Shadow Tyrants is the 13th book in The Oregon Files series. This series follows Juan Cabrillo - also known as The Chairman - and his team, a private organization that take on difficult missions for the CIA, as they ride on The Oregon, the most advanced spy ship ever built. Two thousand years ago, an ancient Indian ruler possessed the Nine Scrolls of Knowledge, which could be used towards world domination if they fell into the wrong hands. The scrolls were broken up separately and now belong to the Nine Unknown Men, who are trying to achieve total domination. Eight of the men have built Colossus, a bio-computer fed by plankton with highly advanced artificial intelligence that could control any computer connected to the internet. One of the unknown men; however, has broken off with his own plan to destroy Colossus and wipe out all technology in the process as he builds up Vajra, an electromagnetic pulse weapon for India's military. His goal is to dominate humanity by freeing them from the tyranny of computers. While the Nine Unknown Men engage in a dangerous game of cat and mouse, the Oregon crew try to thwart them at every turn.
The story mainly takes place in and around India, including the Indian Ocean and surrounding islands. The Oregon crew follows the villains on board sea vessels, sneaks their way onto airplanes by hiding inside luxury cars, sidesteps security on an island holding people hostage from a fake plane crash, and even survives an active volcano. This story reads like you're watching a fast-paced action movie at the box office. The situations are outrageous, the villains make incredibly impossible demands, and the good guys use super-cool gadgets as they stealthily invade enemy territory. The dialog between characters is believable and keeps the plot moving along. This story would appeal to fans of big budget action movies, fast-paced action sequences, and over-the-top characters.
Hazardous Duty by W.E.B. Griffin
The Kraken Project by Douglas Preston
Scarecrow Returns by Matthew Reilly
Jessica Brown, Patchogue-Medford Library
Into the Jungle by Erica Ferencik
American foster care veteran Lily Bushwold is 19-years-old and living out of her backpack in Bolivia. With no roots or home, she steals to get by and runs around with other hopeless, homeless, young adults in the city of Cochabamba.
One night, while drinking with friends, she meets Omar, a native Bolivian from the Avechero village. For the last ten years he has been working in the city as a mechanic but he misses the jungle and his family. The two fall in love. One month later, Omar is called home to hunt the jaguar that killed his four-year-old nephew, and Lily joins him holding onto a romantic notion of the jungle.
It is five days away by boat. No running water. No electricity. No gas. No bathrooms. No markets. The men are gone anywhere from two to four weeks hunting food for the community. The women clean and gut the animals, prepare plants, wash clothes in the Amazon River, and try to hide whenever poachers come. And when Omar is out hunting, Lily is left to her own defenses.
The book is a literary thriller; the descriptions of the jungle bursting with sound and color. The story almost takes a backseat to the nuances of the jungle, the language, and the political and environmental climates. What makes this book even more interesting is that the author started writing it based on the ten years her friend spent in the Amazon.
The River at Night by Erica Ferencik
Ruthless River by Holly Fitzgerald
The River of Doubt by Candice Millard
The Lost City of the Monkey God by Douglas Preston
Lori Ludlow, Babylon Public Library
The Lost Girls of Camp Forevermore by Kim Fu
"And I shall love my sisters/for-ev-er-more" sing the five main characters before embarking on a kayaking trip that will test their civility and survival skills while reshaping all of their lives...forevermore. Alternating between the days surrounding a traumatic event at Camp Forevermore and vignettes of the main characters' lives, we are immersed into each of their worlds with several blocks of chapters surrounding an individual girl, punctuated with scenes of them as a group of young teenagers working together to endure a situation that no one could possibly be prepared for: their counselor unexpectedly passes away, leaving them alone in the wilderness with the knowledge that no one back at camp knows their whereabouts.
The camping trip that goes awry is not the biggest adventure the five girls go on in this book, as the author proves that life itself is humankind's greatest undertaking. We get to endure navigating school, family, relationships, loss, success, failure, and many other experiences that mold a woman alongside Nita, Andee, Isabel, Dina, and Siobhan. The reader will become easily engrossed due to the author's palpable storytelling.
