Hated the ending. Sep 03, Michelle rated it it was ok. Good book You people should just read this book yourselves and write your own review on this novel yourself and I really enjoyed reading this book very much so. Shelley MA. Aug 09, Iain Grant rated it it was amazing Shelves: pigeon-park-press.
You can see this is a five star review so, I guess, what I ought to do is justify giving Tom Aston's first novel the same rating I would give to the best works by Tom Clancy, Robert Ludlum or Len Deighton three authors Tom Aston bears serious comparison to. Well, here goes The Machine is a techno-thriller, falling between the two stools of contemporary thriller and science fiction. It is absolutely a book of the now but bears shades of a real future that we may already be living in.
Referenc You can see this is a five star review so, I guess, what I ought to do is justify giving Tom Aston's first novel the same rating I would give to the best works by Tom Clancy, Robert Ludlum or Len Deighton three authors Tom Aston bears serious comparison to. References to Afghanistan, the freedom and corruption of the press and the machinations of modern China sit alongside nanotechnology, robots and the eponymous machine. Given the long process from writing to publication, it's scary and impressive to think that Tom Aston must have been writing this in the weeks and months before the scandals involving Julian Assange, Rupert Murdoch and Bo Xilai hit our TV screens.
Either this guy is psychic, incredibly lucky or has his finger firmly on the pulse of what's going on and what matters.
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Oh, yeah, the machine of the title. I'm not going to tell you what the machine is. That would ruin one of the many twists. What I will say is that the machine is not just a MacGuffin. It's the coolest MacGuffin to appear in contemporary fiction. Tom Aston could have built an entire novel around the premise of the machine but he's got so much going on in this book that we must take what we can and be happy. The plot is intricate but the characters and the urgency of the pace keep the reader on board at all times. Much of the focus is on Steven Semyonov, the computer billionaire who gives up his fortune to defect to China and work on building his future.
Semyonov, bald and red-eyed, has the looks of a Bond villain but is far more complex an antagonist than that. The truly villainous role in the novel goes to Ekstrom, a mercenary killer who, like Chigurh from Cormac McCarthy's No Country For Old Men, grabs the reader with the sheer callousness of his actions. Our hero though is Ethan Stone and he is an excellent creation. Here is an ex-soldier turned peace activist I know, sounds like a contradiction but it works! He's an action hero for sure but he's an action hero for grown ups. He is flawed in the ways we are all flawed and acts as he acts because he his moral compass is intact and fully functioning.
Great though the characters are, the best thing about this book, its Unique Selling Point, is its description and portrayal of modern China where most of the action takes place. Nor is it the brutal communist China of many contemporary thrillers. Tom Aston, in The Machine, has given a China that seems incredibly real, the one world superpower, that unexplored homeland of billions of human beings.
Here, there is capitalism and exploitation, true, but there is also culture, beauty and variety.
Tom Aston, flexing his scholarly muscles and taking us on a tour of a country he clearly knows well, has written a novel which says to us, "This is China. This is the future. Get used to it. This is the first Tom Aston novel to be published although, if I understand correctly, not the first Ethan Stone novel chronologically speaking, I guess. The next novel is due out in the next few months.
I am looking forward to it enormously. So, have I justified the five stars? Better than Jack Reacher. Better than Bourne and Bond rolled together. Tom Aston has written a superior techno-thriller that is one step ahead of the news headlines. Feb 07, Al rated it liked it. Mar 29, Simon Fairbanks rated it it was amazing. The pace is swift, the characters intriguing and the suspense is sustained throughout. The Machine's protagonist, Ethan Stone, is a refreshing take on the usual loner detective archetype. The Chinese setting is vividly described and Aston impresses with his intimate knowledge of both Chinese culture an Tom Aston's The Machine has all the potential of Jo Nesbo's Harry Hole detective series.
The Chinese setting is vividly described and Aston impresses with his intimate knowledge of both Chinese culture and history, all of which is filtered gently into the story so it never feels like a Michael Palin memoir. Ultimately, The Machine is a strong debut novel and serves as a solid introduction to Stone and the world he inhabits. Dec 20, Roxanne Reyes rated it liked it. The story was very detailed, some interesting characters, the beginning was terrific.
I think the novel could have been shortened but overall it was okay. Wish more emphasis and information was given about the technological marvels like the electric car that could go over miles before a recharge, or more in depth data about what the machine created. Liked the invention of the killer bee reminded me of drones and it can be a very useful weapon along with the other ones described.
An interes The story was very detailed, some interesting characters, the beginning was terrific. An interesting read but too long. I do recommend it! Feb 09, Nick rated it really liked it. Interesting thriller, good suspense but the actual machine just was never going to live up to the hype that the story builds up. I loved the scene in the factory almost sounded magical.
Nov 16, Brandon Nagel rated it really liked it. Excellent first novel. Great characters and nonstop action. Kept me guessing the whole way. Sep 30, Maria Magdalena rated it really liked it. Don't know why I downloaded this as I am not a fan of the genre, but I really enjoyed reading The Machine. Great characters, great story, suspense etc. Will read more 'Ethan Stone' in the future. Dec 27, Donalee Smith rated it liked it.
