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The Art of War
By Stephen Coonts
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The Art of War

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The Art of War
By Stephen Coonts
Thorndike Press, Large Print (2016)
ISBN: 978-1-4104-8529-8
Genre: Military Techno-Thriller / Action Adventure

Reviewed by Boris Segel - February 26, 2016

Stephen Coonts is back with another action packed thriller featuring the combined talents of Jake Grafton and Tommy Carmellini. In this new book, The Art of War, Coonts presents a what-if scenario where upon tensions heat up between the United States and China over competing interests in the Pacific. As you will expect, if you've read any of Coonts earlier Grafton / Carmellini books, it is up to these two heros to prevent World War III from breaking loose.

If you've not read any of the previous books in this series, you can start with this volume, but be prepared to go back and start the series at the beginning after finishing this one. Depending upon how you count the books in the series, this is either the 11 or 12th Grafton novel, or the 6th Carmellini novel, or there about, as just about everyone has a different way of counting the books in this series as both characters appear, to various degrees, in most of Coonts' military techno-thrillers.

In this installment of the series, a lot happens - an EMP (electro magnetic pulse) blast disables Air Force One, the director of the CIA is assassinated, nuclear weapons are on the table, and the entirety of the American Pacific fleet is in peril from the Chinese. As events unfold, Grafton is forced to take on a leadership role at the CIA and he calls upon Carmellini to be his eyes and ears in the field. Carmellini is also tasked with leading the team that has been assembled to try to figure out what is happening, and, more important, how to stop it.

As with most books in this genre, some of the scenarios that Coonts proposes are of an exaggeration and border on the improbable - but in this day and age, who knows. There are a lot of nut cases in the world and it only takes one with the right tools to make everyone have a very, very bad day. Luckily this is a work of fiction, and Coonts has provided his readers with very clear good guys and very clear bad guys, so early on you can pick which side you want to root for. Throughout the action is fast paced, the technology used is well described without bogging down the story, and the main characters are well drawn.

All in all, The Art of War is a fun read that will enthrall action and techno junkies alike. I cannot wait for the next book to come out featuring the adventures of Jake Grafton and Tommy Carmellini, and hopefully the next book, as with this one, will be made available in large print at the same time, or close to, the release of the standard print edition. Happy reading, and don't forget to duck...

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