Book Jacket


rank 506
word count 56088
date submitted 14.02.2012
date updated 07.04.2014
genres: Fiction, Thriller, Romance, Comedy
classification: universal

German Derelict

Shaun Holt

After saving her life from a pair of Iranian soldiers, Trevor Knight and Autumn Caldwell must work together to stop Iran from unleashing nuclear war.


In the same vein as Clive Cussler's Dirk Pitt series, and Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan books, German Derelict is a timely action/adventure spanning from the mountains of Iran to the Chicago Navy Pier, from the coast of Somalia to a zoo in Austria. It begins with Trevor Knight, an engineer with the National Engineering and Mechanical Agency (NEMA), saving the life of Autumn Caldwell, a woman researching "Persia's contribution to science." The two feel they are keeping secrets from each other, but a romance blossoms anyway. As events unfold, their secrets are revealed, and their newly formed relationship is threatened. Will they be able to put their differences aside, or will their relationship end in one big boom?

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action, adventure, clive cussler, humor, iran, military, parody, romance, satire, suspense, thriller, tom clancy, war

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kabiba wrote 6 days ago

R2G ‘German Derelict’ continued read - chapter 14

This chapter was smoothly written and engaging. I enjoyed this characterization of Lavrenti Yalichev (that’s a mouthful!), and the description of the view from the ‘Alaska’. I liked ‘the sun gradually dipped into the watery horizon, as if the burning ball (was) were drowning.’ Note edit - plus I would suggest dropping the ‘gradually.’

His theory - ‘retirement quickened death’ - quite true in some cases I’m sure. ‘No such beauty could be brought about by sheer coincidence or the random sequence of nature.’ Providence - he is a deep thinker. I also liked ‘…not reserving himself to a couch to live out the rest of his days hoping he can reach the bathroom in time.’ Ha, that’s funny.

Edit: ‘Yalichev’s eyebrows dropped inquisitively.’ What about ‘Yalichev’s eyebrows knitted.’?

Pirates are coming - let’s hope Kingsley is not too far away…

The next erotic section with Autumn and Trevor was well done - I thought the fumbling with the key card was good, to indicate her impatience/passion. It was good how she wanted to check out his body first - she has waited for a long time.

Edit: ‘She knew his sadistic mind…’ I don’t think sadistic is the right word here - it indicates a very disturbed person. Maybe ‘She knew his mind was cooking something devious…’

‘…leaving him topless.’ Leaving him shirtless - otherwise sounds like a woman.

‘They kissed deeper’ They kissed more deeply.

Great stuff and back soon.

Stone Circle

Sebnem wrote 10 days ago

German Derelict
Shaun Holt

R2G Review
Chapter 17

I love this chapter, so I’m going to comment on this separately. However, I have a special note for the author before that.

To Mr Shaun Holt from the Reviewer:
I strictly advise you not to address/describe/comment on your work using the word “horrible”, ever again. I only continue reading and commenting on books I like and enjoy reading. If I have to comment on books not in my genre or those that do not appeal to me, I try to be objective and give an honest opinion, trying to see the good sides, as a well as the points that need improvement. However, I would limit that with one review, only.

Referring to one’s own work, something that took such a long time to create, with the word “horrible”, is being ungrateful towards nature’s or mankind’s inspirations for creation; taboo, blasphemy, and thoroughly unacceptable. Please exercise more respect for your own work or the work of creation will cringe and dissolve, not to ever materialize again…. Nurture it and it will shine, improve, and rise among the ranks…

This is one of the best chapters I have read on The German Derelict because it concentrates on relationships. The German Derelict is not your ordinary thriller with a fast pace and a great deal of action. Shaun Holt also concentrates on and portrays the psychology of his characters, whether they are the main characters or secondary characters, like the captains of the ships in the story or the politicians from different countries in the plot.

In this chapter the exchanges between Captain Barrett and Kingsley are very interesting. They understand each other and respect each other’s authority and territories. Kingsley wants to overtake the pirates and rescue Alaska. However, Barrett says they need the approval of the government because it’s a Russian ship. The Russian President must approve of their intervention in response. Barrett could have neglected to take this step and let Kingsley have his way. He did not. Kingsley is forced to accept Barrett’s decision and authority. It’s like a game of chess. Barrett is ahead here. Kingsley’s description of the guys on the battlefield, the patriots and the cowards is a very interesting view and philosophy on the different kinds of fighters. A very good argument… And, naturally, Kingsley is a patriot, not a coward like the pirates, he regards as not being martyrs.

The second part of the chapter concentrates on Trevor and Autumn. Through watching different TV channels, their thoughts, characters, bits about their personalities, interests, and their pasts are revealed. This is a very clever and interesting approach and I like the bit where Trevor says, jokingly, “you’re already talking about what to wear at the wedding, about our baby, and about cooking me dinner”

This is not only an action packed thriller, it’s also about human psychology and relationships. That’s why I like it.