Audience: Adult. Be wary about recommending for teens based on the title and premise. This book contains language, sex, and sensitive content.
Trigger Warning: Attempted sexual assault and sexual assault of minors.
Alternate Format: The audiobook version is performed very well. Each character's voice, both as a child and as an adult, is done believably (especially when all of the characters are conversing) due to the use of multiple, talented voice actors.
Garden Lakes by Jamie Clarke
An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green
The Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager
All Souls by Christine Schutt
Jessicca Newmark, The Smithtown Library - Smithtown Building
Denali's Howl by Andy Hall
In 1967, twelve experienced young mountain climbers mounted an expedition to climb Denali, aka Mount McKinley, Alaska's highest peak. Approaching the summit, seven were trapped by an unexpected storm which they did not survive. This is a fascinating account of the disaster written by Andy Hall, the son of the Park Superintendent at the time. It should be of interest to anyone who ever wondered about the attractiveness and realities of climbing.
The Ghosts of K2 by Mick Conefrey
Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer
Buried in the Sky by Peter Zuckerman
Jackie Malone, Bellmore Public Library, Retired
The Flight by Dan Hampton
Today we talk about going to Mars. A little over 50 years ago we talked about going to the moon. Just shy of 100 years ago, the ambition was a non-stop solo flight across the Atlantic Ocean to Europe. The potential for commercial air flight was recognized by many, so a French hotelier offered a prize of $25,000 to the first person to make such a flight. Although a two-man flight had already successfully crossed the Atlantic (from Newfoundland to Ireland), Lindbergh's flight from New York to Paris would be almost twice the distance and flown solo. Several people had perished in similar efforts, by Lindbergh - a "wing-walker," a parachutist, and an air mail pilot, among other aviation-related positions - had the mechanical expertise and a personal resolve that would allow him to design the aircraft needed to accomplish this unprecedented feat.
On May 20, 1927, a 25-year-old pilot took off from a smaller air field on Long Island (Roosevelt Field to be exact) - literally on a wing and a prayer. Through meticulous research and with a background in aviation, author Dan Hampton conveys the perilous endeavor that a young man from the Midwest took to advance the future of aviation. Hampton's narrative is so descriptive and thorough, it's as if you're in the cockpit with Lindbergh as he faces the elements, the darkness, the exhaustion, and a multitude of unknowns during the flight. From sitting in a wicker chair to calculating fuel consumption in his head; not to mention the absolutely blind navigation across the ocean once darkness fell; a reader will fervently turn page after page, hoping he makes it - even knowing, of course, that he does.
There are quite a few passages in this book that are quite technical and pertain to the mechanics and physics of flight, but readers should not let that deter them. The humanity depicted, the tenacity demonstrated, and the enormity of the accomplishment by this passionate and determined historical figure will linger long after you read the final pages. Skim through these technical passages if you like - comprehension of these details is not necessary to appreciate the totality of this exhilarating account of Lindbergh's heroic achievement. It certainly opened the door to the all-but-casual transatlantic flights that so many of us take today without giving it a second thought.
The Aviator's Wife by Melanie Benjamin
Chasing the Demon by Dan Hampton
Apollo 8 by Jeffrey Kluger
Fly Girls by Keith O'Brien
Deborah Fermosa, Northport-East Northport Public Library
The Ragged Edge of Night by Olivia Hawker
Fr. Anton Starzman's adventure begins when the Nazi army arrives at his Catholic school for children with special needs. It is the beginning of an adventure which Fr. Anton Starzman neither sought nor wanted. The soldiers remove all the students, strip him of his religious orders as a Franciscan Friar, and marshal him into the German army. His guilt at not having tried to save his students will haunt him until an act of defiance frees him.
Anton becomes a paratrooper but fakes an injury after his first jump and is discharged from the army. He answers a newspaper solicitation from a widow looking for a man to help her raise her three children. Although Anton plans to resume his priesthood after the war and Elisabeth is devoted to the memory of her husband, they agree to marry in name only. With children to care for a scarce resources, they struggle daily to feed and clothe them. Anton learns how to be a father and a devoted helpmate to his wife. Elisabeth slowly allows herself to care for him.
