PIRATE - Ted Bell

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Lord Alex Hawke
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China and France have formed a deadly alliance – they are after the oil in Oman and from there – the world!
On the side of the good guys: intrepid Counter-Terrorist freelancer, British Intelligence Officer and all round English Pukka good chap, Lord Alex Hawke and his band of International merry men including man-mountain American Stokely Jones. Harry Brock, American agent, rescued by Hawke from the clutches of Chinese agents on a boat in the South of France is now part of the team. Legendary New Scotland Yard criminalist Ambrose Congreve needs to prove who murdered French Foreign Minister Luca Bonaparte's father many years before, he also needs to work out why a beautiful Chinese woman is trying to assassinate him. He then wants to make sure that he wins the heart of Lady Diana Mars. NYPD Lieutenant Mariucci wants to know why a couple of aged mobsters have been killed by a rather strange Chinese man and what the Leviathan, a huge ship sitting in NY Harbour, is threatening to do to his city.
On the side of the bad guys: Luca Bonaparte, French Foreign Minister promoted to French President when the Prime Minister and President are assassinated. General Moon and his beautiful twin daughters Jet and Bianca – agents of the Te-Wu – the Chinese Secret Police. Major Tony Tang, General Moon's pretty public face and Hu Xu, assassin, torturer, master of disguise and all round bad guy. Baron von Draxis is the German shipbuilder, owner of a hidden Schloss in the mountains, cruel and vicious lover of Jet Moon, who built Leviathan to be the weapon that the French and Chinese will use to bring the free world to its knees.
And that's just a start – there are more characters charging in and out of PIRATE than extras in a Cecil B. DeMille epic movie. Actually PIRATE is a bit of an epic book – at 514 pages, it's a doorstopper of a thriller that starts out at breakneck speed and doesn't let up even in the epilogue.
PIRATE really shines in a few ways. Great characterisations taking stereotypes and making them so big and wide and glorious that they become a homage. Congreve's stiff upper lip is so stiff it's a wonder he can shave in the mornings. Hawke is the bravest, the truest, the most multi-talented human being in the world. Stokely Jones is the classic huge man, short on words, high on emotion, faithful to the last. Then the action scenes which are over the top yet manage to never slip over into caricature. You can almost imagine all of the scenes actually happening. (Well, maybe not, but it's not so outlandish to be completely farcical.) PIRATE obviously has a political element to it, but at no stage does it feel like it's trying to make a propaganda point. As you'd expect from something as tongue in cheek as PIRATE – the suspected traitor in the midst isn't and somebody switches sides in a poignant change of heart.
PIRATE is a rip-roaring good fun, entertaining roller-coaster thriller. Read it and have a darn good cheer from the sidelines.

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