Thursday, June 25, 2020

Book Review and GIVEAWAY: The Last Sword Maker, by Brian Nelson {ends 7/2}

Guest review by: Becki Bayley

The horseshoe crab was Eric’s reminder of the roots of his science.

He had been nine years old when he got it -- on the Hill family’s summer vacation to Cape May, New Jersey. His sister, Ellen, who had just turned six, was wading in the shallow water with Dad when she stepped on the poor creature. She screeched in horror and tried to bolt for shore, but Dad held her by the wrist, likely knowing exactly what had frightened her. Intrepid in the name of science, he had fished through the ankle-deep water with his free hand until, a moment later, he pulled up a handsome specimen of the Precambrian arthropod. He held it up proudly by its hard tail, its spindly legs moving in the air like typing fingers while its armor plates clanked and flapped about. Ellen shrieked with renewed vigor at this monster that was now joined to her father
who was still joined to her.

“Settle down,” Dad said, or some such thing, but Ellen was having none of it. She squirmed until she broke free and raced up the beach crying, straight to their mother. Dad had shrugged and lumbered up the beach after her, still holding his struggling prize. “Eric, I want to show you something.”

Eric was instantly intrigued. Cool, it grosses girls out!

The horseshoe crab had been marvelous to him even then. Dad had explained everything. Its beauty was in its simplicity: an armored exoskeleton with toothed ridges that protected its sensitive belly, primitive gills that had evolved only in horseshoe crabs—book gills, each with one hundred leaves. Water was circulated over them by the movement of the legs. The long tail, the telson, was used to right itself during mating
not for defense, as many thought. Simple. Perfect.

This was definitely a compelling thriller. The science in this science fiction felt possible, which made it all a little scary.

Official synopsis:
Book Review and GIVEAWAY: The Last Sword Maker, by Brian Nelson {ends 7/2}
In the high mountains of Tibet, rumors are spreading. People whisper of an outbreak, of thousands of dead, of bodies pushed into mass graves. It is some strange new disease … a disease, they say, that can kill in minutes.

The Chinese government says the rumors aren’t true, but no one is allowed in or out of Tibet.

At the Pentagon, Admiral James Curtiss is called to an emergency meeting. Satellite images prove that a massive genocide is underway, and an American spy has made a startling discovery. This is no disease. It’s a weapons test. Chinese scientists have developed a way to kill based on a person’s genetic traits. But that is only the tip of the iceberg. The success of their new weapon proves that the Chinese are nearing “Replication”—a revolutionary breakthrough that will tip the global balance of power and change the way wars are waged.

Now the US must scramble to catch up before it is too late. Admiral Curtiss gathers the nation’s top scientists, including a promising young graduate student named Eric Hill who just might hold the missing piece to the replication puzzle. Soon Hill and his colleague Jane Hunter are caught up in a deadly game of sabotage as the two nations strive to be the first to reach the coveted goal. But in their headlong race, they create something unexpected … something the world has never seen and something more powerful than they had ever imagined.

The Last Sword Maker is an exciting globe-trotting thriller with unforgettable characters that depicts a haunting vision of the future of warfare.

Once the plot and action started in this book, they didn’t stop! While there were several important characters, they all got their turn in the spotlight. This helped share the perspectives of spies for the Americans, scientists for the Americans and Chinese, a Tibetan man hoping to save his country and people, and an American Admiral highly respected for his personal strength in doing what needed to be done.

This book has elements to hold the interest of a variety of readers. It also says it’s the first book in The Course of Empire Series. The author points out at the beginning of the book that the Tibetan and Chinese history mentioned is factual. The science parts of the book are also consistent with research forecasts by current scientists (the story takes place in 2025). While the science is definitely advanced, it is explained well enough to make sense to the average reader.

Overall, I’d give this book 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for readers who enjoy political or military thrillers, as well as speculative science fiction.

{click here to purchase - only $1.99 for Kindle, currently!}

Becki Bayley enjoys reading, watching birds, butterflies and flowers, and feeling the sun warm her skin. She sometimes remembers to post pictures of some of these on her Instagram as PoshBecki.


One of my lucky readers will win a copy of The Last Sword Maker!

Enter via the widget below. Giveaway will end on Thursday, July 2nd, at 11:59pm EST, and winner will be contacted via email the next day and have 24 hours to respond, or an alternate winner will be chosen.

U.S. residents only, please.

Good luck!

The Last Sword Maker, by Brian Nelson


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