Detail—I loved the detail in this book. Van Lustbader clearly has OCD; he's obsessive and compulsive when it comes to martial arts, sex and technology. It's all described with amazing detail—fight scenes are littered with so much technical information that one assumes he is a practitioner of ai ki do and i ai do, for example. Sex scenes are so detailed that your average teenage boy (as I was when I first read it) would devour every word many times over before reaching... the inevitable climax scene. And although it was written in the 80's, Van Lustbader thrusts the reader into a hidden world where sleazy crime nobodies collide with ultra high tech US military and mysterious Asian power brokers.The cast of characters is huge. Van Lustbader seeks your patience as he meticulously reveals a very big global stage upon which he gradually introduces a vast number of characters. Adding to this confusion/depth (this depends on your attitude and what side of the bed you wake up on, I guess), he unfolds the story to you at different points in time and indeed, history, skipping backwards and forwards between present day New York/Washington, Cambodia under the iron-fisted rule of the Khmer Rouge as he rounds out the history, bad blood and motivations of all of the characters who are meticulously interwoven with one-another. Lead Character Tracey Richter is a flawed yet powerful man with a horrific past; respected, revered, despised and feared within many circles. He is led on a global roller coaster ride where he must balance death and destruction with managing his, at times, tenuous relationship with his girlfriend, Lauren. I developed a man-crush on Richter as a kid and I still have it today. He's warm tender and caring—he's very vulnerable. Then in an instant he's a heaving mass of testosterone fuelled machine, crushing bone (in absolute, visceral detail) and dealing out pain like he is the patron saint of hell.The book is filled with so many clichés that a lot of readers will be turned off by it. But if you're a fan martial arts and action/adventure and technology, or you're a 15 year old lad with plenty of "me time", I highly recommend this book to you.Cws
A long sordid tale filled with a lot of twists and turns. It carries an oriental spirit well that is not easily conveyed on the written page. I now also know more about the Khmer Rouge than I cared to know. The book was well researched and storylines not easily predictable. The tale could have used a better proofreader prior to publishing, but the story made the various typos and snafus worth looking past. Most telling however is the tale could have stood on its own without the occasional sexual interludes. Murder, blood, and mayhem levels are well within my standards. Definitely an eerie story. =)Theophilus (Theo)
Another hero by Lustbader. No letdown in plot, setting, or action. Similar to Jason Bourne, Nicholas Linnear, and Jake Maroc, but DIFFERENT. This time he takes you on a mission from New York to the ancient ruins of Cambodia on the trail of international assassins.