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Reviewed by Patricia Reding for Readers' Favorite
There is something deeply satisfying about settling into a story created by a man of military training and insight as is the case with Tempest of Fire by Steve Wilson. Bringing back Lieutenant Michael Neill from an earlier story (Red Sky at Morning), Wilson weaves a careful tale of political intrigue and espionage on an international scale. When a Chinese submarine goes down near Hua Shan, an island about 100 kilometers from the Chinese mainland, an island shrouded in mystery according to folklore, the U.S. suspects it is the work of a rogue element of the Chinese military led by Admiral Xian Lee. Meanwhile, U.S. intelligence identifies an American who has set into play events that could give Lee a decided advantage through cyber warfare. Following the leads, Lt. Neill and a specially selected crew, including Lt. Simon Chau, a gifted computer analyst who also has synesthesia, visit the island. What they discover there could have a serious impact upon international relations. Everything comes together when Lee determines it is time to take back the wayward Taiwan by opening events with the use of a torpedo dubbed the “Tempest of Fire.”
Tempest of Fire comes with a setting that is unique, a fast paced story that is believable, and it is packed with easy to read and understand information about the military and its dealings with political leaders as well as private commercial interests. The characters are well drawn, each challenged in his or her own way. In Lt. Neill, Steve Wilson has created a man of integrity and faith, a man others respect. Chau was an interesting addition, with his ability to “sense” location. Sec. Lt. Nathan Crockett, a “man’s man,” adds elements of both focus and humor. Add in Ensign Kelsi Pressman, incredibly talented at breaking code, Captain Zhu Ling, Lee’s chief of staff (who comes with a few surprises of his own), and additional high ranking government and military officials, and you have a story that continually draws you in. Tempest of Fire reinforced the profound gratitude I have for the men and women who serve. It is a tribute to their sacrifice.