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Running Black (Eshu International Book 1) [Kindle Edition]

Patrick Todoroff
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

It's 2059 and the North Korean mercenary Tam Song heads up Eshu International: a private security team that will take any job for the right price, no questions asked. Based in the Belfast Metro Zone, they're the best black contract outfit on the planet.

Stable nano-technology: the melding of man and machine on a microscopic level. It's a break-through worth billions no one's been able to achieve. Until now. The Dawson Hull Conglomerate has finally developed a viable Nanotech Neural Network; an interface system that exponentially increases a person's cyber-capabilities. They're days away from unveiling the prototype to the world.

Eshu International just got hired to steal it.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 497 KB
  • Print Length: 262 pages
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004E3Y0JG
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #449,761 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
I came across a discussion of this book on The Miniatures Page and was curious enough to order a copy without really knowing much about it.

I must say that I was very impressed with the book and have already recommended it to a number of people as it is a fine example of the cyberpunk genre. If you're not familiar with cyberpunk then in essence it is a grim high-tech near-future where giant corporations control the planet as made popular by films like Blade Runner and authors like William Gibson (who gets a not too subtle acknowledgement in the book!) The story is well told, full of twists and turns and you become genuinely concerned for the fate of the main protagonists. The combat scenes are particularly effective as they are detailed and easy to visualise without getting bogged down with cumbersome detail. A second book is promised for autumn 2011 and a sneak preview is included in the book, which I have so far managed to avoid the temptation of looking at! I will certainly be buying the next instalment when it is released.

Overall an excellent debut from a promising author.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A new breed of mercenary 23 Aug. 2011
Format:Kindle Edition
Running Black by Patrick Todoroff tells the story of a group of mercenaries from the Eshu International security company. The year is 2059 and corporations pretty much run the world. They are divided into various geographical zones and have treaties with what governments remain that can actually let them have military control over entire zones.

When Eshu International is contracted to steal the latest breakthrough in a stable nanotechnology implant for human use they know something is off. The money offered for the job is just to outrageous for a standard job. It is also way too much money to turn away from.

The story has a couple of viewpoints that are followed including one of the clone Gibson. When Gibson is exposed to friends of Eshu International who have left the mercenary lifestyle behind and embraced religion he begins to question his own spiritual existence. The various team members of Eshu International are also confronted with some pretty huge moral dilemmas involving the technology they have stolen.

Overall the story was pretty enjoyable. I did have a few difficulties following some of the higher level tech talk, but nothing impeded the understanding of the story. The book uses the advanced technology very well to have some pretty intense action sequences, but the characters are still developed nicely allowing you to get more involved in the story. There is also a Christian theme to the story with the moral dilemmas faced by the mercs as well as the clone trying to figure out his place in the spiritual world. This book works well for most scifi and cyberpunk fans. I am very interested to see where Patrick takes the Eshu International guys in the next book.

Review copy provided by the author.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars so far so good 8 Mar. 2013
By C. Moir
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Only 30% into the book so far and loving it.
So far a good Action/Sci-fi with characters who don;t appear horribly 2d(very sick of horribly 'perfect' characters in this genre).
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Patrick Todoroff's near future thrill ride delivers... 14 Jan. 2011
By Jess C. Horsley - Published on
I have to first mention the thing which originally attracted me to this book was its gorgeous cover art by artist Alejandro Martinez. I'm always excited when I see a cool new sci-fi novel online or on the bookstore shelf and I'll be the first to admit I sometimes jump at buying a book simply because the cover looks impressive. Thankfully, the book's cover wasn't the only thing amazing about Running Black.

On his blog, author Patrick Todoroff said "Two impulses drove the story (of [B]Running Black[/B]): one was the conviction that only a spiritual ethic that upholds life as sacred will restrain humanity from becoming inhumane. Lose the preciousness of life and you open the door to contempt and cruelty; commodify people and you'll end up committing atrocities. Second was the struggle (to) write a standard sci-fi action novel and present genuine Christian themes in an organic way."

