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Fatal Terrain Mass Market Paperback – Apr 1 1998

3.3 out of 5 stars 71 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley (April 1 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0425162605
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425162606
  • Product Dimensions: 10.5 x 3.3 x 17.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 249 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars 71 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #626,070 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Library Journal

In this all-too-predictable tale, a reconfigured B-52 bomber and its doughty crew try to prevent a war between Taiwan and the People's Republic of China. Dastardly politicians and greedy military careerists attempt to thwart our friends in the skies, but, aided by hawkish President Martindale, strike-warfare expert Patrick McLanahan and his buddies put their prototype aircraft through its paces while flirting with their own capture or destruction. Unfortunately, Brown here fails to live up to the thought-provoking substance of his previous books, notably Shadows of Steel (LJ 6/15/96). The major characters from those earlier works reappear (accompanied by turgid recapitulations of past escapes) and seize the opportunity to weigh in on the side of the good guys. Despite battle scenes and lots of shouted dialog, the pace is leaden and the characterizations dull. Only for comprehensive Brown or aviation-fiction collections.
-?Elsa Pendleton, Boeing Information Svcs., Inc., China Lake, Cal.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

The Old Dog (an airplane, as Brown regulars know) learns yet more new tricks in Brown's latest technothriller. The EB-52 Megafortresses (improved descendants of the Old Dog) are about to be scrapped, the rest of the U.S. heavy bomber force radically downsized. Then the Chinese seriously try to conquer Taiwan, and President Martindale wants to defend it equally seriously, despite U.S. military weakness, interservice rivalry, and political opposition. Led by Brad Elliott and Patrick McLanahan, the reunited Old Dog crew flies one official mission against the Chinese--and then is faced with arrest for exceeding orders. The next mission--unofficial--becomes justly compared with the exploits of the Flying Tigers of World War II and precipitates a decisive U.S. bomber counteroffensive that defeats the Chinese. Longer on well-handled action and hardware than on characterization (virtually all the navy personnel in it are caricatures), the yarn is another consistent page-turner from Brown, anyway, and won't disappoint his numerous readers. Roland Green --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
"Fatal Terrain" refers to one of the many theories on war espoused by Sun-Tzu, a clue that Dale Brown's latest novel is aimed at communist China (Brown's books dwell on the same characters in a loose series that seems to shift between eastern Europe, the far east and Iran). In "Fatal", Beijing is moved to take a stab at conquering Taiwan again (called Formosa Dao) by a fiery Admiral Sun - who isn't so much a fiery communist as he is military minded. Ceaselessly quoting Sun-Tzu for a cadre of top-ranking red Chinese (who speak in the same stilted pseudo-language that all foreigners speak in technothrillers), Admiral Sun whips the moribund Chinese military into shape. PLAN ships and PLAAF planes arrayed with the latest hardware, and upgraded missiles lay waste to Taiwan, while the Americans are paralyzed by liberals, bureaucrats and - because the USAF is the only service capable of readily meeting the threat - practically crippled by the craven Navy Admiral Balboa. To meet the threat, the Americans rely on the covert help of Brad Eliot and his Dreamland team. Recycled from previous Brown books, Eliot is reviled as a man who doesn't play by the rules and won't let bureaucrats, liberals or the Navy get between him and the mission (okay, we're not really supposed to hate the guy, we're supposed to root for a guy who won't be a team player when the team is staffed with morons). With his souped-up B-52, the "Megafortress", he starts a secret war against the Chinese. Unfortunately, not all the high-tech on the planet can match the Chinese in terms of numbers or media-manipulation. First gamely assisting his mentor, hero AF ace Pat McLanahan comes to realize that Eliot may at last be going too far...even for him.Read more ›
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
A very recent fan of Dale Brown, this was my first book. I have since read most of the others, including Flight of the Old Dog and still say this is the best one from him yet. Why? For starters, it had me glued to one spot from the first page to the last (with just a 4 hour nap in between). Not many books can do that to me. It had all the right elements in it... psychology, technology, philosophy, piloting, politics. Dale also shows that he has an insider's knowledge of these sciences. OK, in some cases his foot is barely inside the door, but for those readers who do know (or at least suspect) what really goes on behind the closed doors of the military and political bureaus, I believe the book will come across as quite credible. The helplessness of the presumed-to-be powerful U.S. military when political processes undermine its very existence, its inablility to react to unconventional methods of aggression, the need for a renegade to step up and bypass the political system and chains-of-commmand and a hint of paranoia may be a bit disconcerting, if not shockingly eye-opening, to most readers.
Essentially what this book needs in order to be highly riveting is an educated and open mind. An understanding of basic technology (elementary physics for starters, some knowledge of airplanes and their systems would definitely help) goes a long way in establishing the credibility of the story line. And don't make the mistake of confusing credibility with reality, though I suspect that those who understand and keep abreast of the latest developments in technology will have no problem blurring the line between futuristic fiction and current technological capability.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
An Air Force fantasy, Fatal Terrain projects a world that has no relation to the real one. A private company wages war instead of the military; Hong Kong is in the Formosa Strait, and an aging B-52 is the answer to every tactical and strategic situation. Brown also mentions a massive invasion of Taiwan in 1955 by China which never happened in this universe, but evidently happened in his alternate universe. This novel was educational. For example, I did not know that the U.S. Air Force was populated exclusively by brave, loyal, daring, intelligent personnel, while the Navy had only morons. That the Republicans have only brave, loyal, daring, intelligent people in their ranks, and the Democrats have only morons. That one can change a few pieces of sheet metal on a B-52, which has a radar crosssection the size of Texas, and make it into a stealth bomber. Gee, I wonder why the Pentagon designed the real stealth bomber, the B-2, from the ground up with a totally different shape than a B-52. I'd say the characters are wooden, but wood has some depth. I also didn't know that anyone would strap a man who's just had a heart attack into the pilot's seat of a bomber and go into combat. At the end our heroes actually drive off into the sunset. I have a great opening line for Dale Brown's next novel: "It was a dark and stormy night." Brown should be embarassed by this novel. I'm embarassed to say that I finished it.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
You aren't going to believe this. There is a supersecret program to sell super-duper-ultra-hi-tech B-52 variants to the Air Force, put out by what seems like a garage outfit, but those shortsighted bozos have decided that bombers are a waste of time, so no one is buying.
Comes a crisis over Taiwan, and all of a sudden the B-52 variants, crewed by civilians (I kid you not), are in action and hosing down the Chinese attackers with Buck Rogers technotoys. Those misguided fools in the Navy are more concerned with interservice bickering than with doing their duty, so only our heroes can save the day.
Eventually, while China is casually nuking things like US aircraft carriers without much of a reaction, our heroes finally get put on ice by the Air Force. However, they conveniently subdue a company of Marines and dash back off to war. Taiwan is saved when a Chinese strategist decides that China's approach isn't in keeping with Sun-Tzu, hops in a jet which he conveniently knows how to fly, and defects.
Oh, by the way, the Iranians capture a US attack sub with a big Kevlar net.
The author obviously: 1) Knows nothing of Chinese culture. 2) Has a great imagination about military command structures. 3) Is interested in glorifying the Air Force at the Navy's expense. 4) Believes that China could start tossing nukes at Taiwan like hand grenades and get by with it. 5) Somehow managed to impress Clive Cussler and WEB Griffin, which is what I really don't understand.
This is one of the worst military books I've ever read. Unbelievable from start to finish. There is nothing to like or even respect about it.
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