Jan 12, Andy Younie rated it it was amazing. Just excellent! Believable characters, a great plot which twists and turns all the way through and a nice mix of science and science-fiction. Oct 31, Katie rated it liked it. Started really slowly and seemed to end abruptly.
Otherwise, an interesting story. Oct 18, Amy rated it did not like it Shelves: thrillers , kindle-book. Not good writing. Matt Smith rated it it was ok Mar 02, Kevin rated it did not like it Sep 01, Aaron G Wright rated it did not like it Apr 09, Laurel rated it really liked it Dec 22, Theallains rated it liked it Nov 28, Bruce Rayl rated it really liked it Jul 20, OndineBlue rated it liked it Sep 15, Orange rated it liked it Nov 08, His comment eliciting a sharp slap to the back of his head, rocking him forward so his nose kissed the oak.
Now go have your drink somewhere else, and let the men talk. He called over his shoulder. As soon as Corwyn turned away, he. Everything about him was just a little smaller than Rory: his build a little slimmer, his face a tad narrower… even his hair was a paler shade of red when compared to the thick mess his very big little brother was sporting. One of my regulars caught my eye, and I reluctantly left my post. I told you to shut yer gob and keep your opinions to yerself! I lost track of the argument, despite my best efforts. Frankly, the English disappeared beneath heated Irish brogues sprinkled with Gaelic and whatever internal familial shorthand they had.
Fast as a snake strike from the underbrush, Mickey turned his ire on him, yanking the hand away from his little brother. The last was emphasized with a hard shove that sent Corwyn backward into the bar, his elbow knocking over an empty pint glass. He stood, towering over them, his brow dark with anger. The other men circling loosely around the four, egging them on—I was quickly losing control of my bar. Much more of this and Blake would be drawn from his office like Dracula rising from the dead. Nobody needed his ham-fisted efforts playing peacemaker, certainly not before the sunset.
Rory was nipping at both their heels like a terrier, frantically trying to intimidate anything larger than himself. But Ireland holds an extra special place in the hearts of many Americans reaching for a connection with their roots, and with writers in general who both revel in the mythical and poetic nature of its people, and the great contributions the Irish make through its literature, and music, and art.
There is joy in the sea, in the fields of grain, the swaying of the Wild Carrot, the floral breeze. Scott Coatsworth has a new queer magical realism book out:. A group of strangers meets at Ragazzi, an Italian restaurant, for a cooking lesson that will change them all. Meet Dave, the consultant who lost his partner; Matteo and Diego, the couple who run the restaurant; recently-widowed Carmelina; Marcos, a web designer getting too old for hook-ups; Ben, a trans author writing the Great American Novel; teenager Marissa, kicked out for being bi; and Sam and Brad, a May-September couple who would never have gotten together without a little magic of their own.
Enter via Rafflecopter for a chance to win. Matteo stared out the restaurant window into the darkness of Folsom Boulevard. It was getting dark earlier as summer edged into fall. Streetlights flickered on as cars drifted by, looking for parking or making the trip out of Midtown toward home. The smells of boiling sauce and fresh-cooked pasta that emanated from the kitchen were entrancing.
He was a gentleman in about his mid-fifties, wearing a golf shirt and floppy hat. Can I get you anything else? His husband and chef waved him off with a snort. Sto preparando la cena. It was the cutest place. Checkered tablecloths, those great Italian bottles with the melted wax… so Italian. He spends his time between the here and now and the what could be.
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Indoctrinated into fantasy and sci fi by his mother at the tender age of nine, he devoured her library. But as he grew up, he wondered where the people like him were. He seeks to transform traditional sci fi, fantasy, and contemporary worlds into something unexpected. He runs Queer Sci Fi and QueeRomance Ink with his husband Mark, sites that bring queer people together to promote and celebrate fiction that reflects their own reality.
To celebrate here are 6 sentences from it to tempt you:. With a long list of suspects and nothing to connect them, Peter is more determined than ever to apprehend the murderer. Then Peter gets the one vital piece of evidence that ties everything together. With a combination of love and suspense he makes his characters work hard for their HEAs. If they can survive what he puts them through, then they can survive anything. He enjoys Romance with an Edge. Ethan has been reading mysteries and thrillers since he was young. That may have influenced the stories he writes.
One of whom has made him a grandfather three times over; even though he is way too young. RSS - Comments. LE Franks, writer the books, the blog, and the men. Skip to content. Home About. And just like that, silence fell.
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I glared, the water nozzle still clutched in my hand, and addressed them. Sometimes you are the toe, sometimes the shoe. Wish me luck. Posted on July 29, by lefranks.
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Guest Blog: J. Scott Coatsworth has a new queer magical realism book out: A group of strangers meets at Ragazzi, an Italian restaurant, for a cooking lesson that will change them all. Everyone in the River City has a secret, and sooner or later secrets always come out. Excerpt Matteo stared out the restaurant window into the darkness of Folsom Boulevard. He gave Diego a quick peck on the cheek. Dinner for a hundred, is it? I miss the old place though. How is the killer choosing his victims?
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What is he trying to prove? Solve the mystery in this fast-moving crime thriller by Ethan Stone. Readers can find Ethan online. Search for:.
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