Reviewed by Phee Paradise
The Malacca Conspiracy
By Don Brown
The problem with global conspiracy novels is that they are, well, global. They usually have a complicated plot, a lot of settings and a lot of characters. I sometimes like reading a book in this genre because it is a challenge to follow all the threads and keep all the pieces together, but I need the author to help with it.
The Malacca Conspiracy is one of these books. A group of Islamists plot to make Indonesia the first Islamic superpower and use it as a base to take over the world in the name of Islam. The United States is its primary target. The plot is centered around the Malacca Straits between Indonesia and Malaya, which is a critical sea lane through which most of the world’s oil is shipped. It’s a fascinating and complicated plot, even though it seems the author has jumped on the Muslims-as-terrorists bandwagon.
The problem for me is in the presentation. Brown presents the story in short snippets, jumping from one character to another, one place to another. He doles out the terrorists’ plans in little pieces and presents the American response in between. In doing so, he introduces a myriad of characters and tries to make us care with snapshots of their personal lives. The Americans were fairly believable and I would have enjoyed getting to know some of them better. I think that would have been better done by telling the story from the viewpoint of one or two of them and letting the reader discover the plot as the characters did. Instead, he also presents the terrorists and their motivations, giving us an insight into an unfamiliar world.
This world of radical Islam did not ring true to me. The Islamists are motivated by their desire to see the Great Faith supreme in the world. But they are no different from any man with a great deal of power and wealth. They talk and act like Americans or Europeans. They smoke, drink alcohol and have mistresses. It seems a contradiction for men who are willing to die for a legalistic religion to ignore the rules of that religion. I realize that this may have been Brown’s point, but it interrupted the story for me.
Another problem lies in the technical nature of the book. Geography, military terminology and world of finance are all important players. Brown recognizes that his readers might not be familiar with them and solves this problem by adding frequent explanations. For example, when he uses a Navy acronym, he adds something like this: “… a term used by the Navy to mean …” The effect is that I often felt like I was reading a lecture or documentary.
If you like global conspiracy stories, the conspiracy might make it worth your while to read. Otherwise, I’d pass on this one.
Pros: Complicated and well thought out plot that will scare any conspiracy theorist. The author also weaves both Christianity and Islam into the story naturally.
Cons: Too many characters and a style that breaks up the story and makes it hard to follow.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Paying no homage to political correctness, DON BROWN’S writing style is described as “gripping,” casting an entertaining and educational spin on a wide-range of current issues, from radical Islamic infiltration of the military, to the explosive issue of gays in the military, to the modern day issues of presidential politics in the early 21st Century.
In November of 2009, four years after it was released, and in the wake of Fort Hood, TREASON rocketed to the top-selling in the nation on the Amazon.com bestseller list for fiction, and remained there for over a week. On Thanksgiving Day of 2009, all four of Don’s novels were ranked in the top 5 on the Amazon bestseller list for fiction!
DON BROWN graduated from the University of North Carolina in 1982, and after finishing law school, continued his post-graduate studies through the Naval War College, earning the Navy’s nonresident certificate in International Law.
During his five years on active duty in the Navy, Don served in the Pentagon, was published in the Naval Law Review, and was also a recipient of the Navy Achievement Medal, the Navy Commendation Medal, and the National Defense Service Medal.
ABOUT THE BOOK
Navy JAG officers Zack Brewer and Diane Colcernian race against the odds and a 24-hour deadline before nuclear attacks hit the United States. Departing from the sea of books barely better than soap opera romance and using the frantic pacing of suspense fiction, Brown glides flawlessly among global hotspots of terrorism--including the United States--and the book's principal settings in Singapore, Indonesia, and Malaysia.
The President of the United States orders ships of the U.S. Seventh Fleet towards the Malacca Straits to reassert control over the sea lanes, but with time quickly ticking away, will they arrive in time for Zack and Diane to survive this dangerous and final high-stakes drama of life and death?
Sign up for the contest above! And if you would like to read the first chapter of Malacca Conspiracy, go HERE.
Monday, August 16, 2010
Reviewed by Phee Paradise