4 out of 4 stars
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The Date Farm by Jack Winnick is a further instalment in the series of books about Uri and Lara, two intrepid intelligence agents and their fight against international terrorists. At this stage the two of them are married, but this does not mean that they are able to relax and enjoy their lives for long.
The story begins with a horrifying attack and the massacre of a crowd of mainly teenage revellers in an upmarket shopping centre. As unpleasant and extreme as this is, it is merely a prelude to a concisely planned attack on the gold bullion reserves held in a secret location in America. The terrorists are threatening to blow up an American city with a nuclear device if they are attacked while they are occupying the building. Together with a SEAL team, Lara and Uri are despatched in an effort to stop the incursion, as it appears that the terrorists are actually after something far more precious than gold.
Things go horribly wrong and the two agents come face to face with an old enemy of theirs. This time, however, he has precisely planned the operation, and for a while, it appears that he is going to succeed with his plans, and that America's war effort in the Middle East will be severely compromised as a result of his success.
The action continues at sea and into Canada as the two agents race to try and thwart the plan. Then, the plot shifts to a date farm in Iran, where the two go under cover in order to try and find the valuable resources that the terrorists have managed to capture. Deep in the hostile desert and surrounded by danger, they also face the unexpected threat of a traitor at the highest level in the American network. Surprisingly enough, there is also some help from a source that they did not expect, as the action proceeds at a blistering pace, deep in hostile territory.
The story and the details of the plot are horribly realistic, and I am sure that portions of it may indeed be based reality. Narrated in the third person, it captures the perspectives from a multitude of viewpoints, including those of the enemy. This gives a balanced view to a story that may otherwise be criticized as being somewhat biased towards America, and unjustly prejudiced against the Muslim Arabs in general.
This book may well justify my ambitions to attempt to curb my reading habit. This is due to the fact that books which are written as well as this, together with such a riveting plot, are impossible to put down, resulting in a lot of other important tasks in life being neglected. There is nothing that I could identify that I did not enjoy about this book.
Although there is a lot of action and unpleasant events described in the plot, there is nothing of a graphic nature which could upset sensitive readers. Addionally, there are no erotic scenes or vulgar language at all. This makes it suitable for all types of readers. The only individuals who may be offended will be members of terrorist organisations themselves. This will be purely on ideological terms, and not from a religious point of view, as there are some compassionate and likable Muslims in the story.
Descriptions of action and events that take place are convincing and realistic. As proficient as they are at their work, Uri and Lara are not cast as superheroes and their success is also as a result of good backup teams and a bit of negligence on the part of the terrorists as well.
There are some details of technology which may or may not be in existence yet, however it all appears very plausible to me, as does the operations and the descriptions of both the American and the Iranian teams and organizations. This realism contributes towards the mesmerizing appeal and the plausibility of the plot.
At the end of the book, the author describes some details which may or may not be correct, and he also provides a fascinating and a chilling description of something that is shocking but completely true. I only identified one error in the entire book, which is obviously professionally edited.
Although there are numerous characters in the plot, it is easy to keep track of them, and the style of writing is compact and entertaining. Without resorting to detailed descriptions and excessive prose, scenes are still vividly portrayed. This is especially so regarding the descriptions of the date farm and the events in Iran.
I found this to be a wonderful addition to a series that I really enjoy, with characters on both sides of the conflict who are both entertaining and pleasant to encounter again. Without any hesitation, I have given this book a rating of four out of four stars.
The Date Farm
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