These two ideas drive Running Black, this first novel in a planned series staring a black contract/black ops team who'll take any job anywhere for the right price. What may sound like a reused or overused idea is actually done extremely well by first time author Todoroff, who handles himself and his characters like a seasoned professional, delivering an exciting, enticing and enriching story and plot filled with plenty of impressive and well-worn characters. Likewise, as previously stated, the story reveals the author's own faith, though in ways which seem genuine and unforced. Thankfully, instead of preachy or provocative, the injection of Christian ethics or morals, which are in fact infused into our everyday lives in America, shine here in Todoroff's story as well.

A story of theft, confusion, misunderstanding, loyalty, and - finally - sacrifice and love, Running Black is told from various points of view, including a member of the Eshu International black ops team, a member of the Army hunting Eshu, and finally, from Gibson, a very special young man and main character in the book.

Running Black unfolds in well constructed order, ensuring no loose ends or illogical actions take place nor any open-ended ideas miss addressing. Todoroff expertly lays out the plot, which is both fast-paced and easy to follow, ensuring readers don't become confused, lost or impatient. Likewise, Todoroff's characters and their motivations are genuine, all the way from team leader Tam, whose desire to do right balances his desire for a pay day (and vacation) to the team's Triplets, a set of three illegal military clones who hilariously interject their individualism as well as heroically protect the Eshu team's wares throughout.

The near future world of 2059 Todoroff creates seems not only real, but plausible thanks to the author's brilliant use of introducing lifestyle changes, societal needs, and character attitudes and descriptions in context. Things like weaponry, combat armor, jump jets and personal identification utilized by the characters help give us the information we as readers need to built this future, while the way in which people find entertainment, what they eat, where they live and how they work provide us with tertiary details.

The challenge for Todoroff comes from following through on promised and built-up ideas, such as the book's titular "running black," which is only brought up and delivered upon once throughout the novel. The idea, while clever and cool in retrospect, never seems fully realized nor made to seem as important as some of the other ideas within the book. That said, it does make for one heck of a catchy title and I hope we'll see more "running black" in future Eshu International tales.

Overall, Running Black is an exciting and exceptional first novel filled with plenty of intense action, a solid cast of well developed characters, and an interesting moral basis upon which its plot is set and built. Readers interested in near future sci-fi, espionage, and intense action will want to give Running Black a try as it delivers an entertaining experiance.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Held my interest from page one 5 Aug. 2011
By Amazon Customer - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition
Running Black held my interest from page one. It is filled with action, intrigue, and corporate espionage. Despite the illegal nature of business being ran, I grew to care for the characters and rooted for them the whole way through.

The characters in this story were engaging, and Flopsy, Mopsy, and Cottontail, the clone drones, were especially compelling. They were essentially human robots -- entirety made of flesh, but the skill and drive one would expect from a machine. The contrast between their child like naivety and their military precision made for some very clever interactions.

The plot was exciting and gripping, twists and turns with every turn of the page. New characters would be introduced and I had to determine which side they were on. From the beginning to the end, even when the action slowed, I was always on my toes wondering what would come next. The pacing could not have been better. I really enjoyed how the story was told from different characters' perspectives, yet remained straightforward and easy to follow.

Running Black was full of sci fi technology, but it was hardly ever the focus. The bits of high technology were described in just enough detail to get the point across, but keep the story moving. Todoroff painted a very realistic version of the not too distant future.

The overall layout of the book was smooth and natural. I read the pdf version and it flowed gracefully and was effortless to read. The chapter headings were clear and informative, plus the cover was superb.

This book thoroughly entertained from start to finish. Todoroff included a preview of the next book in the series and it appears to have great promise. If he keeps up this quality, he could continue this series for as long as new missions are attainable.

Review by: Kevin of Sift Book Reviews
Sift Book Reviews received a free copy for review from the author. This has, in no way, affected the reviewer's opinion.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fantastic sci-fi book, from a fantastic new author. 21 May 2013
By Amazon Customer - Published on
Do you want a extremely good cyberpunk tale, with likable characters that act like real people?

All this in a not so distant future, where Mankind still struggles with its nature and where people still turn to God, searching for what means to be Human.

And what about some corporate espionage and intense action?

