Monday, 9 July 2012
Rare Earth by Davis Bunn
Back Cover: Marc Royce stares out of the helicopter, a sense of foreboding rising with the volcanic cloud. Below, the Rift Valley slashes across Africa like a scar. Decades of conflicts, droughts, and natural disasters have left their mark.
Dispatched to audit a relief organization, Royce is thrust into the squalor and chaos of Kenyan refugee camps. But his true mission focuses on the area's reserves of once obscure minerals now indispensable to high-tech industries. These strategic elements - called rare earths - have inflamed tensions on the world's stage and stoke tribal rivalries. As Royce prepares to report back to Washington, he seizes on a bold and risky venture for restoring justice to this troubled land.
But this time, Royce may have gone too far.
Review: I love historical romance. I really, really do. But I can't tell you how excited I was to mix up my norm and read "Rare Earth". This book with its swinging right hooks, ruthless mercenaries, sweltering African heat, nasty political intrigue, and on-the-ground-action had me reading until 3 am. I honestly meant to only read the first few chapters, but I just couldn't put it down.
Marc Royce is unassuming. He tells his new colleagues at corporate Lodestone that he's an accountant. And they believe him. Why wouldn't they? He looks the part - the problem is, Marc Royce can look any part. With orders from Central Intelligence to stay under the radar and figure out who and what is responsible for the mess at the base of the spewing Mt Elgon, he is ignored as just another corporate tie - that is, until things start getting ugly and Royce starts throwing punches.
With a fierce independence that has his handler sweating bullets back on the USA homefront and a tenacious moral obligation to defend the abused, Marc Royce makes the decision to not just find out who is behind the lost billions, misplaced natives, and murders - but to single-handedly bring about justice. Royce is an oddity in his trade as he isn't in the business for money or promotion. A strong Christian, an effective leader, and a dangerously effective agent, this humble, courageous warrior is a fabulous lead.
In addition to thoroughly enjoying the character of Marc Royce, I was also suitably impressed by the research Davis Bunn clearly did on geographical Africa, the politics, and the tribal situations there. It's a good thing that this book is a fast and interesting read, as you need to be awake to really follow the tribal and political movements that are essential to the plot.
Oh, there was so much to like about this book! The fight scenes (awesome), the plot, Marc Royce, the mercenary Crowde, the pastor of the refugee camp - Charles... Of course, since this is a review, I do need to mention a few things that I didn't like quite so much. As much as it pains me to say this, there were a couple of grammatical and spelling errors (why!?). For example, 'fear' was spelt 'ffear' and multiple items were linked with 'and' and not separated by commas (ie. Marc and Kitra and Charles instead of Marc, Kitra and Charles). Minor errors, but still a little frustrating. I also found that Kitra, Marc's love interest, was a little underdeveloped and I couldn't figure out where Marc's depth of feeling was coming from - other than basic, physical attraction.
Overall though, a solid read that I would recommend. Just as a side note, this book is part of a series but I read it as a stand-alone and had no problems jumping in 'mid-stream'.
Rating: 3.5 Stars
This book was almost a 4 but the errors and the slight lack of character development demanded I lower its score.
"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.
Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group"