Syren’s Song: A connor Stark Novel, by Claude Berube
As I was fortunate enough to be able to review the first novel in this series for the Naval Historical Institute , I was pleased to be sent the second book in the series to review as well. Berube’s series, so far at least, has been easy to love: full of action, an unlikely friendship between its hero and Iranian-born Damien Galzari that works like an awkward but wonderful good cop-bad cop action buddy movie (which is how I envision this series being made into a movie, if someone ever turns this series into a wonderful movie series). Berube is an author who knows his material, writing of the interaction between official U.S. government business in insecure parts of the world as well as the shady world of military contracting, with problems of trade and terrorism, as well as with the elegant crafting of a good adventure yarn. All of this makes for books that are fun to read for not only people like myself who normally read nonfiction, but for a great many others for whom books like this represent the way they learn about the outside world. There are many worse places to learn.
In reading a book like this, my standards are different than in most of the books I read. I’m looking for a good fast-paced story that has strong characters, good dialogue, and above all a great plot. As I happen to enjoy reading adventure novels from time to time , I look forward to a book that is far less heavy than my usual material, but that also offers food for thought as a patriotic American who has concerns about the well-being of Americans abroad and about the depredations of terrorists and others of their ilk. This is the sort of novel that is written about people who live a far more dramatic life than most of us, but where the plot and the setup are meant to speak to as well as shape societal concerns about life in an unsafe world. Novels like this, however light they may be compared to books about diplomatic and military policy towards other countries, are reflective of the anxieties and concerns of our time, and the hope that heroic characters are able to overcome whatever difficulties they face. After all, it is in our imagination where we often draw the hope we need to overcome adversity in our lives and in our world.
 See, for example:
 See, for example: