The Seventh Pillar – A Project Novel – Alex Lukeman
Reviewers: She Said – Gloria Lakritz / She Said – Penelope Adams
A fanatical terrorist has visions commanding him to begin the Apocalypse and bring about the End of Days…
An ancient brotherhood of assassins hidden for centuries reappears…
A truck carrying a terrible weapon leaves Sudan for the lawless mountains of Algeria and an unknown destination…
The PROJECT sends Nick Carter and Selena Connor to the burning wastelands of Western Africa, the back streets of San Diego and the bitter mountains of the Hindu Kush, before a final confrontation that will decide the future of Western civilization.
Review by Gloria Lakritz/She Said:
Sr Reviewer and Review Chairperson for the Paranormal Romance Guild
I just finished this book and I need a week’s vacation. I followed Nick and Selena and the guys at the Project in planes, over the dessert, in helicopters, from one end of the continent to the other. I have saved the free world. I am tired and elated as this newest book was everything that I thought it would be.
Nick Carter is my hero. He is dedicated to not stop until he has it right. He has many issues he fights privately, but his love for his country cannot be doubted. Elizabeth Harker, Director of the group has been injured and needs to recover from her injuries sustained in our last book The Lance, needing to sit this one out. Nick and Stephanie Willits (Elizabeth’s second) are jointly running The Project as Co-Directors.
The Project is a very small, not so elite group, which has our Presidents ‘ear.’ We are now at six with Lamont and Ronnie, who are ex military. The ‘quiet surprise’ to our group is Selena Connor, who from the beginning of this series has shown us she can do everything and more! So our group is tough and now has to even tough it up more when Ron and Lamont are injured very early in the game.
The British Foreign Secretary is murdered, and then headlines tell us a US Senator and his family is killed. At the scene of both deaths the murderers have left a Symbol on their bodies. Is it a telling clue? Our Selena takes up the reins since Lamont and Ronnie have been injured in Africa, and she sets out for Timbuktu with Nick. With her background in reading and translating old languages, she feels going to this place that houses a library of 13th Century Arabic Manuscripts might aid them. Now attempts on their lives are made and they come to terms with the fact that their lives are in danger.
These stories Mr. Lukeman tells are any day things that could come out of today’s headlines. We have a story which is so relevant to our times that it hard to decipher what is fact and what is fiction. What is clear as you read, is Mr. Lukeman’s excellence as a story teller, and how he creates a motion picture in your mind.
One of the most impressionable scenes for me was when Nick and Selena were grappling down the side of a precipice to take out some of the bad guys who thought they were in a safe house; the fact that we see sides of Selena since the rich nerdy prima-donna socialite Nick thought he met in White Jade. We stand back in awe as she has guns in both hands blazing, snarling with power. Nick looks over and is appalled at what he thinks they have created.
In the scene that finally takes them to New York City, (where I was born) I “know” in my mind where they are. I travel with them street by street and can see the Majestic City from across the river. I hold my breath at the final scenes of them trying to get to where they need to be, will they get there in time? As a reader I have sweaty palms and am holding my breath. Please do not miss this adrenaline rush. I, as a reviewer, hate to give you too much of the story. I wish you to experience this wild ride you will take as your own.
So Mr. Lukeman, you seem to have given us it all, Mystery, Thriller, Action, Romance. Yes, lovers of romance Selena and Nick have something going, but Nick, baby, even though it shows in your eyes, a woman needs the words.
Our ‘couple’ in the last chapter went to Nick’s remote cabin hideaway to rest and I feel the need to gather my strength for the next one you throw at us as well. Looking forward to it though. Hopefully the whole gang will be there at full strength and we can see what the bad guys can rustle up. As I said when I started, I am exhausted but elated, loved the rush.
Review by Penelope Adams/She Said:
Member of the Paranormal Romance Guild Review Team
The Seventh Pillar is Mr. Lukeman’s third book in his series about a government group called the Project, and the agents who work there. Director Harker was injured in the previous book and is now on leave, leaving Nick Carter and Stephanie Willits as co-directors. Three other people work closely with them, Selena Connor, a gifted linguist, Ronnie Peete and Lamont Cameron, both ex-military and the muscle of the group.
