-IRA enforcer Sean Dillon, now British Intelligence’s go-to guy on antiterrorism, against terrorists Hussein Rashid, better known as the Hammer

of God. The Hammer’s plan is to enter England, kill Dillon’s boss and kidnap a 13-year-old who has been promised to him as a future bride. This is a familiar but engrossing cat-and-mouse game involving a vast assortment of British, Irish, American, Russian and Muslim players on both sides of the board. Christopher Lang’s crisp rendition aids tremendously in following Higgins’s constant shifts from the Hammer’s progress to Dillon’s attempts to halt it. Lang also possesses a talent for accents. It’s fun listening to him handle the group chats, with lightning shifts from lilting brogue to clipped old Etonian, guttural grunts to staccato Middle Eastern twang. One can’t ask for any more than that.

Popularity: 74% [?]

Rough Justice

The master of the game is back, with another pulse-pounding adventure featuring the unstoppable Sean Dillon Whilst checking up on the volatile situation in Kosovo the US President’s right-hand man Blake Johnson meets Major Harry Miller, a member of the British Cabinet.9780007276400

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Death Run

9780007257324A mafia banker wants to defect and give evidence against his former bosses, and John Chance’s boss Ardman is handling the exchange. But when the criminals realise they might be able to exert influence on Chance by getting at his children, Rich and Jade, the twins find themselves in the firing line. With a kidnapping in Venice and a shoot-out at a private school in England, this sequel to SURE FIRE will have both young and old Jack Higgins fans hooked.

Sure Fire

9780399247842For thirty years, Jack Higgins has enraptured adult readers with his thrilling tales of spies and intrigue. Now, for the first time he brings his bestselling touch to the world of teens with an adventure to remember.

For fifteen-year-old twins Rich and Jade, their lives have just been turned upside down. When their mother is tragically killed in a car crash, their long-lost father John Chance appears to collect them at the funeral. He’s a bachelor who lives on his own, and it’s clear that Rich and Jade aren’t welcome. But when Chance suddenly disappears, Rich and Jade uncover the truth: He’s a spy. And now, whoever kidnapped their father is after them, too.

Dangerous, fast-paced, and packed with action, Sure Fire is a gripping adventure from the master of the modern thriller.

Popularity: 85% [?]

Thunder Point secrets of a Nazi diary

0425143570This is the finest book about drinking I’ve ever seen. With every action, or conversation, emotion, or other thing of interest, a drink is enjoyed by the characters. Recent studies have shown that a good drink will noticeably improve the dramatic quality of a story. That is quite evident in Thunder Point, whose 320 pages are enhanced with no less than 87 glasses of various types of beer, wine, and spirituous liquor. That is an average of one every 3.5 pages! If only real life could be so liquid!

There is an amusing subplot about a U-boat wreck in the waters off the Virgin Islands, but the real action is where the booze is. And I would caution readers new to Higgins that not just action is denoted by the approach of the bartender. Characterizations are also neatly done by the bottle, so to speak. The hero, Sean Dillon, is Irish, but he loves champagne. This renders him romantic, and not a little enigmatic. This is not to say he won’t drink other things such as Irish whiskey or even scotch, but the core of his personality is built by champagne. Would you believe he even goes for a bit of brandy after a dive in the cold ocean?

Also, the impeccably correct English brigadier who runs covert operations for England prefers scotch, but by the end of the tale he has begun to unbend to the extent that he starts to enjoy champagne, too, seemingly as much as Dillon! I hope it won’t be considered a spoiler to relate that while in the first half of the book scotch is running neck and neck with champagne for frequency of mention, by the end champagne has outstripped scotch by 23 glasses–39 to 16. This is in keeping with the generally celebratory and joyous tone of the work.

