Review

Scimitar Sl-2

by Patrick Robinson



If Stephen King has in fact retired, I think I have found his
worthy successor. His name is Patrick Robinson. Robinson writes
military thrillers, probably more properly classified as naval
thrillers. And no, these are not books that speculate as to what
Britney Spears might be wearing tomorrow. We're talking
naval thrillers, as in big ships that can wreak havoc and
destruction from far away. Does Robinson write horror novels? No.
Is he as good a writer as King? No. What Robinson does do, however,
is tell a great story, and tell it well, and scare the living
vinegar out of you along the way. If anything, he is scarier than
King. We all know, even while reading a King novel, that serial
killer clowns don't come crawling out from under bridges, that
there aren't towns in Maine inhabited by vampires, or that trucks
don't attack people on their own. Robinson, however, deals with
real boogeymen, the guys who are out there, right now, plotting the
demise of you and me, and the United States and Israel, and now
even Russia. Between the nightly news and the possibilities
presented in SCIMITAR S-2, Robinson's latest novel, I haven't slept
in days.

Before I read SCIMITAR S-2 I didn't waste more than a brain cell or
two thinking about tsunamis. If someone had asked me to define
"tsunami" I would have stood up straight and tall as I was taught
to do at St. Agatha Grade School and said, "tsunami: a
really big wave that only occurs in Japan but that we don't have to
worry about in the United States." As it turns out, I would be
wrong. Robinson goes into great detail about the causation of
tsunamis, and about how the fixings for one that could wipe out the
entire east coast of the United States exists in the beautiful,
idyllic Canary Islands. If that isn't enough to keep you awake all
night, he brings a brilliant, deranged fundamentalist Islamic
terrorist into the mix, a guy who has the inspired idea to set the
wheels in motion to cause such an event to occur --- by shooting a
nuclear missile into a volcano.

Fortunately, Robinson has already created a hero to deal with the
lunatic. He is United States Admiral Arnold Morgan, who is blunt,
gruff, and to the point; a straight-shooter with a spine of steel
tempered in the fires of war. There is only one problem: Morgan is
no longer a United States Admiral. Given the boot by a new
president hardly worthy of the title, Morgan has resigned himself
to retirement until he receives a cryptic, taunting message from an
old adversary --- the very man behind the plan to obliterate the
East Coast. Knowing only that something big, dangerous and deadly
is about to occur, Morgan interjects himself into the pending
crisis, where he finds that his most significant adversaries are
not the terrorists who plot the destruction of the nation, but the
leaders who consider themselves anointed to lead the
less-enlightened masses to glory while ignoring the clear signs of
slaughter ahead.

Morgan and his former Navy colleagues do their duty, while Robinson
provides an over-the-shoulder view of how the job of intelligence
monitoring, gathering and analysis gets done. Robinson occasionally
gets mired in the exactitude of the weaponry hardware involved, and
as a result there are points in SCIMITAR SL-2 that read more like
Janes Weekly (not that there's anything wrong with that)
than a novel. This dry recitation lends an authenticity to the
book, which, when combined with the hard science of volcanoes and
Robinson's demonstrated knowledge of the way the world works, makes
for a thrilling and frightening non-stop read.

SCIMITAR SL-2 may well be the most frightening book you will read
all year, a novel that will bring even the most faith-challenged
among us to their knees, praying that the events contained therein
will never happen. If you wonder why Ed Koch feels that the issue
of terrorism trumps all others, read SCIMITAR SL-2 and wonder no
longer.

Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub on January 23, 2011

Scimitar Sl-2
by Patrick Robinson

  • Publication Date: August 1, 2004
  • Genres: Fiction, Thriller
  • Hardcover: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Collins
  • ISBN-10: 0060086645
  • ISBN-13: 9780060086640