Category Archives: Fiction

“Patrol to the Golden Horn”

Alexander Fullerton

I see it’s been a long time since I read the first two books of this series. In this volume Fullerton’s protagonist, Nicholas Everard, is sent on a clandestine mission to Istanbul to disable the German battlecruiser SMS Goeben. Most of the book is about Everard’s submarine journey through the Dardanelles dodging mines, patrol boats, and anti-submarine nets. It’s full of technical detail, the quantity of which occasionally gets in the way of the story.

“Night of Camp David”

Fletcher Knebel

In this 1965 novel a president starts showing signs of paranoia and plans to subvert the Constitution to root out his enemies. One might call it prophetic. What’s disheartening is that, while Knebel could imagine a president going mad, he couldn’t foresee a day when the president’s own party would pretend the madness didn’t exist.

“Night of Camp David” is a solid political thriller, but very much of its era. By which I mean twenty-first century readers might be offended by the way gender and race are handled and surprised by its portrayal of a functioning federal government. It’s a good read, but sad.

“The Strangled Queen”

Maurice Druon

This, the second book in the “Accursed Kings” series has the virtues of the first. It starts in 1314. Philip the Fair is dead and his son, Louis X (“the Headstrong”) is on the throne. The novel focuses on the power stuggle between the king’s uncle and his father’s treasurer and on Philip’s desire to rid himself of his queen so he can remarry.

“The 2020 Commission Report on the North Korean Nuclear Attacks Against the United States: A Speculative Novel”

Jeffrey Lewis

This isn’t much of a novel, however, it’s a very interesting book. The subtitle pretty much explains it, and for someone like me who loves alternate history and is interested in nuclear war (for which I blame 60’s Civil Defense public awareness campaigns — I was a weird kid who grabbed all the bomb shelter brochures at the state fair) it’s a fascinating read. If you’re looking for characters and dramatic tension you might be disappointed.

Yes our current president figures in the book. No, that’s not comforting.

“Winged Victory”

V. M. Yeates

The fact that it was written by an actual WW I combat pilot makes this book about the air war over France especially interesting. It’s not — quite — an anti-war book like “All Quiet on the Western Front”, but it’s not an entirely heroic tale of aces, either. The focus is more on the effects of war on the protagonist rather than on adventure and there’s more in it about life on the ground, friendship, and leadership than there is about aerial combat. Which is not to say the combat parts aren’t interesting, becuase they are, especially in light of the author’s experience.