If you want to read all of this in one place, look no further than this book!

After reading some chapters, I couldn't fathom how it was the author's first book - he writes like a professional, juggling several viewpoints and plot-lines without a glitch.

Upon finishing the book - it took me a day - I could only wonder why wasn't he already picked up by a big sci-fi publisher? This is one of those books that doesn't deserve to linger in a indie publisher.

Maybe some readers can't get past the fact that this is a first-time author (and a Christian author to boot) and turn away without having the slightest idea about what they are missing.

The only problem I can find with the book is a simple one - it leaves the reader wanting more. More Eshu International novels and more information about the future that the author has painstakingly created.

This last bit isn't a problem with this particular book/author - it's just something that I crave every time I read a near-future novel. In this case, I want to know more about the Pretoria Clones and their war in Africa, at the service of General N'kosa or the «Final Push» into Israel, for instance.

I hope that the next book - Shift Tense - and the others to come (I'm sure there will be more!) will cover some of these bits and reveal much more about this not so-bright future created by Patrick Todoroff.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cannot put it down! 21 Feb. 2012
By Rebekah Benedict - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
If you plan on buying this book, then plan on staying up all night to read it. When I first started reading Running Black I could not put it down! There are so many moving parts to the book that you want to keep diving in further and further to find the resolutions to each. I was very impressed with Todoroff's ability to have such a complex plot and yet bring everything together by the end. The plot is a futuristic based idea that computers and man can be entwined into one living being that can be used for good or for evil. In this case, it involves ruthless companies that will stop at nothing to gain this technology. It is at this point we are introduced to our core of main characters who have to tackle this issue. The book is action packed and moves along very quickly. There is an underlying theme of the main character struggling with what is "right" versus his desire "to do his job". This inner conflict is brought out very gradually yet effectively as the plot thickens. The detail of futuristic technology and weaponry is outstanding. This is one of those reads that you realize something like this could very well happen. In fact, it is almost sobering when you look at today's society and all of the technical advances that are being made. If you are looking for an action thriller mixed with sci-fi and mystery then this is your book. My hope is that there will be follow up books sooner rather than later...
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars from [...] 27 Jan. 2011
By Rev. Stephen R. Wilson - Published on
Recommendation: Good

Originality - 4/5
Writing Style - 5/5
Plot - 5/5
Characters - 5/5
Aesthetics - 4/5

An R-rated, Christian, corporate espionage thriller. Sound like an oxymoron? Maybe not.

In age of clones and corporate domination, Eshu International is an elite black ops team, complete with all the best weapons and technology money can buy. And they will do anything for anyone who has the money. Things get a little complicated, however, when one of their highest-paying missions yet turns out to be not just stealing some company's newest technology, but kidnapping a human child as well.

The action is fast-paced, the story intriguing, and the characters well-developed. There are also some very significant spiritual, Christ-honoring moments at the end. Any reader will be well-pleased with the story over-all.

Now for a few warning notes: The main characters are all likeable, but they're not the sort of people you really want to root for. This is not a good-guy versus bad-guy kind of book. It's a bad-guy versus bad-guy kind of book. The main characters, while not being totally evil, are, for the most part, ruthless killers who swear worse than sailors. Let me stress that point for a moment. If you are offended by profanity, think twice before picking up this novel because there is a LOT of profanity.

And whereas there are a couple of Christian characters who talk a good game, they are somewhat unbelievable in that they are still willing to hide and aid these brutal mercenaries and even want their son to join them! I understand that these two Christians are old friends of our main characters and that they also used to be involved in the same sorts of things before their conversion. Nevertheless, their actions in the book make them seem rather hypocritical.

Finally, Patrick Todoroff's has a very natural writing style, but unfortunately, the proofreading on this book leaves something to be desired. Every once in a while you'll come a cross a missing or misplaced word or punctuation mark. It doesn't distract from the story, but you will notice it.

Overall, I'm giving Running Black a recommendation of Good and will be looking forward to the sequel, Shift Tense (hopefully without so much foul language), coming out soon.

Running Black is available from and other online retailers. It is available in print and e-book editions.
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