SAVAGE PELLUCIDAR BY EDGAR RICE BURROUGHS

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David Innes is visiting the tribes of his empire. He is betrayed by the king of Kali and taken prisoner. As this goes on Dian his mate is testing out a hot air balloon. It breaks its moorings and carries her off to unknown lands. What follows is your basic quest of the various parties involved to find one another.

It takes them to a land across the ocean inhabited by men with bronze age technology. Along the way there are new dangers, new people and new creatures.

This is the final book in the Pellucidar series. Actually it is a collection of four stories that link together. Three of the stories were discovered after Burroughs death and published posthumously. I thought it was an exciting adventure and a good addition to the series.

My final thoughts on the Pellucidar series. I really think it was a unique idea. I am always a sucker for lost prehistoric worlds. He created a rich land full of endless possibilities.

TARZAN TRIUMPHANT BY EDGAR RICE BURROUGHS

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The book starts with several different characters starting out at different points and coming together. First is Lady Barbara Collins who is a sort of Amelia Earhart. She is flying to Cape Town when her plane develops engine trouble. She parachutes out and lands in Midian. It is populated by descendants from ancient Rome who were fleeing persecution for their Christian beliefs. They have a very fundamentalist old testament view. They also have through centuries of inbreeding become epileptic and deformed. Barbara finds a friend in Jezebel who is a beautiful girl and hated by her fellow Midians.

The second is Danny ‘Gunner’ Patrick. He is a mobster from Chicago who had to flee for crossing the wrong people. He meets a fellow traveler and strikes up a friendship with Lafayette Smith. Smith is a geologist going to Africa and Gunner decides to tag along figuring there aren’t any cops in Africa.

The third is Leon Stabutch a Soviet agent. Send by Stalin to avenge the death of their agent Zveri from the last book. He gets captured by a band of brigands run by Dominic Caprietro. Caprietro is a staunch Communist who was forced to desert the Italian army for fomenting mutiny.

Into this comes Tarzan on the trail of Carietro’s brigands who he has heard have been causing trouble. Through a series of adventures the various characters come together, find love and escape from the land of Midian. Tarzan defeats Stabutch and Africa is once again safe from Communism.

The fifteenth is any exciting book in the series. I love how Burroughs can bring together various plot threads. There is actually an appearance by Uncle Joe Stalin himself as a character. This is the only time that Burroughs ever used a real life character is his books.

Anyway this was another enjoyable book in the Tarzan series.

FOOTFALL BY LARRY NIVEN AND JERRY POURNELLE

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The Fithp an alien race that resemble baby elephants have come to Earth to conquer. They are a herd mentality species. In their world when two herds meet they fight one another until the one surrenders. Then the losing herd is incorporated into the winning herd. The Fithp seem confused when humans attempt to initiate peaceful contact first. Also the humans seem to not know how to properly surrender.

The initial acts of the Fithp is to destroy the space station in orbit then bomb all the bridges, dams and roads on the planet. They then follow with an invasion of Kansas demanding complete submission. The U.S. and Soviets respond with a nuclear attack on Kansas to drive them off. The Fithp retaliate by dropping a large asteroid into the Indian ocean killing millions. A successful invasion of Africa follows.

The only chance for the humans is to build a ship powered by nuclear explosions to take on the mother ship in orbit.

The cover says that this is probably the finest novel of alien invasion ever written and I agree. I received the hardcover edition as a Christmas present back in 1985. It made me a fan of Niven and Pournelle. I have since read many of their books. This is probably my favorite.

What I like is that the aliens are truly alien. They have a completely different physical and psychological makeup yet each character has his own emotions and personality. The cast of characters both alien and human is diverse. The technology sounds realistic and plausible. The Orion ship powered by nuclear explosions is actually a real concept.

So if you like epic alien invasion stories than this is a must have for your library.

LAND OF TERROR BY EDGAR RICE BURROUGHS

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The sixth series in the Pellucidar series finds David returning from his expedition to find Von Horst. He is captured by the women of Oog. Oog is a land were the roles of women and men are reversed. He manages to escape but then fall into captivity by the Jukans.

It is here that David is reunited with his mate Dian. She had set out to find David and was also captured by the Jukans. They both escape and have further adventures with giant men, giant ants and floating islands before reaching their home of Sari.

The final Pellucidar novel that was published in Burroughs lifetime. The story was a solid adventure if not distinguishing itself in any special way. I would place this in the good not great category.

THE WAR AFTER ARMAGEDDON BY RALPH PETERS

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In the near future Israel has been destroyed by a nuclear attack from Iran. Terrorists have exploded dirty bombs in a dozen major European cities causing a backlash against the Muslim population. The result is a mass expulsion of Muslims from the continent. Nuclear bombs go off in Las Vegas and Los Angeles.

