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When an old air craft is spotted on a desolate Island deep into the Canadian Arctic, it seems a little unusual but nothing to be to concerned about. For the Russian's though it is a secret that could come back to haunt them from the days of the Cold War. They ask the American's for help, without filling them in on the whole story of the planes original mission. Covert One's Lt Col John Smith is chosen to lead a special ops team to secure the site and help the Russians out. After arriving on the Island it seems that someone isn't being totally honest and Smith and the team need to fight for their lives till help can arrive.
Obviously having been a huge fan of Robert Ludlum I felt compelled to pick this book up. The fist thing to remember though as that while it says this is Ludlum on the cover it's actually written by James Cobb, using Ludlum's characters. Like a lot of the recent releases Cobb has taken on the mantle of Ludlum's work and having read Eric Van Lustbader's efforts with the Bourne series I have to say I was a little worried that another author had dipped his hat into the ring to take on John Smith and the Covert One team.
Cobb is in fact the 4th author to take on the Covert One series since Ludlum's death and I have to admit I was pleasantly surprised. He has managed to stay quite true to the series and keep the books on a decent and incredibly addictive platform. Unlike Van Lustbader and the Bourne series, Cobb has ensured that he kept to the principles of this series, but also ensured that he created a decent, entertaining and interesting story that keeps you hooked from start to finish.
The plot takes a little bit of time to get going but once it does I thought that Cobb really kept a handle of it very well. As this is one of a series he didn't just rely on hoping the reader knows about the Covert One team. Instead he gives little bits of background information on each character and covert One as a whole while the story goes on. It makes this novel accessible for new comers to the series and I feel this will make this novel a very good stand alone as well as integrating it into the series very well.
As the main characters were all by and large established characters in the previous Covert One novels it would have been easy for Cobb to just assume the reader would know them. Instead he makes sure to give gradual background information on each character as required. This gives you a very detailed picture of Lt Col John Smith even if this is the first time you've read a book with him as a main character. The new character's as well are incredibly well characterised and you get an idea for all the characters involved in the story and that even helps with the flow of the plot.
I have to be honest that after my experiences with the new Bourne books I was very reserved about reading Cobb's take on Ludlum's work. It has however turned out to be a very enjoyable read and one I wouldn't hesitate to recommend to fans of Ludlum and Clive Cussler. It's an entertaining book that once the plot really gets going keeps you enthralled and I think that's the most important thing about books like this. Had he not developed the characters enough for you to care about them it wouldn't have worked as well, but I think he got it just right. Cobb is currently working on the next one in the series and I for one am looking forward to it.
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