After some months, Anton makes the decision to fight for his deepest values. He joins an underground group, the Red Orchestra, and begins to carry secret messages to partisans in nearby towns. Their plan is to assassinate Hitler by poisoning him. The SS discovers the plot and Anton orchestrates a final act of defiance that may cost him his life.
Highly recommended for all readers of historical fiction and adventure from Young Adult to Senior. At the end of the book, Hawker reveals that her husband's grandfather was her inspiration. These events actually happened to him during the Second World War in Germany.
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
Beneath a Scarlet Sky by Mark T. Sullivan
Grace O'Connor, West Islip Public Library, Retired
The River by Peter Heller
Wynn and Jack are best friends who are close to graduating from Dartmouth. Both skilled outdoorsmen, they have undertaken a lengthy canoe expedition in the northern Canadian wilderness. The trip takes a bad turn when they spot a huge, fast-moving forest fire in the distance while they are still far from civilization, with no way to contact anyone. Soon after, they meet two creepy, drunk men who seem unconcerned by the news of the fire.
Traveling on, they hear a man and woman arguing on the shore, though they can see nothing though the thick fog. After a few hours, Wynn and Jack decide to go back to warn the couple of the fire but find no one. A day later, they meet an oddly acting man who claims his wife left their tent in the middle of the night and never returned. They search for and find the woman, Maia, badly hurt, but the strange man has disappeared. The woman is at first unable to tell them what happened to her, and Wynn and Jack realize that, if Maia's husband is responsible, they are the only thing that may prevent him from getting away with murder. It starts to become a real possibility that they are now being hunted with only one way down the river back to civilization.
The two close friends, who must rely on one another more than ever, begin to struggle to trust each other. In the past, their strengths and weaknesses have balanced each other, but the two men start to clash. Wynn sees the good in everyone and cannot fully believe that Maia was left for dead by her husband. Jack, still struggling with memories of a childhood tragedy, thinks that they must go on the offensive and kill or be killed.
The descriptions of fishing, camping, etc. are very detailed and would appeal to wilderness lovers. Readers looking for an action-packed adventure story might find some earlier sections of the book slow-moving. Though it is a fairly brief read, this would be a good book discussion title. The River was a March 2019 LibraryReads pick.
The River at Night by Erica Ferencik
In the Heart of the Canyon by Elisabeth Hyde
Descent by Tim Johnston
Norah Gillman, Cold Spring Harbor Library
The Last Wild Men of Borneo by Carl Hoffman
The Last Wild Men of Borneo by Carl Hoffman is an exciting story about two men, Michael Palmieri an American adventurer and art dealer Bruno Manser, a Swiss traveler and environmentalist. Both men share an unwavering longing to explore exotic lands. However, Manser ultimately winds up trying to save the Borneo rain forest from extinction and to protect the people known as Penan and their way of life. Palmieri, on the other hand, seeks only to sell Indonesian art and artifacts to private collectors. The story begins in the 1970s when Palmieri, to avoid the draft, leaves for Europe and ultimately finds his way to Bali where he stumbles into life as an art dealer. Manser leaves his native Switzerland, also to avoid a mandated draft, and becomes a sheep herder in the high hills of Switzerland before landing in the caves of Borneo. It is said that he became fascinated with the Penan people after seeing after seeing a picture of a tribesman in a library book. The author tells us that Manser learned their language, hunted with them, and spent many years living with them before he decided to walk into the jungle and was never heard from again. This was the spring of 2000 and no one knows for sure what happened to him. Some suspect that he may have been murdered.
Michael Palmieri was a pioneer in the business of native art collecting. He made many trips back and forth to Borneo beginning in the 1970s and many of the pieces he brought out of the country can be seen in local museums today. He forged a trusted friendship with the Penan and Dayak people. Both men met just once in 1990 according to the author, who takes his own journey into the Penan territory.
