Friends from Damascus
Amazon Price: $3.99 Buy Now
(price as of Jul 26, 2013)
An Action Adventure Story
Friends from Damascus, by Cliff Happy, is the story of a self-appointed team of anti-terrorism agents who become fed up with the constant red tape and restrictions that politicians and governments impose on them. Believing that it is their duty to stop terrorists from inflicting further casualties on innocent civilians across the globe, (timely story!) the team moves into action whenever there is a threat that the world's (self-serving) politicians cannot bring themselves to stop. Using intelligence from secret sources, the team chooses their target, makes a plan, and moves in to eliminate the problem. Of course, something always goes wrong, and the real story is how the team members deal with one another, and the ethical dilemma posed by working outside of the law to carry out their goals. Friends from Damascus is the first of a series of books, published in Amazon Kindle format. Although the story has its flaws, it is a great read and I highly recommend it.
What's It About?
Counter-Terrorism agent, and sometime CIA assassin, Talia Cavalieri is assigned the task of finding and destroying the Friends from Damascus. As the story begins, you are uncertain just who are the good guys and who are the bad guys. Talia has the same problem. She knows that this group has assassinated dozens of members of a Russian criminal syndicate, but she is not sure why. Could the Friends be involved with illegal trafficking? Or, was some of the Russian mafia involved in something more sinister than gambling, drugs and prostitution? It is Talia's mission to simply eliminate the Friends, and not ask too many questions, but, as her investigation deepens, she discovers more about the Friends than she ever wanted to know.
The story is well written and has several dramatic scenes of mayhem! The characters are developed as the story goes along, and the focus remains on just a few of the team members. Many of the other characters become prominent in the sequels to this book. All in all, I enjoyed reading Friends from Damascus. I do not usually read books in the action-adventure genre, but I made an exception for this one, and I am glad I did. This book was well worth the price, and my only real complaint was that I could never find a stopping point. A book that was supposed to provide a distraction for several days while I was on the road was only able to entertain me for a few hours because I simply could not put it down.
Not Perfect - But Worth It
That being said, the story does have flaws. The first half of the book is consumed with creating the threads that come together in the second half. I suppose this is necessary, since we have never met these characters before and a lot of exposition is required to get us where we need to be. It doesn't help that several of the main characters have more than one identity, and that is confusing at times. Eventually, the entire story comes together and the action begins. Hopefully, in future editions of the Friends series, we wont have to read quite so much backstory!
Cliff Happy, served our country for over 20 years as a Marine. He was stationed in some of the world's worst hell-holes trying to bring order and liberty from chaos and oppression. After retiring from the service, Cliff became a teacher. He currently teaches history and political science at a high school for gifted students near Hot Springs, Arkansas, where I imagine the skills he learned as a Marine come in handy nearly everyday.
Between teaching tomorrow's leaders and enjoying his retirement, Happy has penned three sequels to Friends from Damascus. Each focusing on a different (and very real) threat to life on our planet. If the sequels are anything like Friends from Damascus, I think they will be a great read!