The terrorist attacks bring into power a fundamentalist Christian government. Their goal is the liberation of the holy lands from the infidel. The government forms a new branch of the military, the Military Order of the Brothers in Christ (MOBIC).

The book opens with General Flintlock Harris off the coast of the former state of Israel now known as the Emirate of Al Quds and Damaskus. Harris is the commander of the regular Army and Marine contingent. His moniker is from his insistence on his soldiers learning old fashion skills like reading a map. This comes in handy on this battlefield. Computer viruses, EMP bombs and electronic jamming reduces the battle to World War II level.

Harris’s main threat isn’t the jihadists that he fights. It is the MOBIC allies that want to replace the Army and Marines as America’s sole military force. Harris wants the desperately prove the worth of his beloved army. Unfortunately he fails to realize that the government and constitution he has sworn to protect no longer exist. A nuclear attack by the jihadists unleashes a genocidal war and an ultimate betrayal of Harris and his command.

Well this is a pretty grim book. It has a real grim ending. Powerful but grim. I don’t really buy into the Christian fundamentalist government. Still he gets it right on the dangers of terrorism and the growing spread of nuclear weapons into unreliable countries. Also his portrayal of the over reliance on high-tech that could be a disaster in any future conflict.

Like I said this book has a real downer ending. I admit to liking happy endings. Still this is a really good book. The various cast of interesting characters, realistic battle scenes and a fast paced plot make it a worthwhile read. If you can handle a very depressing ending I highly recommend it.

As I write this an insurgency that is more brutal than Al Qaida is gaining ground. I hope that the events are fiction but it does get one to thinking.

TARZAN THE INVINCIBLE BY EDGAR RICE BURROUGHS

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A strange group of men invade Tarzan’s domain. Lead by Peter Zveri is consists of a ragtag mixture of whites, blacks, a Hindu, a Mexican and a Filipino. Zveri is a Soviet agent and his plan is twofold.

First his men will disguise themselves as French colonial troops and invade Italian Somaliland. They hope to provoke a war between Italy and France. Communist agents will agitate revolts in India and North Africa.

The second plan is to loot the treasure vaults of Opar. A solid plan but for two issues. Zveri has the unmarxist desire to use the treasure to set himself up as emperor of Africa. The second of course is Tarzan.

La high priestess of Opar has once again been overthrown by her people. Tarzan must now stop Zveri and restore La back to her rightful status in Opar. Once again Tarzan must battle evil outsiders invading his land along with Arab slavers, savage beasts and even more savage beastmen of Opar.

The fourteenth book finds Tarzan back in his beloved Africa. I like the international intrigue with the Communists. It adds a new dimension to his story. Of course La and Opar always make for a fun story. This will be the last that either makes an appearance in the Tarzan series.

EAGLEHEART 3 BLOOD AND BONE BY C.T. WESTCOTT

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The final book in the fictional autobiography of Colonel William T. Bucko Federal Air Command.

The book opens with Bucko making a clandestine crossing from Detroit into Canada. The northern RIHM horde has come south and set its sights on Detroit. Once the river freezes over they can cross and overwhelm one of America’s major industrial centers for the war. Only Melodie Lane knows where the RIHMs will cross in force but she was shot down and is a prisoner of the RIHMs.

Bucko is the only one who knows Melodie so the government cuts a deal with him. A pardon, reinstatement into FAC as a Lt. Colonel and a sizable monetary reward. Bucko hooks up with the Maple Leaf Underground whose members are mostly strippers from the local club. Together with Chandelier,a the French-Canadian stripper and a teenage delinquent named Doone, he succeeds in rescuing Melodie and foiling the RIHM attack.

The second part of the book recounts Bucko’s adventures in Mexico. Bucko and Pugh starts selling arms with little success until he was contacted by his other old nemesis from his academy days Jerry Roast. Roast has it in for Bucko for killing his friend Befeeter from the last book. He betrays him and Pugh is killed.

The final part of the book is Buckos revenge on Roast. He also gets involved in the invasion of California to liberate it from RIHM occupation. It comes to a final showdown at Disneyland with Bucko preventing a detonation of a nuke. He gets his third and final Medal of Honor.

The third book in the trilogy is another solid read. It ties up all the loose ends. It gives all the major characters their moment in the sun.

My final thoughts on this trilogy. I really enjoyed it. It had a tongue in cheek sense of humor. The over the top villains and absurd settings made it an irreverent read. I think this is the only post nuclear series that was funny on purpose. I fully recommend it and will leave with the final words of the book on the main character.

The guy was a real piece of work.