Alex Hawke, Ted Bell’s popular cross between James Bond and Dirk Pitt, wants to die. When last we read of his adventures, in 2008’s Tsar, the love of Hawke’s life along with their not-yet-born child were taken from him. Warlord picks up the story a year later with Hawke attempting to drink himself to death. Then comes a call from his close friend, his Royal Highness Prince Charles, with a problem that only Hawke can solve.
(An Alex Hawke Novel)
By Ted Bell
In a matter of pages Hawke changes from docile with a death-wish to the in-shape and ready-to-kill hero that readers know and love. For the sake of his friend Prince Charles Hawke promises to find the killer behind a deadly threat to the Crown. With the aid of his trusted friend Ambrose Congreve he sets out on a quest to solve the murder of Lord Mountbattan – possibly committed by the same man who made the threat against Prince Charles. Meanwhile in Miami, Americans Stokely Jones and Harry Brock are at work infiltrating a new multinational terrorist organization, the Sword of Allah, after several attacks. Like all good adventures, the stories merge and we end up with the heroes united against a common enemy. And of course, the good guys win.
As far as action adventure books go, this is cookie cutter. The amazing, almost ultra-human hero, takes on problems with style and charm and on the way to saving the world gets the girl. This is James Bond minus the high tech weaponry. It is Dirk Pitt without the archaeology. As far as adventure books go, Warlord isn’t bad. The story moves quickly and the action is intense and satisfying. But not everything worked for me.
I was disappointed with Hawke’s attitude at the start of the book. Ted Bell attempts and fails to transition Hawke into a deeper character by detailing Hawke’s sorrow and loss. Readers are meant to understand the gravity of the loss by how far the hero has fallen. But how far has he really fallen? Hawke’s one page physical recovery and his sexual encounter with the first woman we come across in the book belie the real Hawke (and Ted Bell): shallowness is in their DNA.
Warlord is a popcorn novel, pulp adventure with little depth but much action. If that is what you are going for then you will be supremely satisfied. If you are looking for something more then look elsewhere.
Scott Asher is the founder and administrator of BookGateway.com. Along with his contributions to BookGateway, he reviews for the commercial site BuddyHollywood.com. His personal blog is AshertopiA – a land flowing with milk and honey… and a lot of sticky people where he cartoons and writes on current events and Christianity.
This book was provided by the publisher as a review copy.