on 7 January 2013
It was a struggle to get to the end of this - one-dimensional characters, huge amounts of action with very little narrative to support it. Also, there seems to have been very little effort on research, in particular just about everything to do with the restoration and operation of the submarine USS Alcatraz shows no understanding of how submarines work and are run.
Its gets a two only because I did managed to finish it.
I find myself not even wanting to think too much about the plot of this book. Suffice to say it revolves around lots of different factions fighting to bring an Arabian warlord to justice.
This happens against the backdrop of a maniacal billionaire who conspired to kill his sister and then his father, and creates the USS Alcatraz - a decommissioned 70s sub turned sophisticated prison-cum-torture camp.
The plot was utterly bewildering and the level and gruesomeness of violence was totally over the top.
Characters seemed to inflict or have inflicted upon them fatal injuries, yet somehow still survive. There are practically no redeeming people - They are all utterly vile.
To top it all off, this is the first in a trilogy - so there's no resolution.
Please don't buy this
This book is one of the most fast paced books I have ever read, and I read a lot of books. The tension ratchets up at the beginning and stays there until the last page. It is wall to wall action with a strong storyline and plot. At some points you do need to remember this is fiction and just go with the flow. Artistic license is allowed when writing books. Yes, some of the plot points may be a little implausible but I don't feel this in anyway detracts from the book. The characters were excellent and I found myself drawn to them, liking them and hating them in turn. A strong first book and a great new author For me to read. I look forward to reading the next 2 books in the trilogy. I went to buy them but unfortunately they are not out as yet. I will be buying them as soon as they are
USS Alcatraz (Locust Trilogy)by Philip Robinson sounded like my perfect book to read. The Kraken Corporation oversteps countless ethical and moral boundaries but when the future heir to Kraken, Emma Baine, announces her intention to end the corporation's history of profiteering and murder, a bomb explodes on the rostrum killing her instantly. The assassination was arranged by Emma's brother Carson so as he can take over the firm. Anybody who stands in Carson's way can expect to find themselves onboard the USS Alcatraz, an old Russian nuclear submarine refitted into a futuristic underwater prison for what remains of their future courtesy of Kraken's "private army". While Kraken's business practices are "ignored" by the powers that be in Government, one man is not prepared to leave the murder of Emma Baine unjudged. Ex-Marine Vaughan was Emma's former lover and bodyguard - think James Bond type able to withstand torture, turmoil and then take out many people despite being outmanned - as he goes up against Carson Baine, billionaire psychopath and even worse than any Bond villain.
As a book, USS Alcatraz is all over the place - by contrast even the worst Bond stories had a common thread throughout. There are too many poorly developed characters, too many sub plots, jumps between past, present and future, an astonishing and unnecessary amount of violence and torture and far too many twists and turns for the sake of it - or so it appeared to me. What should and could have been an exciting, gripping thriller failed to live up to my expectation and just left me disappointed and totally confused. Having researched a bit more about the author I now realise that perhaps part of my disappointment was caused by me confusing Philip Robinson (who I haven't read before) with Patrick Robinson whose naval based thrillers I have always thoroughly enjoyed - and understood!
on 13 December 2012
I had this recommended and pre-ordered it. It was delivered to my Kindle on 11 December and I found it so exciting that I read it in two sittings. It moves at such a cracking pace that on occasions it left me breathless and it is so packed with action and densely plotted that I really had to concentrate, particularly in the later chapters. However it is a really thrilling read by a good writer and laced with a black sense of humour, which I really appreciated.
Philip Robinson was a new author to add to my collection of favourites. I had read a lot of his articles from the MOS so was keen to read his fiction.
To add him to my list of favourites, says from the outset how much I enjoyed this very fast-paced and well-produced thriller.
Large corporations are in fact taking over the world in a lot of ways as everyone knows, and in this book, we see how they can trample over politics to increase their own ever spreading power and funds. Kraken, aptly named, is a coporate monster with tentacles everywhere that produces profit. Rival siblings vie for control of their father's empire. Emma's vision is to do good while Carson her older sibling is just plain greedy and nasty to boot. Emma is about to annouce the end of profiteering and introduce new good works everywhere with the blessing of her father. However, thanks to a bomb, conveniently placed on the rostrum, she is killed in view of her finance, another Kraken employee, but supporter of her good intentions.
