When we went to Laos in 2016, we discovered Jack Reacher and Lee Child’s series of books with him as the main character. We got hooked and remain hooked to this day ! I had been reading Eric Van Lustbader’s books for many years now. The whole Japanese martial arts inspired series – Kaisho, Ninja etc were classics and I have read and reread them several times. Then he wrote the Jason Bourne series … for some reason, I never read any of those. While browsing the Kindle Unlimited options recently I saw several titles from Eric Van Lustbader and the “First Daughter” seemed fascinating enough. Well, it was.
I completed reading it very quickly and then bought the next one in the series “Last Snow”. Outstanding fiction books and yes spy novels :). Its also interesting that “Jack” seems to be a favourite first name for fictional super spies or super heroes – Lee Child has Jack Reacher and Eric Van Lustbader has Jack McClure. Both the Jack’s are totally different. Jack McClure is dyslexic and its fascinating to see how he works on a problem differently from non-dyslexic folks.
The First Daughter –
Its about the kidnapping and brainwashing of the daughter of the President Elect, whose friend is Jack McClure. Jack is asked by the President elect to find his daughter and he does. Jack is an “Outsider”, has lost his daughter to a road accident and has nearly broken up with his wife. The President elect’s daughter and his daughter were close friends. Interestingly the story talks about religion in politics and some extreme views of the incumbent President.
A few excerpts that were very interesting –
“…The speed of his thought processes was somewhere between four hundred and two thousand times faster than for people whose brains were wired for word-based thought. But that became a liability around written words, since his mind buzzed like a bee trying to find its way into a blocked hive. Dyslexics learned by doing. They learned to read by literally picturing each word. But there was a host of disorienting trigger words, such as a, and, the, to, from—”
“….You see what’s happened here? Religion was invented by men in order to create sin. Because without sin there can be no fear, without fear how do you control large numbers of human beings? Add to that an elite theocracy that periodically issues edicts as it sees fit, in order to keep itself in power, and the definition of totalitarianism is complete.”
“….The Vatican acquiesced to Hitler. In fact, it rushed to knuckle under in 1933, signing a treaty with Hitler forbidding German Catholics to participate in any form of political activity that criticized the regime. After the war, it provided documents, false passports and the like, enabling Nazis to flee to South America, and no German was ever excommunicated for war crimes. The historical connection of the Christian churches with fascism is undeniable and a matter of public record. Hardly surprising, when you think about it. Totalitarianism attracts totalitarianism. Its members are absolutists— by definition, they cannot apologize for their transgressions. Think about it for a moment. Totalitarianism whether it be religious in nature like the Christian church or political in nature like history’s fascist states is all faith- based. Absolute faith in one’s infallible leaders.”
The President Elect’s daughter feels a lot closer to Jack than to her parents and she has several psychological issues to deal with. The book ends with the mysterious kidnapper being found and several crimes getting solved.
Loved the pace of the book and the way the plot unfolds. Definitely recommend.
Last Snow – Book 2 in the Jack McClure series
This book continues after the new President takes over and the Russian angle is brought in. A rogue element within the new government tries to make big bucks on the side of a major treaty and the drama unfolds across Russia and Ukraine. Again very fascinating and its a psycho-thriller. The heroine and her grandfather hatch a mega ploy to save Ukraine and so many characters get involved, but you never lose track of the plot. No wonder Eric Van Lustbader continues to be a best selling author because he knows how to keep the plot racing.
I completed both these books within four to five days and infact missed doing certain regular stuff today because I wanted to complete this book.
Some interesting excerpts from this one –
“….It’s not what you do that is your life, it’s what others think you’ve done, or not done, whatever the case. In this way, the truth becomes a lie, and eventually the lie takes on a life of its own, independent of you. Do you see how you lose control of your own life, because without quite knowing how it’s happened you’ve become what other people think you are.”
“….It reminded him of the classic conundrum of an explorer traveling through a country inhabited by two tribes. The members of one tribe always tell the truth, the members of the other tribe always lie. The tribe that always lies are headhunters and cannibals. The explorer comes across a tribal hunting party, which quickly surrounds him. However, he is unable to distinguish which tribe they represent, and now he understands his dreadful predicament. He needs to ask two questions: the first is, Which tribe are you from? The second is, Will you eat me? But whichever tribe the men belong to they are going to give the same answer: We’re from the tribe that never lies, and we’re not going to eat you. And yet the outcome will be polar opposites, either the explorer will be safe or he will die a horrible death.”
The ending is a bit tragic, but its also realistic in a way. Enjoyed this book thoroughly. And yes, you guessed it right, have borrowed the third book in the series to read next on Kindle Unlimited. This book too is highly recommended.
Fiction does attract me, especially spy thrillers. :):)