book reviews / Scientific fiction

Book Review: The Lightning Stones

The Lightning Stones (Philip Mercer, #8)The Lightning Stones

by Jack Du Brul

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

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I am a longtime fan of Jack DuBrul. I’ve read the entire Philip Mercer series as well as all of DuBrul’s co-authored Clive Cussler books. The man can write–intricate plots, clever characters, exotic settings, and science that works. Plus, because my novels include a dollop of science to kickstart the plot, I’m always eager to see how the experts make this happen.

His latest, ‘The Lightning Stones‘ (Doubleday 2015) is no exception. The eighth in the series and almost ten years after the seventh, it was well worth the wait. Philip Mercer, a geologist, again becomes unintentionally embroiled in the search for a missing geode that ultimately threatens the world. The problem is that no one–including the FBI–sees the danger between this missing rock and the future of the world. It falls to Mercer to travel the globe in a fast-paced effort to pull the threads that will stop the bad guys.

Mercer is sharper than most people you’ll meet and quick to understand problems, but DuBrul carefully sets up the science so we can understand. He slowly parcels out fundamental knowledge so by the time he needs me to buy into the fantasy he’s constructed, I do. In fact, I can no longer tell if the science that drives the plot is fact or fiction, so well buttressed is the framework. Think Star Trek science.

One issue I had throughout the story (which didn’t affect the five-star rating) was that the danger inherent to the missing geode is not terribly clear. It is discussed early in the book and clearly DuBrul considers that sufficient. My advice: Take that scene to heart because it’s a biggy.

Despite that, this is another great read from Jack DuBrul. Don’t miss it.

More science-inspired reviews:

What I Learned About Life From Star Trek

Book Review: Decoded

Book Review: Interrupt

Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy. She is the author/editor of over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer,  a columnist for TeachHUB, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing Teachers, monthly contributor to Today’s Author and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. You can find her book at her publisher’s website, Structured Learning.

22 thoughts on “Book Review: The Lightning Stones

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  5. Interesting. I haven’t read this author. The problem with building a backcloth of any kind is the amount of word-space it takes, and the danger of losing a substantial proportion of the audience as they try to work their way through it. It is all a question of reader preference, I guess. If it makes a book believable, so be it – I certainly have a number of half-written,never-to-be-concluded novels on my hard drive, because at some stage in the writing I’ve taken a step back and decided ‘no, nobody’s ever going to believe that!’.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m not much of a science fiction reader, baring “War of the Worlds and other classics but I always enjoy your thoughtful reviews. I don’t know how you become an Amazon vine reviewers, and if they select all the books for you to review, but you do it very well🙂


  7. I read all the Clive Cussler original books as young and still like these type of books so this sounds interesting. Do you feel you need to have read the other seven books before tackling this one or is it easy to grasp as a stand alone? great review with clarity and precision.


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