Blaine the elder falls into despair and evil brother Carson revels in his new found power, Using his father's grief as an excuse to sieze the reins, he imprisons everywhere in a huge ex-Russian sub underwater, including Emmas's finance who deliberately positions himself for capture and imprisonment. The fight is on. and on.....the action is incredible and I must not spoil this for the reader - let me say you will never regret picking up USS Alcatraz, your heart will be in your mouth in such precarious situations and under such excitement but read on...and keep reading. This is a real trip.
While this underscores the battle between big business and politics that constantly wages on, it is an adventure and should be percived as such, regardles of beliefs. It is after all, Fiction and at its best.
I am a fan of Tom Clancy, Clive Cussler, et al, so I thought that this might have been for me, but I was wrong.
I wasn't sure if it was meant to be an over the top Bond-type villain just without the sophistication; or a form of dystopia without the whole apocalypse thing; or maybe it was some kind of torture/slasher story - and even after finishing the whole thing I have to admit that I'm still not sure what the author was aiming at - except to put the reader off their dinner.
The story, what there is of it, consists of an unpleasant billionaire who buys a decommissioned US submarine and turns it into a prison! So far so very C Montgomery Burns, except if you have ever visited a submarine then you will know that there isn't much space on board so that drastically limits the number of prisoners you can have.
Anyway, once the prison is up and running it becomes the domain of the sadistic and torture, murder and mutilation (though not necessarily in that order) become the order of the day - but why?
One thing I can say is that the litany of OTT brutality and gruesomeness cannot replace the lack of story or direction - the "Running Man" had survival and escape as does "Hunger Games" (which, to me, are extremely similar), slasher films also have these possibilities, "Prison Break" had escape and survival as well, with "Saw" and "Dexter" there was an underlying "justice" and so on, but here there is no hope and, unfortunately, no likeable character(s) for you to pull for. This is brutality for brutality's sake - one objectionable stomach churning act after another, without rhyme or reason, right through to the end of the book.
This is the first part of a trilogy and I can say now, with full conviction, that I will not be looking for the next two books.
In many ways, USS Alcatraz owes much to the action films we all loved in the 1980s. The evil head of a corporation wants to bury his company's past, by burying everyone that can expose him, before a run for the US Presidency. Unfortunately, in the process he manages to somewhat annoy one of those manly men with a set of very special skills that no only allow him to withstand torture and injury that would kill a normal man, but also enable him to be lethally effective whenever the chance arises, even if outnumbered.
So far, so clichéd, but the book is extremely well written for an entry in this genre of thriller. The pace is maintained throughout, the plotting is tight and the action described with flair. Plenty of technical detail adds a layer of verisimilitude to proceedings, with weapons almost obsessively described and the risks of overloading a long-dormant Soviet nuclear submarine reactor made absolutely clear.
The book is advertised as part of the "Locust Trilogy"; on this evidence, the remaining books in the series will be well worth a read.
on 11 December 2012
this was thrilling, from start to finish - a great, dark roller-coaster story. The characters, especially the bad guys, are brilliant - larger than life, but horribly real. The writing is excellent, funny, gripping. Robinson is unlike any thriller writer I've read. He does his own thing, and his own thing is fairly extreme and mind-blowing. This is no ordinary submarine procedural - it's a proper, seat-of-your-pants adventure.
on 19 November 2013
This book started well, the big corporation and bit of sibling rivalry, but once we get to the crux of the story, the Sub as a prison, which was a great idea just think of the horror of being imprisoned on a submarine. The feelings of total helplessness would be immense. We got none of that just a big bunch of torture techniques or two characters, it just seemed to speed up. It would have been better to get more of a background on some of the later characters eg Wilson, Bunk, Spicer etc when the main man Vaughn and the terrorist, whose name has slipped my memory, you know what they are about why they are in the position they are in, the other people get about five pages to flesh out their story. A bit more about them and the stars would have been 4. I will give the second book a go when it comes out so it has intrigued me enough to get the next installment