Ted Bell is not exactly a household name yet, but he has quietly
influenced our world. Bell is the former Vice-Chairman of the Board
and World-Wide Creative Director (impressive title) of Young &
Rubicam, which is one of the world's leading advertising agencies.
You've seen Bell's work at some point and have seen a lot of it.
You've probably even bought products because of it. Bell has now
turned his hand to writing, creating out of whole cloth an
instantly likable, totally engaging character named Hawke.
Hawke is Lord Alexander Hawke, a direct descendent of Blackhawke, a
legendary English pirate rumored to have buried a stolen treasure
on a forgotten island. It is ironic that HAWKE opens with
seven-year-old Alexander witnessing the murder of his parents at
the hands of modern day pirates bent on acquiring the treasure that
Hawke's ancestor reputedly stole from THEIR ancestors.
Flash forward to the future. Lord Hawke is fully grown, a decorated
British naval hero, and wealthy beyond imagination. He also has no
memory of the terrible event that he witnessed as a child. He is
experiencing flashbacks however as he finds himself in the same
waters where his parents were murdered. This time though, he is on
a secret mission on behalf of the U.S. government.
A top-secret Soviet stealth submarine has been stolen and appears
to be in the hands of a cartel whose aim is to overthrow the Cuban
government and launch a preemptive strike against the United
States. And the men who are behind this plot are the same men who
murdered Hawke's parents. Hawke finds himself racing against time
as he attempts to neutralize the sub, forestall the overthrow of
the Cuban government and, in his spare time, rescue his lady love,
who has fallen into the hands of the rebels.
Bell keeps his story racing along a triple track, injecting lots of
action and derring-do into the story. It's escapist literature,
oh-so-wonderfully done, and appears to be the first of what will
hopefully be many tales of Hawke.
HAWKE is what, in an earlier and more enlightened age, would have
been called a "swashbuckler" or a "ripping yarn." What we can call
it however is great, great, great. There are all sorts of terrific
influences here --- there's a bit of Jules Verne, a lot of Ian
Fleming, and a touch of Robert Ludlum. There's even a homage to
Robert Louis Stevenson's classic KIDNAPPED around two-thirds of the
way through, but if you blink you'll miss it. Don't blink. And
don't miss HAWKE.
Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub on January 22, 2011