This time around, the British Foreign Secretary is murdered in London, and a strange symbol is left on his body as a clue. At the same time, Ronnie and Lamont are both injured on an operation in Africa and put out of commission. As Stephanie, Nick and Selena try to figure out why the Secretary was murdered, a US Senator and his entire family are murdered and another symbol left behind. Selena decides the best way to figure out what is going on is to go to Timbuktu where there is an extensive library of 13th century Arabic manuscripts.
Much to Nick’s dismay, Selena takes lead of the operation and off she and Nick fly to Timbuktu to begin their search. In Timbuktu, Nick and Selena discover that they are in the middle of a hornets’ nest and someone doesn’t want them to live much longer. The deeper they dig, attempts are made on their lives and Nick and Selena are once again fighting an unknown enemy against seemingly unbeatable odds.
Mr. Lukeman once again takes us on a ride that’s non-stop thrills from beginning to end. Think Jason Bourne meets James Bond meets Lara Croft, with a little bit of Mission Impossible thrown in, and crank up the action another notch and you’ve got Alex Lukeman’s works. The characters are an eclectic, high octane, live hard group of people, each as interesting as the next. The plot is action packed, full of international intrigue and thought provoking issues.
Nick and Selena are total opposites, yet exactly the same. If you met them at a party, you would never expect them to work, yet they do. Nick is a hardened ex-Marine who has seen and done more than any one person should in a life time. He deals with it well enough, but does have his demons. He isn’t classically handsome. In my head, he’s sort of Daniel Craig with part of an ear missing. He doesn’t have many people skills, but hey, who needs people skills when you have other talents? I sure would like to meet him; I think we would get along. Selena is beautiful, intelligent, can shoot a gun, fight like a ninja, scuba dive, jump out of airplanes and loves a good research project (I’m not sure if she can cook but, no one’s perfect). I truly want to hate her, but she just won’t let me. Together there isn’t much these two can‘t do, except admit out loud how they feel about each other.
The supporting characters are just as interesting, although they aren’t as much a part of the show this time around. There are some interesting developments going on with them and I can’t wait to see where they go, I’m sure it’s going to be fun. As usual, there are some really nasty bad guys to be brought down.
We find ourselves in some interesting places and Mr. Lukeman puts us there so well. We can feel the heat see the sights and hear the sounds of a small African city, experience the all encompassing loneliness of the desert at night and rush through the streets of New York. I felt like I was there with the gang and enjoyed every heart stopping moment of it.
While this is the third book in a series, there is enough background given that it isn’t necessary to read the first two, but I would highly recommend it, if for nothing else but that they are darn good books. I did have a few issues with the first two, but by the time I read this one they had worked themselves out. Selena’s ability to do everything well was a little much for me, but we learn she’s a bit of an adrenaline junky, that explains her constant desire to try new things. Nick’s inability to say how he feels out loud makes me mad enough to spit.
I recommend this book to anyone, male or female, who loves suspense/thrillers, action, kick butt men and women, political intrigue, things that go boom and a little bit of romance thrown in.
Now that the reviewers have read each other’s thoughts…
Penny, Thank you for joining me in Dualing the third in The Project series of Alex Lukeman’s, called The Seventh Pillar. White Jade and The Lance were reviewed by Andrew Marino, Author of Bitter Things and myself the first two rounds, and we found Mr Lukeman as an author not to be wanting. You have been most gracious to read all three in the series to prepare you for today’s review. You are up to speed on the whole series. Again we find our reviews astoundingly similar, and as Mr. Marino and I found you are similarly taken with this series.
I was most definitely taken with this series, so much so that I told both the men in my life – my partner and my son, they must immediately read all three books. One of the things that really stuck out for me was Mr. Lukeman’s ability to take us to the locales with his characters in such a way that I felt like I was really there. His descriptions were just spot on, not too wordy, but enough that you could smell, feel and see exactly what he was describing. His characters were also such an interesting group of people. I usually find secondary characters stick out to me more than the main characters, but not in this series. Each and every one of our team were such interesting people that I loved them all. Did I have little issues, of course, I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t, but none were enough to even mention much less take away from my enjoyment of this series.
