on November 23, 2012
Having read and reread all of Jon Land's novels with rogue agent Blaine McCracken I was thrilled when after 15 years Blaine is back with a vengeance! This eBook did not disappoint and am looking forward to more reads with Blaine, Johnny Wareagle and Sal. Hopefully; they are back to stay!
on November 21, 2012
Pandora's Temple By Jon Land
Reviewed by Russell Ilg
Jon Land keeps the heat up with the best thriller writing you can find today. He has taken a break from the best series out there, featuring female Texas Ranger Caitlin Strong, to go all the way back to his roots by bringing back the legendary Blaine McCracken and Johnny Wareagle who'd appeared in nine previous tales that ended with 1998's Dead Simple. The McCracken series was the first Jon wrote, featuring the rogue agent the government goes to with impossible missions no one else would even think about taking on. Just another day at the office for McCracken who makes great use of the skills that made him an icon in his return to the page in Pandora's Temple.
I'm not sure if I've ever read a book with so many twists and turns and classic action sequences. Make no mistake about it, this is a huge-scale thriller with nothing less than the fate of the world at stake and nothing less than the most powerful force in the universe posing the threat. This as the ever-vigilant McCracken faces turning sixty and beginning to question his skills, not so much because they've eroded as the phone has stopped ringing. It's been two years since the government came calling, when all of a sudden Homeland Security approaches him with a mission to rescue four Brown University fraternity brothers from the clutches of a drug lord with hundreds of well-armed man guarding his compound in Mexico. The impossible rescue Blaine and Johnny undertake opens the book and sets the stage for all the equally redoubtable action to come. But all is not well, because one of the hostages dies in the process leading McCracken to further wonder if he's lost his edge.
That question is swiftly answered when McCraken, and Wareagle, learn that the lone other surviving member of their Special Forces Vietnam A-Team is missing from an offshore oilrig; the whole crew is missing thanks to some inexplicable phenomenon the same Homeland Security that sent Blaine to Mexico dispatches him to investigate. What he and Johnny find on the remnants of that rig lead to a global chase for the most powerful force in the universe somehow connected to the mythical Pandora's box (a jar actually, we learn). It lies in the equally mythic Pandora's Temple, the search for which McCracken and his team undertake in order to save the world while battling two groups of adversaries with limitless resources hell bent on getting their hands on the "dark matter" first. One is led by a billionaire energy magnate and the other the leader of a Japanese doomsday cult. Both are hiding terrible secrets that have long scarred them. Both will stop at nothing to gain the ultimate prize. But neither will McCracken who sees in a young female eco-terrorist an oddly kindred spirit. She too harbors scars and secrets, clearly a dominant theme here in a tale that's as much about healing as anything else.
Pandora's Temple takes off like a rocket and keeps speeding along at a breakneck pace right up to the climactic mountaintop battle that comes in the wake of confronting killer robots and even a giant squid that pops up to take a bite out of a mini-submarine McCracken has commandeered for the cause. The result is as close to a perfect thriller as you will ever read, immensely satisfying in pace as well as scale, as Jon Land proves beyond any doubt that he is one of the greatest authors of our time and the best action writer in the world today. Less than a year after penning a non-fiction book on Mob kingpin Whitey Bulger (Betrayal) and his best entry yet in the Caitlin Strong series (Strong Vengeance), he's back with the long-awaited return of Blaine McCracken in a relentlessly entertaining tale that's everything a thriller is supposed to be.
on November 30, 2012
When I first found out in early November that a NEW Blaine McCracken book was finally coming out after 14+ years, I was:
Happier than a witch in a broom factory.
Happier than a bodybuilder directing traffic.
Happier than an antelope with night vision goggles.
Happier than Gallagher at a fruit market.
Happier than a slinky on an escalator.
Okay, I think you get the point. Finally! After a 14 yr absence, a thriller featuring the return of Blaine McCracken & Johnny Wareagle. These two action heroes were last seen saving the world back in 1998 with Dead Simple. Jon Land was writing these over the top, end of the world, super-villain deluxe, pure action thrillers since way back in the 80's and 90's. Blaine was featured in 9 previous titles, and Jared Kimberlain (aka the Ferryman) was featured in another two.
