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Book Review: Tsar by Ted Bell

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Tsar explodes into action when in the 1960s, the father of English espionage agent Alex Hawke’s father, himself a British spy, is killing some time before his next assignment when an assassination attempt on his life is foiled. This sets the blazing pace for the rest of the book.

Vladimir Putin is locked away in a prison built on the site of a former nuclear waste dump. Somewhere in Russia, the Dark Rider, the true man in power is hell bent on bringing all of the former countries of the Soviet Union back under the control of Mother Russia. He has the power and gumption to shut down the European economy and bring blood to the enemy Americans if need be.

Hawke is, by agreement of the U.S. and British governments, the only man who can stop the madness of the new Russian leader. He is on holiday and enjoying a secluded beach in Bermuda where he meets artist Anastasia Korsakov. She is the beautiful and witty daughter of the Dark Rider. Sex, murder, and bombs leveling a Mid-western town bring the story to wire-tight tension.

There are some holes in the research but, as a fictional title, that’s not a problem for me.
The character development and detail to setting are great, though they drag somewhat in some places. The alpha male character of Alex Hawke is a great in-your-face character that you’ll love. If Russia invading Georgia within the last few weeks leads to a new Cold War, we can only hope we have people like Hawke out there thwarting the real threat of terrorism, communism, and the new Russia.

Tsar is the first espionage thriller and book by Ted Bell I’ve had the pleasure of reading. Most of the book is lightning-fast paced, with the bells (no pun intended) and whistles you’d expect from a spy novel. You can’t go wrong by throwing Tsar in the basket on your next trip to the bookstore. I’ll definitely pick Bell again for my entertainment reading.

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