Welcome to my blog!

Welcome to my blog! This is my journey, my first steps into the world of fictional writing. This blog is an online journal of sorts, where I share the progress of my work as well as what I have learned along the way. I hope you enjoy your time with me and that my experience may be of some use to you.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

By the Book: Plague Ship

Welcome Back!
This "By the Book" installment marks a first for me. Until now, all the books I have read were within the same genres; either fantasy or sci-fi. I had never gone outside my comfort zone, never thinking I would be interested by something outside of those genres. Well, I finally took the plunge (pun not intended) and tried a action thriller by Clive Cussler and Jack Du Brul entitled Plague Ship.
I have a secret... I am jealous of my wifes' reading talents. Whereas I could spend a week reading a novel in my spare time, my wife has this ability of reading through a four to five hundred page novel in one sitting (roughly 8-10 hours). Her entire mother's side of the family are avid readers and spend a lot of time going through books like crazy, borrowing them from each other once they are done. I came across Plague Ship after Linda's mother gave us two large boxes full of books her family had already read. Lets just say we will not be running out of reading material for a while!
Plague Ship is actually the fifth book in a series which about the story of Capt. Juan Cabrillo; a man who leads a group of covert and wildly varied ex-military agents. They are a company for hire known as the Corporation, taking on missions that normal military forces would not be able to legally undertake. Their home base is the Oregon; a high-tech ship disguised to look like a derelict merchant freighter. In this story, the crew of the Oregon find a passenger ship abandoned at sea. Upon closer inspection, they find everyone on board was killed by a man-made virus. The storyline then follows Juan Cabrillo's investigation into the origin of this virus, leading him to a cult called the Responsivists. Throughout the story, readers are treated to a head-scratching mystery and to high-octane action. I greatly appreciated this book and would recommend it to others.

Back of the book:
"For four novels, Clive Cussler has charted the exploits of the Oregon, a covert ship completely dilapidated on the outside but on the inside packed with sophisticated weaponry and intelligence-gathering equipment. Captained by the rakish, one-legged Juan Cabrillo and manned by a crew of former military and spy personnel, it is a private enterprise, available for any government agency that can afford it - and now Cussler sends the Oregon on its most extraordinary mission yet." The crew has just completed a top secret mission against Iran in the Persian Gulf when they come across a cruise ship adrift at sea. Hundreds of bodies litter its deck, and, as Cabrillo tries to determine what happened, explosions rack the length of the ship. Barely able to escape with his own life and that of the liner's sole survivor, Cabrillo finds himself plunged into a mystery as intricate - and as perilous - as any he has ever known and pitted against a cult with monstrously lethal plans for the human race ... plans he may already be too late to stop."
What I learned from this book:
  • Knowing your source material: Anyone who knows me is aware of my dislike for being on a boat, so the fact that nautical jargon goes miles above my head is no surprise. However, I would not be surprised to learn if Cussler and Du Brul had served on a vessel before, because they have a profound knowledge of ships. This benefits the story greatly, making it all the more believable.
  • Action! : One of my biggest concerns when I try to put a story together is describing action sequences in a way that makes them interesting, rather than a simple retelling of events. This book has shown me how action really should function in a storyline. The authors succeed in making action tense and face-paced.
  • Foreshadowing: The authors successfully draws attention to clues that are important to the storyline, making sure the audience is not left asking themselves where this information came from when the "big reveal" occurs. Keep in mind, even though these clues are (somewhat) pointed out, Cussler still manages to catch the reader off guard.
  • Word Count: We often see the authors handing out information to the audience that is not relevant to the plotline. Most of these come in bits of character development or historical backgrounds. Though this information is not required, it does help the reader grow attached to the characters and the setting. I will be keeping this in my for my own story, as it may come in handy to not only create attachment, but increase my word count (as I fear I may be under the requirement).
For those interested in learning more about the authors, Clive Cussler and Jack Du Brul, please check out their respective websites here:
Clive Cussler:
Jack Du Brul:
In closing, I would like to thank my wife Linda and her family for not only lending us books, but for the tremendous amount of encouragement in this endeavor 

Until next time! 

Patrick Osborne

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