Jon's last several books have dealt with a female Texas ranger, Catlin Strong (Strong at the Break: A Caitlin Strong Novel (Caitlin Strong Novels)). While I enjoy the Catlin stories very much, as I did the 7 novels featuring Ben and Danielle (for example: The Walls of Jericho (Ben and Danielle)), for me, the books that I REALLY wanted to read were the Blaine McCracken & Jared Kimberlain action novels. If you enjoy reading Matt Reilly thrillers like Ice Station: A Scarecrow Novel 1, or the Chess Team stories by Jeremy Robinson like Threshold (A Jack Sigler Thriller), or any of the Sigma Force stories by James Rollins like Sandstorm then you will enjoy this action thriller. But, keep in mind that Jon was there before these 3 excellent authors I just cited. In fact, it is because of Jon Land that I became hooked on this type of story and took chances on those 3 authors listed above when they FIRST came out with their titles. Jon paved the way for these guys. Pandora's Temple is a return to this type of thriller for Jon Land. I was in 7th Heaven when I first heard the news about this. I got hooked on reading Jon Land thrillers back in Sep 90 during Operation Desert Shield when I came across The Eighth Trumpet (Jared Kimberlain) in paperback (just picked up this thriller on Cyber Monday for only $2.02). That was it! I instantly became a Jon Land fan and have read all his thrillers since then (going on 21+ years now).
Did I like the book? You bet! I loved every minute and certainly want more! It was like James Bond on a sugar rush....Pure action all the way. Over the top? Yes and I loved it even more for that! Can Johnny Wareagle shoot 2 M-16s at the same and hit the bad guys? Heck yes he can! Go Johnny Go! A rollercoaster of thrills and action all the way. I pre-ordered this thriller at $9.99, but was really pleased when the priced dropped to $2.99. At this low price, I would suggest you RUN, not walk, and jump at this thriller as well.
Nine Blaine McCracken novels were published between 1986 and 1998. I haven't read any of them, but I gather that McCracken was once a CIA operative who, at some point, turned freelance. In the tenth book, Pandora's Temple, McCracken is pushing sixty and hasn't worked in a couple of years, but quickly proves he is still worthy of his "McCrackenballs" nickname. Yeah, that's really his nickname. Homeland Security hires McCrackenballs to rescue some kidnapped college students who are imprisoned in a drug lord's fortress. Homeland Security can't send in Special Forces commandos because that might disturb delicate trade negotiations. Apparently, Homeland Security doesn't think Mexico will notice the Hellfire missiles that an American drone fires into the fortress to give McCracken an assist. The missiles are probably unnecessary because McCracken is backed up by his buddy Johnny Wareagle, who carries an M-16 in each hand, firing both unerringly at scores of aim-challenged Mexicans.
The mayhem in Mexico is just a prelude to the real adventure. A drilling rig named Deepwater Venture, operated by a company called Ocean Bore, is in the Gulf of Mexico, drilling in an unlikely spot to yield oil. When the drill reaches a record depth, what it releases isn't a fossil fuel. The crew disappears in a flash of light, an event that (for no obvious reason) prompts Homeland Security to declare a Level Six emergency (end of the world imminent). McCracken and Wareagle, being retired and having no official connection to the government, are naturally sent to the Deepwater Venture to find out what's going on. I mean, why would Homeland Security send Navy SEALs to investigate a Level Six emergency on a drilling rig when it can send two old guys instead? Of course, when killer robots and ninja warriors attack the offices of Homeland Security (don't ask), McCracken and Wareagle are the only two people in the building who aren't cowering or dying, so they are clearly the right men for the job.
The mystery beneath the sea could be a new source of unlimited energy. It could be a weapon. Or it could be a force too powerful to imagine. I'll leave it to a physicist to decide whether Jon Land's explanation of the mystery is based on plausible science or gibberish, although my money is on the latter.
From shaky science to Greek legends, I was unable to suspend my disbelief of the story told in Pandora's Temple. Not for a second. The plot is outlandish and the characters aren't within spitting distance of credibility. I suppose that makes my enjoyment of Pandora's Temple a guilty pleasure. I'm almost ashamed of myself for liking it. The story is filled with stereotyped heroes (including Wareagle, the Indian warrior with connections to the spirit world, and Captain Seven, the dope smoking Grateful Dead fan with a genius for technology) and cartoon villains (including a reclusive billionaire who wants to control the world's energy supply, the leader of a Japanese doomsday cult, and an environmental terrorist bent on revenge). The plot is so absurd that it borders on comedy.
So why did I enjoy Pandora's Temple? For all the silliness -- maybe because of all the silliness -- the fun factor is supercharged. Actions scenes are vibrant. Many of them are unexpectedly creative and would probably look great on film. In one scene, Land found an excuse to put a sword in McCracken's hand, giving him a chance to play gladiator. Land's prose is unchallenging but never dependent upon cliché. The story surges forward with the fury of a hurricane and, like a hurricane, it moves in unexpected directions. As outrageous as the plot might be, it consistently held my attention. All I ask from escapist fiction is to be entertained, and in that regard, Pandora's Temple delivers. Guilty pleasure or not, I enjoyed every word of it.
on March 20, 2013
I was so excited when I discovered Jon Land had released another in the Blaine McCracken series. I even went so far as to purchase the kindle edition as well as the paperback!