This was a good book, well written by NY Times writer Carl Hoffman, based on personal interviews with Michael Palmieri and the journals of Bruno Manser. Each man's story was explored and there were many details to digest, some of it not sol palatable like the time Palmieri's legs became covered in leeches after he walked through a shallow river. The alternative storylines for each character was jostling at times. The author took great effort to research and fully describe the location, the people, and the rich culture of the Penan, and the neighboring Dayak tribe. The book offers insights into the government and logging industry that were responsible for the deforestation where the locals once lived. Finally this was a story about two men whose love and passion for the Borneo region was legendary.
Finding Eden by Robin Hanbury-Tenison
The Lost City of the Monkey God by Douglas Preston
Jungleland by Christopher S. Stewart
Karen McHugh, Harborfields Public Library
The Mountain Story by Lori Lansens
"There's this rule of three," I said, picturing Byrd walking ahead of me on the trail, telling me about the rule.
"Bad things happen in threes?" Nola said, frowning. "I think we should stay optimistic."
"Not that rule of three. The survival rule of three. There's room on either side, but generally people say you can survive three weeks without food, three days without water, three minutes without air."
"Three seconds without faith," Nola said without pause.
The Mountain Story by Lori Lansens is a novel of survival, coming of age, sacrifice, friendship, and suspense. The novel opens with a letter from a father to his college-bound son. He feels his son is old enough to hear the tale of the five grueling days that he spent lost on a mountain in the freezing cold without food, water, or shelter with three strangers when he was younger than his son is now.
Wolf (Wilfred) Truly has had a difficult upbringing. His mother tragically died when he was young. His father is a low-life philandering drunk who falls short on employment, personal responsibilities, and parenting skills. When he was 13, Wolf's father gambled away his house and the pair move from Mercury, Michigan to the Tin Town section of Santa Sophia, California to live with is aunt and her many children. In his time since moving to Tin Town, Wolf befriended Byrd who introduced him to hiking and climbing. The pair spent more hours on the mountain than anywhere else.
On his eighteenth birthday, a year after the tragic accident that robbed him of his best friend, Wolf Truly, a seasoned hiker took the tram to the top of the mountain without food or supplies, prepared to take his own life at Angel's Peak. Atop the mountain, Wolf meets the three Devine women. Nola, a widow who came to commemorate her anniversary for the first time since her husband passed; Bridget, Nola's daughter. Blond, stick-thin, a bit self-absorbed, and training for a triathlon; and Nola's granddaughter Vonn, who's working through her teenage rebellion, dealing with family obligations, and an urge to escape her past. A series of missteps strand these four hikers. They must work together, learn from each other, and forgive one another in order to survive. Most of all, they must believe they will survive. As hope is lost, the will to go on is lost as well. As one day passes into the next, misadventures turn into nightmares and four broken souls form an unbreakable bond. The three who make it home alive will be forever changed by their terrifying days on the mountain.
This novel was fantastic! The story is told by Wolf and moves between the current situation on the mountain and Wolf's past leading up to the fateful day of his hike to Angel's Peak. The novel is broken up into seven parts: Before, The First Day, The Second Day, The Third Day, The Fourth Day, The Fifth Day, and After. The novel is a true page turner. You want to know each hiker. Lansens peels back the emotional layers of each characters' lives, revealing fears and regrets, personal history and family secrets, hopes and dreams, and love found and lost. There were no gory descriptions of violence or injury, but the author made it clear when it had happened and I felt the pain of each character. I could feel the loud wind and bitter cold, and lived in fear of the bitter cold and frostbite. There is a passage that alludes to sexual assault. Highly recommended to those looking for an adventure.
Girl Underwater by Claire Kells
The Cage by Audrey Schulman
Wilderness by Lance Weller
Nanci Hammer, The Smithtown Library - Nesconset Building
The Secret Token: Myth, Obsession, and the Search for the Lost Colony of Roanoke by Andrew Lawler
Sometime while I was in middle school, I had an American history textbook that introduced me to Roanoke, but only with one short sentence. That sentence developed my interest, and Lawler discusses at length why the disappearance at Roanoke still captivates people 400 years later. I felt intimidated by the lengthy book at first (lists of characters given before the actual text do that to me…) but found it accessible and engaging. It is ideal for those interested in but unfamiliar with early American history; Lawler defines and introduces important people and events impressively. Of course, no conclusive answer is objectively given, but the book is entertaining and makes a great pick for a substantial adventure read.