So lets talk The Seventh Pillar. You mention Selena a lot. I do too. I find who she is in White Jade is someone we did not expect. Someone who translated old languages for historical purposes is one thing. Growing up with wealth, growing up with her uncle who showered her with good schooling and traveling has given her untold advantages in life. This has equipped her to be this super woman that you seem to be most jealous of… Hmmm, Mr. Lukeman has slowly moved her from this innocent young thing to the two fisted gun shooter than can stand with any soldier.
She is actually one of my little issues, more so in the first book than this one. I had problems believing an academic raised with money could do all she did. We learned in the third book she was a bit of an adrenaline junky, so that helped to explain her skills and why she would keep seeking out dangerous pastimes. I am now becoming a little concerned with her turning hard, she does seem to like shooting those guns. She is loosing her innocence, I’m not sure how I feel about that.
Yes, I realized the author slowly spoon fed us to accepting Our girls’ power. Jump from a plane, check… scuba, check and always great reasoning behind it. But that haunting scene when Nick turns and sees her with the 2 guns blazing… Our author gives her back her humanity with having her lose her dinner after the showdown. The last chapter at the cabin re-inforced it with Nick and she having their own conversation about it. Well I would like to see more of our team in action. Nick and Selena are a force now to be reckoned with. Mr. Lukeman can stick a pin into the headlines of any newspaper and have our next story. I wonder what he has up his sleeve?
I have a feeling we are going to see more of the rest of the team in the future, just a guess. I for one just can’t wait, since I read all three books back to back I’m feeling a little lonely now. Hurry Mr. Lukeman, may we have another please?
Good Night Gracie.
Alex again Thank You for allowing us to review your book, thank you for the wonderful story and please continue the saga
Good night George.
Now for a Q&A with the author, Alex Lukeman:
Will there be any new members joining the group?
I don’t think so, there are already more than enough to build up depth and keep tabs on. There will be a new relationship, fraught with the potential for betrayal, between Lucas (CIA) and Stephanie (Project). I’ve got plenty of other characters, villains and allies to deal with in the next book. Elizabeth Harker is back in charge.
You take us to exotic locations in your books, have you visited these locations in person? If not, what kind of research do you do to make them so real ?
I have traveled a lot of the world. Some places, like the Himalayas or American cities are familiar to me. I extrapolate from the many countries I’ve visited, the cultures, the food. Morocco, the Far East, Russia, Eastern Europe, London, etc. I’ve never been to the Sahara but I have been to the Mojave, so I use that experience. If I haven’t been somewhere I do extensive research, mostly internet, for details and pictures. For example, the plaza in front of the Hotel de Colombe in Timbuktu is as described. I use Google Earth (Mauritania, Algeria, the Hindu Kush). I research all modern weapons and equipment if I am not familiar with them (or it). I research historical facts. It’s important to me to try and get it exactly right without boring everyone to death. Part of the next book takes place in Moscow. I was there years ago. It’s different now and will require research, but I well remember Russia and its people.
Is your next book started? Can you tell us the theme or anything about it?
It is fairly started with about 8000 revised words. Stalled, while I deal with Seventh Pillar issues re Kindle. (The Create Space paperback will be out in a day or so). The book begins with a series of violent murders centered around four ancient clay tablets from Iraq scribed in cuneiform with lists of items from the treasury of Darius III, last King of Persia before conquered by Alexander the Great. They mention the Ark of the Covenant and contain a clue. The last factual reference to the location of the Ark is found in the Bible; it was seized as booty when Judah was conquered by Nebuchadnezzar and taken to Babylon, around 200 years before the Hellenistic conquest. Then it disappears from historical record.
Selena translates the tablets and sets the Project on its way. Maybe they’ll find the Ark, maybe not. I’m not writing another Indiana Jones epic. Nick is in for a very rough ride, which will stretch his relationship with the Project and Selena to the breaking point.
There are shifting sands everywhere, multiple problems, difficulty in telling friend from foe. Working title is The Babylon Secret, but that will probably change by the time I’m done.
No Thank you Alex. It is such a pleasure to read your books, and I feel like a groupie waiting for the next… Sooo The Babylon Secret…