I loved Pandora's but have to admit it took me a bit to come to terms with Blaine being 60.. (and Sal closer to 70!)
I know today's 60 is like yesteryears 40, but it was still a leap of faith in Jon pulling it off realistically (which he did in spades!)
I'm happy he kept true to the timeline.. It would have been too easy to conveniently forget their origins were in Vietnam..
on December 2, 2012
Pandora's Temple marks the return of Blaine McCracken in a nonstop action thriller that will hook you on the first page and
won't let go until the very last page. Blaine may now be 60 years old but he still has the action moves of a young man as he
takes on the bad guys whenever he has to, even taking on a giant squid. Even if you have never read Jon before take from some-
one who has read him from the start you will not be disappointed and will be hooked for good. Read him and be prepared for the
ride of your life.
on December 4, 2012
I think the test of a great book involves losing track of time while reading. Well, this one passed. I couldn't believe I'd spent four hours reading last night. Wow! I'm not even finished yet, but I just had to post this review. This is my first McCracken book, but it won't be the last! Cheers to Mr. Land!!
on December 7, 2012
I didn't know Pandora's box was really a jar and I didn't think Jon Land would ever bring Blane McCracken back to the page. I was worried early on that his trusty sidekick Johnny Wareagle didn't make the trip this time, but I was quickly proven wrong. Welcome back, Blaney, it's been too long!!
on February 20, 2013
I have to admit that I was a bit reluctant to read Pandora's Temple by Jon Land. The title interested me, but not to the point where I was actually excited to pick it up and read it. That all changed, however, when I read that dark matter would play a big part in the storyline. I have always been interested in the subject of dark matter and was intrigued by how it would be incorporated into this book. Therefore, I immediately decided right then and there that I would try it and see what happens.
Pandora's Temple is a continuation of a series of books by the author Jon Land with Blaine McCracken as the main character. The novel starts two years into McCracken's retirement (according to McCracken, What retirement?), when he is called to save four college boys who are being held as hostages. The culprit? A man by the name of Arturo Nieves Morales, head of the Juarez drug cartel. McCracken poses as a man looking to provide Morales with new routes to bring his supplies into the U.S. Of course, every person going undercover has to have some plan with which to foil his foes. McCracken, indeed, has a plan. So, after kicking some butt and showing Morales and his men who's boss, McCracken goes on his merry little way. Well....as merry as a rogue agent can be....
Cue Paul Basmajian, a friend of McCracken's, aboard the Deepwater Venture. An oil rig on the verge of making history, drilling to a level no oil rig has drilled before: past 32,000 feet. Mr. Basmajian senses that all is not as it seems concerning the rig. The location they are drilling, according to a cartoon rendering, shows no indications of the sandy sediment layers that signify oil beneath. He begins to wonder if there is something more to it. Something more to where they are drilling. And he is right.
A strange thing happens once the drill reaches past the target depth. A thing so bizarre that it causes the entire crew of the Deepwater Venture to just simply vanish.
The disappearance of the crew, along with the question of what could have caused it, brings McCracken back into the picture. He along with his buddies, Johnny Wareagle and Captain Seven, are called in to bring the situation to light. What they do not know is that what happened to the Deepwater Venture and its crew, is just a small factor in a much bigger plot. A plot that might, ultimately, mean the destruction of the world itself.
All in all, I have to say that this Pandora's Temple a very well-written novel. The action scenes were very vivid, and the more technical aspects seemed to be very well researched. Having never read a Jon Land novel in all my life, I was very pleasantly surprised to enjoy what I read. I look forward to reading many more books by Mr. Land, and hope to find each one as interesting and action-filled as this.
Recommended for people who love action, adventure, and a bit of science.
To enter for a chance to win an ebook collection of more of Jon Land's novels, visit:
on February 11, 2013
Jon Land in his new book, "Pandora's Temple" Book Ten in the Blaine McCracken series published by the author gives us a new adventure of Blaine McCracken.
From the back cover: 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 page
Rogue 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.
For all the books I have read I am sorry to admit that I have never read anything by Jon Land before. My error and something that I am going to have to catch up on in a big way-there are nine other previous Blaine McCracken novels out there. "Pandora's Temple" is one huge action-packed thriller from page one. The world is in deadly trouble, Greek mythology is involved and there is a reclusive billionaire who wants to control the world's energy supply. Johnny Wareagle and McCracken are up against it this time as their skills are really put to some outrageous tests including a sword battle in a restaurant. This is pure excitement. Mr. Land obviously likes to tell a good story, never mind all the flavors that he puts in it from Science Fiction to Ninja warriors this one has it all. You will not be disappointed with "Pandora's Temple". It is a roaring adventure from start to finish.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Partners In Crime. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."