The Search for Atlantis by Steve Kershaw
The Lost Ark of the Covenant by Tudor Parfitt
The Curse of Oak Island by Randall Sullivan
Wendy Ambrozewicz, Patchogue-Medford Library
Arabella of Mars by David D. Levine
Unfortunately, before many months have passed after their return, they receive word that Arabella’s father has died. Unable to recover from her grief, Arabella is sent to a cousin’s house in the hopes that a change of scenery will help. But that cousin is bitter because the entail on the Ashby fortune precludes his inheriting any of it, and decides to strike out for Mars himself in order to kill Arabella’s brother so that he can inherit.
Naturally, Arabella is the only one who can stop him, so she disguises herself as a boy, gets passage on the Diana, a ship bound for Mars, and is off on her adventure. Along the way, she must learn all about aerial navigation, fight off space privateers, and defeat a mutiny, all while keeping her gender hidden. When they finally make it to Mars, there has been a native uprising, which Arabella must calm, virtually single-handedly. And practically before she can take a breath, she also must work out with her brother how to defeat the entail on the property so that she herself can inherit.
This is a great entry in both the steampunk and adventure genres. The action is non-stop (although it takes a couple of chapters for things to get moving) and the technology is very imaginative. Any steampunk enthusiast will love it, although the average reader looking for an adventure book may be turned off by the alternative history aspect. First in a trilogy.
The Daedalus Incident by Michael J. Martinez
Larklight by Philip Reeve
Retribution Falls by Chris Wooding
Mara Zonderman, Westhampton Free Library
Underland: A Deep Time Journey by Robert Macfarlane
If anyone had told me that I'd be grabbed by a book classified as science and that I wouldn't be able to put it down, I would have told them that they obviously did not know me very well. Science was not my best subject in high school and I had no desire to read about it on my own. Well, I was wrong! I was hooked on Underland as soon as I started it. I could not put the book down. Not only did I read it, I bought two copies and had one sent to a friend in England.
There was a clue to this book, which of course I missed because all I wanted to do is dig into the book, it is in the subtitle: A Deep Time Journey. The British writer Macfarlane pursues the subsurface of today's major environmental changes, following what trickles down into the Earth and what migrates upward from beneath. We can see they physical evidence of past thriving civilizations in a way that doesn't come through as clearly as the old textbooks. I regret that I cannot do what this man does. I don't have the bravery or the thin body type.
Horizon by Barry Lopez
Mudbound by Hillary Jordan
Under the Unbroken Sky by Shandi Mitchell
Outpost by Dan Richards
In Search of Monster Fish by Mark Spitzer
Kathy Carter, Riverhead Free Library
Marah Chase and the Conqueror's Tomb by Jay Stringer
Marah Chase and the Conqueror’s Tomb is non-stop action from page one where Marah is in the middle of the desert on a motorcycle quickly running out of gas while being chased by men with guns to the end where there are plane crashes, fist fights, and attempted assassinations. The story moves quickly with short chapters and characters always on the move. Because there are so many characters, though, it can sometimes get confusing keeping them all straight especially since some of them switch sides throughout the book. The history about Alexander the Great is interesting as well as the information about Egyptian gods and other mythology, but it’s often quite a lot of information so having a general knowledge would probably have been helpful. Marah is a flawed but likable character and the reader can’t help but root for her to pull through every tight spot she gets herself into no matter how far-fetched. Give this book to women who enjoy strong female leads (think Lara Croft) or men who appreciate action-packed scenes, shoot outs, and car chases.
Old Bones by Lincoln Child and Douglas Preston
The Dirk Pitt Series by Clive Cussler
The Sigma Force Series by James Rollins
Azuree Agnello, West Babylon Public Library