It’s a testimony to Higgins’ considerable skill as a writer that in the last thirty pages when the characters’ drinking falls off, he neatly picks up the slack with mayhem. And the author has clearly done his homework in this department. Not only do the villains kill everyone who knows anything about the submarine, just as they do in real life, so too do the agents of Her Majesty kill everyone who knows anything about the villains. Is it just coincidence that this is how it happens in Hollywood? I don’t think so. I think Mr. Higgins has access to the highest levels of government, which in turn are tutored by the sages of Los Angeles. And this is fitting. For years and years Hollywood has been telling us that any problem can be solved with a gun. The box office figures show that they are right. When will people listen?

Not only that, but this recent trend toward not smoking and toward accusing smokers of being not romantic is utterly demolished by Sean Dillon. He has a special lighter called a Zippo, and when he uses it to light one of his cigarettes (I’m not sure which brand he likes best, but a champagne called Krug is his favorite champagne) you just know something cool is going to happen. For example, when one of the evil men who is in on the plot to get a briefcase out of the submarine thinks he is going to escape punishment, Dillon is right on the scene and his arrival is heralded by the Zippo. Get this: the Zippo is turned on not to light Dillon’s own cigarette, but the evil man’s! Then Dillon disposes of the evil man.

Don’t be turned off by the idea that this is all about scotch and champagne. Beer and wine play an important part, and there is a healthy amount of gin as well. The vodka lovers among you will have to wait until Dillon goes to Russia to sort out some problem there. And if tequila is your favorite, take heart. While there are no references to tequila in Thunder Point, the Virgin Islands are not far from Mexico. Not far at all. Maybe Higgins will send Dillon, Zippo flaring, to the cantinas of Chiapas to work with Subcommandant Marcos to solve that troublesome situation.

Popularity: 100% [?]

The Graveyard Shift

0425187365The story introduces Nick Miller, a police sergeant with independent financial means. The case concerns Ben Garvald, just released from serving a sentence for a payroll robbery. There are people who don’t want Ben to come home, including his ex-wife and her sister. The search for Ben results in a large amount of collateral damage as various characters seem to trip over their own feet.

Some of the plot does not seem very realistic, perhaps because monetary amounts seemed too low for the related actions, or perhaps because there is too much action in too short a time period.

Popularity: 89% [?]

Year of the Tiger

042515517XA couple of days before his retirement, Paul Chavasse was approached by a Tibetan monk requesting information on an extremely classified operation he had carried out in 1962, smuggling a brilliant mathematician out of communist Chinese occupied Tibet.As he recalled his adventure, readers would see Paul Chavasse, who had 3 years before successfully smuggled the Dalai Lama out of Tibet, return in order to extract a 70-year old sickly mathematician. His mission almost ended the moment it began, running into a group of Chinese soldiers and Russian journalist who happened to be passing by as he landed in the remote wilderness of Tibet. His mission was made even harder with the presence of a beautiful Russian house helper Katya in the home of the mathematician, and the relentless diabolically shrewd Colonel Li, commander of the regional Chinese garrison.

Betrayal, torture, deception met Chavasse at every turn. How was he going to return with a sickly geriatric over such long distances of inhospitable terrain at Himalayan altitudes ?

Readers may not get a treat of how harshly beautiful Tibet is, but there is no shortage of excitement as Chavasse fought to remain true to his mission.

Popularity: 92% [?]

Wrath of God

0425185427In 1920s Mexico, three men are brought together under different circumstances and blackmailed into completing a mission for a Mexican army officer. The three men are Keogh, a former IRA assasin, Van Horne, a priest who also robs banks, and Janos, an overweight businessman who stops at nothing to better himself. The mission they receive is to capture a man, dead or alive, Tomas de la Plata, who has gone renegade and is reigning terror on a small part of northern Mexico. I really enjoyed this book. All the characters are fairly well-developed and you get to know them and their motivations by the end. Not Higgins’ best book, but his fans will definitely enjoy this western action.

If you like the book, try and find a copy of the movie that was based on Higgins’ novel. It stars Robert Mitchum, Frank Langella, Victor Buono, Ken Hutchison, and Rita Hayworth in her last movie. The movie differs from the book in certain parts, but just like the novel, it is highly enjoyable, and full of great characters and plenty of action. C

Popularity: 92% [?]