The Lance – A Project Novel – Alex Lukeman
Reviewers: She Said – Gloria Lakritz / He Said – Andrew Valentine
In the frozen wastes of Antarctica, the Lance, an ancient weapon of unthinkable power—once lost and legendary—has been recovered. In the terrorized streets of Jerusalem, devastation is unleashed upon the eve of international peace. In the halls of power of Washington, D.C. a desperate plot set in motion during the final days of World War II has begun to unfold. Now Nick Carter and his team of deep black operatives from the PROJECT must race against time to stop events that will lead to the next World War. But to do that, they must first stop those who already wield the Lance. Book Two in the PROJECT series.
Review by Gloria Lakritz/She Said:
Sr Reviewer and Review Chair for the Paranormal Romance Guild
WOW! Alex Lukeman you have written one heck of a great series!
White Jade brought me into the world of The Project. I loved meeting Elizabeth Harker, who has the ‘ear’ of our President. She leads a small group of dedicated people at The Project. At our first meeting with her I knew what she stood for: Truth Justice and The American Way…Sound corny? No not to me.
Nick Carter has a second sight. This was left to him from his Irish Grandmother who had it as well. His left ear itches to warn him of trouble. It comes in handy for the line of work he is in. Nick lost Megan, the love of his life, and still hasn’t come to terms with this. His infatuation with Selena Connor has been the first awakening of feelings in him for long time.
Dreams of war and bombs and death keep threatening him. Selena has lost her family and was raised by an Uncle who was brutally murdered in White Jade. She has now joined The Project team. Elizabeth Harker, her assistant Stephanie, Ronnie and now a new comer The Shadow, Lamont have their hands full in this newest attempt stemming back to Adolph Hitler.
Mr Lukeman takes the reader from one end of the globe to the other, taking on the FBI, the CIA, Senators, Judges, and possibly even in the president’s cabinet. I remember mentioning in my review of White Jade, the action was so real, the descriptions so clear, I saw it as a movie in my head.
This book did not disappoint either. Not to give any spoilers but for example picture this: the President is giving a speech in the Middle East. He is doing it outside, all eyes are on him. Nick is close by as his bodyguard. The ground explodes from beneath, as a bomb has been implanted in the ruins and tunnels below. The ground gives way becoming a cavernous hole. Nick peers down and slides down to aid the President below wiping the dirt off his unconscious form. From above at the top of the hole, a man with a machine gun is shouting something about ALLAH and is shooting down at the President into the pit, while Nick throws his body over the President and begins firing shots up with the gun he carries ever ready… Helicopters are circling from CNN… Can’t you picture this??? Don’t you want to read what happens???
Alex, you take your readers on a wild ride. Your sense of humor is great… For example: Lamont is called the Shadow (for folks of my age who listened to Lamont Cranston every Sunday as the Shadow on radio) your sense of timing is wonderful too. Just when I need to catch my breath you let me.
But the message of this book is an important one to me as well. Being of Jewish faith I can only feel fear about Hitler, Himmler and the Third Reich. To think that this hatred had continued to grow and this filth continued to be fed for all these years brought my fear to the forefront. It was an excellent, page turning, heart churning story… Excellent read. Do you think I liked this book? WOW!
I await your 3rd release The Seventh Pillar to see where the gang goes from here.
Review by Andrew Valentine/He Said:
Guest Reviewer and Board Member for the Paranormal Romance Guild
Alex Lukeman’s follow-up to last year’s surprise thriller, White Jade, begins with a quote from Heinrich Himmler who led Hitler’s SS during WWII: “The best political weapon is the weapon of terror… Men may hate us. But we don’t ask for their love, only their fear.” And so begins Lukeman’s breakneck tale—the second book in his PROJECT series.
It’s a rollercoaster ride packed with smart, tough characters, a new breed of 21st Century Nazi conspirators infiltrating American halls of power, and an ancient relic with mythical power to conquer. This last is the titular lance that, like the Ark of the Covenant in the film Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark, bestows invincibility upon any army that commands its power.
Instead of a popcorn-bucket action movie plotline, Lukeman’s deft handling turns it into a smart political thriller worthy of David Balducci or Tom Clancy. He offers us a tight, well-constructed, un-put-downable tale that will have you turning pages well into the night.
With a nod toward Daniel Silva’s Isreali spy Gabriel Allon, Lukeman sends his own fictional counter-terrorism operative to Jerusalem. Nick Carter finds himself in shadowy backstreets fighting assassins, in a public square during a terrorist attack and on the Temple Mount to protect the US president. The several short chapters that make up the Temple Mount sequence are surprising and masterful, providing long ranging implications to the world the characters inhabit.
