by Joe Shea
American ReporterBook Review Editor
December 23, 2009
NAPIER'S 'THE FURIES' STARTS FAST, ENDS WELL
BRADENTON, Fla., Dec, 23, 2009 -- I like thrillers when they have a great pace and clever plotting, and that's not so common as it once seemed. Bill Napier's books, and especially his last, "The Lure," leapt out at me from the bookstands when I didn't know his name. In fact, it was only after glancing through the frontispiece the other day that I noticed I'd already read two of his books.
Napier may have a greater than normal interest in UFOs, I think, because both The Lure and The Furies (St. Martin's Paperbacks, 2009), this new paperback, start out as books about UFOs. But in The Furies his plot quickly swerves to the Nazi-era effort to create a war-ending weapon, and in particular a weapon resembling a UFO that is designed to spin out across the world's major cities to release lethal payloads of either anthrax or sarin gas.
The plot revolves around the Nazi effort to create those spinning discs and the effort to stop their use in modern times by a weird group of people determined to stop a meeting of high-level American and North Korean officials bent on ending North Korea's threat to peace. There are some charming and compassionate touches throughout.
This is a novel of flashbacks, a technique that is often annoying but is well-crafted and seamless here. Back and forth we go between an initial deadly test of the weapon in Arizona and an effort to stop its use against London or another major city.
Ultimately, the British prime minister is ready to give desperately-sought information to the terrorist group in exchange for a promise not to target London with any of the three remaining Furies (named for the handmaidens of Thor in Norse mythology).
It's difficult to follow some elements of the complex plot, or to intuit the motives of some characters, but generally this is an easy book to read and satisfying in its length. What is also satisfying to me is Napier's apparent UFO research, which states pretty unequivocally that the Nazis never did try to come up with a real UFO.
In college, I spent hours studying an authentic-looking schematic of a supposed UFO that Nazi scientists were working on; Napier seems to say that the schematic was a fake, but never directly mentions it.
For both World War II and UFO buffs, and for those who prefer a taut thriller to romance, The Furies delivers in spades.