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3.9 out of 5 stars
River of Ruin
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on December 8, 2017
Another page turner and some really cool physics deployed.
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on February 25, 2003
Jack DuBrul uses a consistent formula to create another successful novel in River of Ruin. Philip Mercer, the do everything mining engineer seemingly has a nose for trouble. Attending a rare book auction in Paris to buy a manuscript concerning the Panama Canal, he unwittingly stumbles into what he thinks is s Chinese plot to recover treasure in Panama. The treasure is really a front for a plot to accomplish quit a bit more than that.
An attack on Mercer's life in Paris sends him scurrying to Panama to find a mining school colleague who is searching for the Twice Stolen treasure. This is allegedly Inca treasure that was stolen by the conquistadors and stolen back and hidden in Panama. Mercer discovers his friend, Gary Brewer and his crew have mysteriously died at the site of the treasure excavation. Mercer's party is then attacked by a group from Hatcherly Corp., a Chinese company doing business in Panama. Hatcherly, a front for COSTIND, a Chinese defense conglomerate is headed by the powerful and influential Liu Yousheng, the villain of the book.
Mercer, desperate to find his friend's killers, is aided by the familiar confident, assertive and beautiful woman found in all DuBrul books, in the person of U.S. Army captain Lauren Vanik. Also lending a hand is Mercer's best friend and father figure, the bourbon swllling, chain smoking, octagenarian ex- sea captain, Harry White. White recruits Roddy Herrara an Panama canal pilot who is the son of an old friend. Mercer also eventually joins forces with a group of French Legionnaires and a French secret agent who are also trying to determine what the Chinese are up to.
It turns out that the Chinese are attempting to seize control of the Panama Canal. They are planning to set up medium range nuclear missiles to deploy against the U.S. much like Russia did in Cuba. These missiles would blackmail the U.S. into not meddling into China's dealings with Taiwan.
The plot is convoluted but very intriguing. It's startling how DuBrul gets Mercer to combine all his resources to solve the problems created by this well contrived Chinese plot. Another fascinating read by DuBrul
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on January 13, 2003
Clive Cussler has long held the undisputed title of Grand Master of Adventure Fiction for years...and while Jack Du Brul may not have his sights set on de-throning Cussler, his novels just may do it anyway, whether intended or not. I discovered Jack quite by accident while shuffling through a used book store and found a copy of 'Vulcan's Forge'. I pride myself on reading ALL kinds of books and I attempt to find new authors to read on a regular basis...the problem with this is that there just aren't very many really good adventure/fiction writers in print today. I am happy to say that Jack Du Brul IS the REAL DEAL.
Over his previous novels, Du Brul has helped us become familiar with Phillip Mercer, an ordinary guy who finds himself in extraordinary situations. Whether or not he's off the coast of Hawaii, in Alaska, Eastern Africa or Greenland, Phillip has a nasty habit of showing up at just the right time to help avert major catastrophe's. In 'River of Ruin', Mercer begins with an attempt to purchase a very old diary at an auction in Paris. Before long, we discover rather quickly as Du Brul literally launches us like a Tomahawk missle that Mercer has stumbled upon something quite sinister. He doesn't know it just yet, but an unseen Chinese businessman wanted the same manuscript that Phillip came to buy. Next thing we see a group of thugs after Phillip driving him into some very old catacombs under Paris in one of the more original chase scenes I've encountered. Our next stop is Panama where a friend of Mercer is searching for the fabled 'Twice Stolen Treasure'...I don't know if this story is real or the result of Du Brul's fertile imagination, but I gotta tell you, it was certainly entertaining. What Mercer finds at their base camp just off the River of Ruin is shocking: everyone dead, except for a young boy. But the REAL story is in what killed them. I won't reveal that little bit of fun, you'll have to find out for yourself...but rest assured, the story is only JUST beginning at this point.
The Chinese are attempting something truly horrific with the Panama Canal, all in an attempt to keep the United States out of their business when they invade Taiwan. The plan is truly creative and the way Du Brul lays it out, you have to give him credit for such an original idea, and wonder at the same time if it isn't actually possible (let's HOPE not). Along the way is action-a-plenty, but that's a given in any novel featuring Phillip Mercer. The ever smoking and wise-cracking Harry has his biggest role since 'The Medusa Stone' and pulls a rather extravagant practical joke off on Mercer (a true work of art). Phillip's new love interest is his equal in many ways and adds plenty to an already way above average story.
What exactly IS the future of the Panama Canal? How are the Chinese planning on disrupting the traffic through the canal? And better yet: WHY are they planning this major operation? Finding out is truly the best part of any well written story and with 'River of Ruin' Du Brul makes that journey one well worth taking. Easily on par with ANY of Dirk Pitt's famous adventures. Like I said, he may not be planning on taking over the crown of Adventure Fiction from Clive Cussler, but at the rate his novels are progressing, it WILL happen, like it or not. I choose to like it. I will always be a Cussler fan, but Jack Du Brul is now my favorite action/adventure author...a roll he has definitely earned. Well done and HIGHLY recommended.
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on January 22, 2003
Take a dash of Robert Ludlum, throw in a heaping tablespoon of Clyde Cussler and you have Jack DuBrul's latest techno/spy/thriller, River of Ruin. The action is nonstop and the plot, while far-fetched, is close enough to reality to make you think "this could actually happen".
One aspect of DuBrul's writing that I appreciate is his attention to detail without getting bogged down in technology or arcane acronymic references. Unlike the many Clancy-clones, DuBrul's works ring with authenticity without reading like an internal memo from the DoD.
If Chinese spies, buried treasure, endless intrigue and amazing escapes from death sound like fun to you, get this book!