Each explosive scene offers a glimpse into the deeper mystery around the Nazi plot, while at the same time exploring Carter’s troubled past.
Meanwhile, back in the U.S. his boss, PROJECT Director Elizabeth Harker, is unraveling a political web entangling the CIA and the NSA. Nick Carter’s love interest from the first book, the brilliant and beautiful Selena Connor is back as well, tapping into unsuspected skills that help her perform an unexpected rescue which leaves her troubled by her own heroism.
While the action is breathlessly paced, it’s these three main characters that give The Lance its firepower. The relationship between Carter and Selena has matured and shows signs of strain; Harker is facing a devastating personal crisis that has shocking implications for her team.
Lukeman’s staccato-fire sentences are perfectly suited to his genre; sharp, pointed jabs that propel his story effortlessly forward. He imbues his observations with wry humor, like this, from an early part of the book: “On Harker’s desk were a silver pen, a picture of the twin Towers burning, and a manila folder. The pen had belonged to FDR. The picture was a reminder. The folder was likely going to shape [Carter’s] day.”
While Lukeman ups the ante in The Lance, he doesn’t shy away from the implications of his plot’s events. When Carter suggests to the president at the end of the book to take the quote that opens it and turn it on its head, Lukeman creates a solution that is at once chilling—with a message that the ends justifies the means—and, within the logic of the world of The Lance, is perfectly satisfying.
The back cover summary is the weakest part of The Lance. It fails to capture the intelligence, pulse-pounding action or deep heart of the pages between its flaps. The old adage has seldom been as true as it is here: don’t judge a book by its back cover.
Aside from this, this novel is full of thrills, thought and emotion. In the end, The Lance hits its mark.
Now that the reviewers have read each other’s thoughts…
Guest author Andrew Valentine and I have had a rare moment to share with you readers. We happily report that Alex Lukeman has wowed us again with this second book in his thriller series! It encompasses a six member team, working for a mythical agency called The Project. The Director of the ‘team’ has the ear of the President of the United States, and these small few are expendable. So Andrew have you caught your breath yet?
Hardly. I’ve been breathing into a paper bag for a week, after reading The Lance. It was so pulse-pounding, I had to borrow my mom’s heart medication. It had me turning pages so fast there was wind-chill in my living room. I’m telling you, G., this thing rocked.
I thought the description of Jerusalem was terrific. I’ve never been to the Temple Mount, but it seemed very accurate, like from the point of view of someone who really knew the place.
I thought what happens there (without giving anything away) was so well-described; it wasn’t just a professional piece of writing, but written by a professional at the peak of his craft.
And the action of that scene—it reminded me of something that happens in Tom Clancy’s Sum of All Fears. I really didn’t think what happened was going to happen. Did any parts of the book surprise you that way?
With this series, I actually do not know what to expect. I agree the descriptions are so vivid that I feel I am in that place. I feel I am seeing what the characters are seeing because I am there! But for the plot line… I just hold on tight and take the ride. We actually see this series so much in the same way. You mentioned Indiana Jones in your review today and I mentioned Indiana Jones meets 007 in my review of White Jade. This book I see The Bourne Series and now I picture Matt Damon as Nick and cannot get it out of my head.
I had communicated with Alex after I just finished this book when I was still gushy and still pumped with adrenaline; especially the scene with the President. This is a quote taken from his e mail
“I think the scene where the Mosque is destroyed and Nick saves the President is the most vivid scene in the book. It is my favorite. I wanted to do a book with Nazis to get it out of my system. The incredible psycho-pathology of Hitler and an entire nation is so disturbing and so revealing of the darkest side of human nature”
Any other thoughts Andrew or are you just jonsing like me for the next book The 7th Pillar?
I think you’re right—I can see Matt Damon as Nick Carter, totally. The action sequences in the Bourne Series (films) are on par; the Ludlum series of books, however, really went downhill after the first book (with a special low on The Bourne Supremacy). Eric Van Lustbader really breathed new life into the series after he took over stewardship—and some of the action in Alex’s books can be compared favorably to those. But I think Nick is more like Tom Clancy’s Mr. Clark than Jason Bourne, especially in Without Remorse, which gives the dark history of Clancy’s black-ops character. This character was played by Liev Schreiber in the film of Sum of All Fears. (Liev Schreiber also did a great turn, playing the CIA boss in the Angelina Jolie vehicle, Salt.) Having said all that, Matt Damon could still play a terrific Nick Carter. So basically, never mind.
And yes, I am TOTALLY jonsing for The 7th Pillar!
We have done it again Andrew… Gushed about this exciting new author… Made him smile ??? I am sure!!! Please to all that read our reviews, add this author and this series to your TBR List. Pick up the empty wine glasses Andrew… we are done here.