Series: Blaine McCracken
Format read: ebook
Release Date: November 20, 2012
Buying Links: Amazon Barnes & Noble Open Road
Book Blurb (from goodreads):
What if Pandora’s Box were real? Blaine McCracken finds himself facing this very question—and the greatest threat to mankind—in his long-awaited return to the pageRogue special-operations agent McCracken has never been shy about answering the call, and this time it comes in the aftermath of a deepwater oil rig disaster that claims the life of a onetime member of his commando unit. The remnants of the rig and its missing crew lead him to the inescapable conclusion that one of the most mysterious and deadly forces in the universe is to blame: dark matter, both a limitless source of potential energy and an unimaginably destructive weapon. Joining forces again with his trusty sidekick Johnny Wareagle, McCracken races to stop two deadly enemies who want the dark matter at all costs. A powerful energy magnate and the leader of a Japanese doomsday cult both seek the ultimate prize for their own nefarious reasons, and McCracken and Wareagle’s mission to defeat them takes the duo on a nonstop journey across the world and thousands of years into the past where the truth lies in the ancient Pandora’s Temple, built to safeguard the world’s most powerful weapon. McCracken’s only hope to save the world is to find the mythical temple. Along the way, he and Wareagle find themselves up against Mexican drug gangs, killer robots, an army of professional assassins, and a legendary sea monster. The hero of nine previous bestselling thrillers, McCracken is used to the odds being stacked against him, but this time the stakes have never been higher. This ebook features an illustrated biography of Jon Land including rare images from the author’s personal collection.
In his world, trust came at a premium; it was a commodity to be brokered like any other and valued as much for its importance as the lack of it that more often than not prevailed. Thanks in large part to that, McCracken had learned long ago how to read people's intentions and see through the masks they wore as if every day was Halloween. He didn't know much about Katie DeMarco for sure right now, but he was as certain as he could be that she was hiding something she wasn't about to share no matter how much or hard he prodded. The key was to hear what she didn't say, conclusions to the truth gained by what he liked to call listening between the lines.
Greek mythology, energy sources, humor, environmental politics and terrorism, action, tragedy, midlife crisis, "Pandora's Temple" throws it all into a blender and the result is a updated political action thriller that is occasionally slow but carries you along on a crazy ride. To be honest, the action scenes were my last favorite and I tended to skip over them. That however says more about me than it does about the writing as I often skip over action scenes in books.
Blaine McCracken and his sidekick Indian (yeah, it annoys me too) have been "retired" for several years when the US government calls for their help. That mission has some glitches and Blaine is really feeling his age (60, I think, but I can't find the reference) and wondering if he, and Indian, are too old for this kind of work. That is something that pops up periodically during the book and it was a touch that I really liked. There's not a lot characterization for Blaine, or Indian, so this added some depth and realism to his character. He can do just about anything - martial arts, use various guns, multi-task, track in near-impossible conditions, etc. He does make some mistakes along the way but for much of the book, he's a super agent, as is Indian.
There are several story lines going on and they gradually come together. There were some things that were predictable, and some that caught me by surprise. I loved the myth of Pandora's Temple and the way Greek mythology was worked into the story and Land also did an excellent job weaving in and explaining scientific concepts. My eyes only glazed over a little bit. :D
As I mentioned earlier, overall the characterization was weak. Katie's was probably the best done; Land didn't rush it but slowly developed her throughout and made her likable before revealing her less desirable traits, some of which I guessed. Is Katie one of the good guys or one of the bad guys? Yes. She's one of the few people in the story who isn't black or white. The two main bad guys are pretty much stock, cardboard villains. Captain Seven, now he was a lot of fun, and a mix of cliches and originality. He added much of the humor to the story and was also the mouthpiece for some of the scientific info dumping.
There's a happy ending of sorts, the good guys prevail though not without casualties. "Pandora's Temple" is not earth shattering, even if the energy source they're chasing is, but it's an enjoyable, sometimes crazy ride that provides several hours of enjoyment and a bit of education. I will probably read more in this series.
This is the most recent book featuring the team of McCracken and Indian but I'm not sure how many prior books there were; neither the author's site nor goodreads had useful information. I had no trouble reading it as a stand-alone.
Some quotes I enjoyed:
"I've been dealing with the impossible for what seems like my whole life. What we've got here is just a little more impossible than usual."
"The whole of the world hangs in the balance, Blainey." Level Six, thought McCracken. "So what else is new?"
Men fully prepared to die, who accepted if not embraced death, had been the hardest to kill from the time of the samurai.
Control energy and you controlled everything. And in dark matter Sebastian Roy saw the means to accomplish just that.
"You may be right about me trying to save myself by saving the world. Explains why these past two years have been such hell. You, on the other hand, chose to save yourself by trying to destroy as much as you could. Get the distinction?"
I received this ebook from the publisher for review.