Sunday, August 22, 2010


By William Dietrich
Harper Fiction
380 pages

In the year 1798, Napoleon Bonaparte invaded Egypt in an obsessive wish to make himself a modern day Alexander the Great. What he did was not so much a great military achievement as much as it an academic watermark for history. As writer William Dietrich marvelously depicts, Napoleon actually help create the archeological science of Egyptology.

It is against these world altering events that Ethan Gage, the protagonist, finds himself ensnared and sent on the adventure of a lifetime. A former protégé of the late Benjamin Franklin, young Gage, a one-time frontiersman, returns to Paris as an entrepreneur with the goal of makingt himself rich. He is acting as an agent between various companies in both the newly independent colonies and their ally France. But this France is one still governed in post-revolution chaos, the memories of the blood stained guillotine still fresh in every citizens’ thoughts.

When Gage wins a very odd looking medallion of Egyptian origin from a luckless soldier in a card game, he soon finds himself the target of deadly, mysterious factions. His favorite brothel mistress is murdered and evidence planted to indict him. A journalist companion suggests he join a group of scientist traveling with Napoleon to Egypt for the grand invasion and Gage is only too eager to accept the protection of the little corporal to evade the Paris police.

Once in the land of the Pharaohs, he becomes even more ensnared in the mystery of the medallion and that of an exotic beauty who may hold the key to its meaning. But is she a friend or foe? Does the medallion contain the means of unlocking the power of the great pyramids and if so, can this power be harnessed by human will? NAPOLEON’S PYRAMID is a wonderful historical adventure and Ethan Gage, surviving by his wits and courage, proves to be a bona fide colonial version of Indiana Jones. The story is a mystery, thriller and historical travelogue all rolled into one glorious package. It is a fun read that delivers what the title promises; an original, one of a kind adventure.

Friday, August 13, 2010


By Dan Schwartz
142 pages

This is easily one of the funniest and most original takes on superheroes I’ve ever read. Dan Schwartz, in this little self-published gem, delivers a twisted tale of heroics, dastardly villainy and outrageous puns that had me crying in tears.

In the wondrous city of Utopolis, crime has all but vanished completely thanks the Seven Deadlies, a super hero team formed by the mental wizard, Mind Manners. And it is the most eclectic group of costumed characters ever assembled, from Tidal Rush who controls water, to the genius British caveman Shrunk or the hermaphrodite Shocking Parts, a gorgeous woman…then again not. Her name says it all.

And as much as the comedy is prevalent, the action and mystery are equally realized. When a mysterious villain appears on the scene and begins to target the members of the Seven Deadlies, the suspense cranks up a notch. This new threat is one by one murdering the superheroes with apparent ease and the key to his insidious plot is tied to his true identity. By the time it is revealed, the plot takes a whole new twist. One that left me shaking my head and thanking the stars that I came upon this truly unique book.

SUPERHERO’S WELCOME isn’t for everyone. But if, like me, you grew up addicted to comics, this book is going to make you laugh and maybe even think a little. Dan Schwartz is a talented writer. One you should really get to know.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010


Star Trek-New Frontier
By Peter David
Pocket Books
436 pages

The only problem I ever have with Peter David’s unique and original Star Trek paperback series is that they appear too infrequently. Of all the literary spin-off series based on the late Gene Roddenberry’s science-fiction adventure television series, New Frontier is simply the best. All due to David’s easy style of writing and his marvelous ability to interweave characters from the other media with his own creations, chief of amongst which is Captain McKenzie Calhoun of the starship Excalibur.

At the end of the last book in this series, MISSING IN ACTION, we discovered that Xy, the half-breed son of Vulcan medical officer, Selar, suffered from a rare malady that caused accelerated growth and within weeks of his birth he had become a fully matured adult. The obvious implications being that he would reach old age quickly and die. As this new novel begins, Selar is contacted telepathically by an unknown race of aliens who claim to have the ability to slow down Xy’s metabolism and thereby save him. But they will only share this knowledge with her if she will kidnap another baby of mix heritage and bring it to them. The child they want is the half human/Thallian son of the late Si Cwan, ruler of New Thallon and his widow, former Star Fleet officer, Robin Lefler.

And if this wasn’t enough drama, once Selar flees with the baby aboard an ultra sophisticated Romulan spy ship, the ghost of Si Cwan somehow possesses the body of his young sister Kalinda and begins to advise Calhoun on how to pursue the renegade Vulcan and reclaim the stolen heir. The pacing is frantic and as always, David brings his colorful cast to life, injecting each with a truly singular personality that makes them stand out. Because he subtly allows us to see their inner motivations, dreams and fears, we become instantly invested in their predicaments when the action heats ups. Which is quite often in this runaway sci-fi thriller. As always, he delivers such a solid reading experience, the ending arrives too soon, even after four hundred pages, and has us wanting lots more.

Even if the Star Trek franchise is not your reading cup of tea, I still recommend you sample New Frontier. It’s truly a cut about the others and one of the finest continuing sci-fi series on the market today.