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on May 30, 2004
This was the first novel by Jack DuBrul I read and was impressed. I generally like good character development and that the main character has associations and friends and to learn something about the character. DuBrul does this with his Phillip Mercer character. He is not overly macho, has foibles, has expertise in something other than law enforcement, which I feel is over loaded in the market. There is a sense of humor throughout the book and subject matter is very timely. I have always been a big fan of Clive Cussler and his Dirk Pitt character, Dubrul DOES provide me with another enjoyable and interesting character to follow through his future.
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on December 9, 2002
The newpaper headline aside I really liked this book. After reading the tedious Red Rabbit by Clancy, this book was refreshing. The Clancy book took forever to read and was more suited for insominacs, this book moved along at a rapid pace from the first page.
It starts with a bang when he goes to Paris to buy an old diary written by the first person who tried to build a Panama canal. After he buys the diary the book takes off on a wild journey through and under Paris to Panama.
Whereever Mercer goes the body count mounts as he always seems to find the wrong people in search of the truth.
I like the book because of some of the honest statements about people and guns, like at more than 50 yards shooting a pistol with accuracy is only seen in the movies, or words to that effect.
Best of all is the cast of characters and the parts they play in this book, one of the heros is his best friend Harry who at 80 comes to the rescue. All in all this was a great read, I work weekends and still found time to use every non working minute to read a few pages until I was finished.
One last thing, there of course is the evil villian and his henchman and the femme fatale, but it would not be a Mercer book without them. Some books like Cusslers who have similar plots in each of his book I found tedious, but these I seem to find refreshing as duBrul seems to find new ways to keep my interest.
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on October 12, 2003
I agree,many other fiction action authors have said he has a great talent; there is no doubt on that statement. This is the second novel I have read and will plan on reading the rest. His main character, Philip Mercer meets all criteria for todays action hero. Educated,lots of heart, and tough as Harry Truman.I would recommend his books to anyone that wants to take a somewhat educated walk on the wilder side.
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on October 4, 2003
I have read all of this author's books that are out in paperback, and have been giving him the benefit of the doubt up to now in regard to him getting his facts wrong on each item that I might happen to have any personal knowledge about. He seems to always get his facts wrong when talking of airplanes. In the River of Ruin he has the pilot flying a helicopter from the left side seat. In others he has 737s making transocean flights, and people falling 10 feet to the ground from a 757 or 767 on the ground(its more like 20 or more feet). A helicopter flight from one city in Peru to another is something like four hours to him, when in actuality its about an hour and a half TRAIN ride. In River of Ruin he has one player in a Henderson microprene one half millimeter body suit. Henderson is merely a brand name with no significance. He means a NEOPRENE WET suit. In every area the author writes about with which I'm familar, he doesn't get his facts right, so, such all of his errors are very easily researched, I can only assume he simply is too lasy and doesn't want to bother to get his facts correct. I assume this holds true concerning the guns, etc. also. I like to think that although I may be reading a work of fiction regarding the story line, the basic items in it are true, or at least we're told by the author that he made them up. Not so here.He needs to do his research if he's going to be a real writer.
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on December 21, 2003
I have read all of Jack Dubrul's novels so far, and there is one thing I can say about him. When he is good, he is good and when he is bad, he is really bad. I know that might sound generic, but it's true, and the best I could think to write it. His hits as I mentioned above seem to come with every other outing he takes us along with his character Mercer. It all started with Vulcan's Forge, which was good as action adventure goes, but was a little weak on characterization. Mercer's friends are all cardboard cutouts, that are at best one dimensional. Next came Charon's Landing, which was just bad. It felt like he had writers block when he wrote it and went with whatever first popped into his head to keep the story going, which was usually a crude joke. He improved with The Medusa Stone, which was a well rounded novel, and you actually began to care about the poorly drawn supporting characters such as the eighty year old friend, that he traveled across the world to save, and who has been in all the adventures so far, in one way or another. Pandora's Curse was like deja vous if you read a book called Riptide by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child. Also, nazi hunters and nazis altoghether are all worn out. Aside from some good action, and the tug of war between a sub and a zeppelin that was the seed that started the novel in the first place, it was a mediocre effort. Oh, the secret society or brotherhood aspect has been better used many different places, Serpent by Cussler and Kemprecos for example. Now we come to River of Ruin. By now we like Harry the octagenarian, and we begin to learn some of Mercer's dark past. As an action adventure novel, it was good with some really good bad guys, and the whole plot involving the Panama Canal was good. Though I did have some flashbacks about a book called Flood Tide by Cussler. Overall, Dubrul has improved over the course of four books, having developed his characters and toned down his language. His earlier works were fairly well laced with "colorful metaphors". In that aspect he has matured, and seems to be following some other successful examples. If Cussler and Grisham can sell millions of books without an F word, so can Dubrul. And, if he can further his plots without resorting to crude humor or exploiting tired stereotypes, I see him turning out several more good adventures in the future. However, his new release Deep Fire Rising is following a hit, so let's hope that the pattern is broken and he releases two hits in a row.
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on December 6, 2002
What happens when you combine Dirk Pitt and James Bond? You get Phillip Mercer. Jack Du Brul has plunged geologist Phillip Mercer in the middle of a plot to gain control of the Panama Canal. Drawn to Panama to help an old friend, Mercer finds himself neck deep in murder, conspiracy, and a plot to shift power to an elite branch of the Chinese military. With the help of Harry White, a US Army Captain, and several members of the French Foreign Legion, Mercer makes the connection between an old journal and lost Inca treasure. This is Jack Du Brul's best book yet!! His characters are well developed, the action is fast, and the plot is believable with enough twists and turns to keep you on the edge of your seat.
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