3 out of 4 stars
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What do you believe would happen if a mineral was found that would cause a tenfold increase in gasoline mileage? How would it affect the financial markets? How far do you think the oil companies and the people in power would go to see that the discovery was never made public?
Billy Strikeleather had grown up on the Chinati reservation in Texas before he made it big as an NFL quarterback. When his uncle, Sam Longbird, called and asked him to come home because he required his help, Billy flew in to meet with him. Sam took him to the Rio Hot Springs on the reservation. Following fracking in the area, the mineral water coming from the springs seems to be killing the nearby plants. Billy recognized the taste as something he had studied in a geology class in college, called dysprosium. This is a rare mineral that can increase the mileage of gasoline considerably.
Suddenly, shots ring out and his uncle is critically injured. Someone is determined to keep dysprosium from being developed, and they will go to great lengths to do it. Will the Chinati tribe bow to the pressure from the oil companies and sell out to them? Or will they, despite the dangers, fight the oil companies, find another backer, and refine and sell the mineral themselves?
Ascending Power by Malcolm Gibson is an elaborate, thrilling, action-packed novel in the C/T/M/H genre. While narrated from a third-person point of view, the prose is straightforward and riveting. The author captures the reader’s attention from the first page and transports them on an exhilarating ride with lots of twists and turns to a mesmerizing finish. I found it very difficult to relax while reading it. The thrilling and unique plot represents my favorite aspect of the tale.
A rich array of believable characters are encountered in the story. Billy is a flawed character who made it as a quarterback in the NFL and had fame and fortune until tearing his ACL ruined his career. Regrettably, he turned to alcohol afterward, throwing his life and marriage into a downward spiral. He hopes to redeem himself by aiding the Chinati people. His wife, Leslie, loved the fame and money that Billy enjoyed but misses it after he was let go. She is considering moving on with someone else who can provide those things. Chief Whitecloud is concerned solely for his people. His goal is to bring the Indians together in a way that will sustain them financially in the future but without all the heartaches sudden riches can cause. Buck Olmeyer is the CEO of Trans-Nation, which is an oil company, and Dolph Barstow is the governor of Texas. Both of them are conniving, dishonest, and determined to halt the production of dysprosium at all costs. These are some of the fascinating characters in the story.
I absolutely loved this book. Unfortunately, I did encounter a problem. I prefer having all of my questions answered by the end of the story, and sadly, that is not the case here. Although it doesn’t end on a cliffhanger, the ending is rather abrupt with several unanswered questions. This was my least favorite aspect of the book. An epilogue tying up the loose ends would have taken care of this problem. This could very well be setting the stage for a sequel; however, I could not acquire any information about an upcoming book even after looking for it. Therefore, I feel forced to take off a star. Subsequently, Ascending Power achieves a rating of three out of four stars. Once this issue is addressed, I feel it could easily get the highest rating as it seems to be professionally edited with only two minor errors.
I enthusiastically recommend this book to people who enjoy reading thrillers and crime dramas. A couple of episodes of fairly explicit sex and some profanities were encountered in the novel. Subsequently, it is not appropriate for children, and sensitive readers need to be aware as well.
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