Best wishes,

The Child of Heaven
(From the Pink Planet, without the German)

Some notes for you:
“he figured of himself in the third person.” thought of?
Window drapes (substitute with curtains, blinds, etc) to avoid repetition with “his left arm draped over Autumn”
“…as if ashamedly.”
LOL, why is she wearing his shirt and his boxers? Why is he ashamed of his nakedness??? Is he a bashful guy??? They spent the night together and made love, they should both be naked…
“his shirt, that is.” You can omit “that is”, better without it…
Chicagoan? Chicagoanne??? Just asking here, sounds more feminine…(It’s a Native American, Indian name…)

kabiba wrote 11 days ago

R2G ‘German Derelict’ continued read - chapter 13

Autumn and Trevor travel to Chicago - Trevor is about to meet her parents for the first time. I liked their banter - it showed intimacy now they are a couple.

Autumn’s brother Jeremiah meets them at the airport - this came across as being by chance - you might want to spell out that Autumn had contacted him, otherwise it’s just like they ran into him there. It was good how Trevor was a bit jealous before he realises who it is. The fact that Trevor judges him by his handshake and the look in his eye says more about his character - he is able to figure people out through subtle clues.

Edit: question marks at the end of questions, e.g. ‘Are you visiting, or do you live in the area (?)’

Capitals for Mom and Dad.

The conversation in the car sounded natural, with Trevor getting to know Jeremiah and his interests.

A good description of Waukegan - ‘While several historic buildings dotted the town, there were also many newer buildings, none of them scarred by graffiti.’ I also liked the description of Autumn’s parents’ apartment. You could even go into some more detail here, to give an idea of their interests etc.

I liked how Autumn’s Dad gets up more slowly, as he knows he has no chance of interrupting the greeting with her mother. Trevor feels awkward, understandably. Effective descriptions of both parents.

‘I need to feed my baby’ - such a typical mother, you conveyed the closeness of her family well.

Trevor makes a good impression on her father, and clams up about his parents’ separation. It is a painful memory.

Jeremiah takes them to the Navy Pier, but is worried about missing the game. The Disney rap was funny, and they go to play some miniature golf. I like how you describe their meals - they have enormous appetites! Back soon.

Stone Circle

Sheena Macleod wrote 11 days ago

German Derelict by Saun Holt
Straight into action and conflict the plot catches the readers attention and holds it. The setting and characters are well described. The work is well edited. A sense of foreboding is cultured as countries sit back doing nothing.

Autumn Caldwell is out on a climb and sees soldiers, this unnerves her.
Great ending hooks with Autumn staring down the barrels of the soldiers weapons.

Suggested edits
Long pitch remove - it begins with -

Chapter one
He decided to stretch his own muscles?
had actually gotten worse - not sure about this. He didn't know it, but things had escalated. or - the situation had become a lot worse?
dancing across (the) Western sky ?
should it be terracotta or consider terra-cotta, if it is two words

I will read on and post further comments. Enjoyed chapter one- a lot to hold the reader's attention

Conspiracy's Child

Sebnem wrote 21 days ago

German Derelict
Shaun Holt

R2G Review
Chapters 15-16

Alaska is taken over by the pirates before any relief help arrives. The only ship around is a French one and they are far away.

Yalichev is an interesting character. The irony about Russians being threatened by Russian guns in the hands of the pirates is interesting, but true. He criticizes his country for selling weapons to such groups and terrorist organizations. However, he also sympathizes with the pirates being compelled to commit such crimes due to the appalling conditions in their countries. There’s another irony here. Yalichev is also protective of his crew, and as they are unarmed, he tells them not to resist to protect their lives. He knows that the pirates are only after the money from the ransom…

Notes Ch 15:
“…so the pirates used boats..” should that be ‘so’ or ‘and’, did they use small and fast boats because the cargo ships are long and slow or did they use them regularly? I think this should be an ‘and’ because there’s another ‘so’ right after that…

Chapter 16

I like the Russian President, Ivanov, he is a fair guy. Why he likes Siberia over Moscow, his choice, of course, is rather bizarre. Moscow is a magical city, similar to Paris….

Alekseev is a devious guy, probably handling affairs for the Russian Mafia and the Ambassador in Iran is involved…I remember the Russian in Tehran, but he wasn’t the ambassador…So, Alaska is carrying something nuclear and there’s going to be an international scandal….Where’s Kingsley and the Resilient?

Good chapter ending…..

Best wishes,

The Child of Heaven

Notes Ch 16:
Queen (should be capitalized)
“...wickedest...” most wicked
“…uttered a curse in Russian…” I think you can omit in Russian, obviously it is, LOL….

kabiba wrote 23 days ago

R2G ‘German Derelict’ continued read - chapter 12

This was an action-packed chapter, with Kingsley leading his team to intercept the pirate ship.

Edit: In the fifth para, you used the expression ‘her’ when referring to the Glutton. Then in the same sentence you referred to the ship as ‘it’. You need to choose one or the other.

I would like to see a lot more visuals and emotion in this chapter - what do the pirates look like, what does the ship look like, how does Kingsley feel as he conducts the attack? It is very good in terms of detail, and how it all pans out, but the emotion and visuals are not there.

Kingsley defies Barrett by continuing on with the mission when he has said it is over. It’s looking like a major power play is about to commence between the two men. All the technical language you use here, with strafing, SCAR-L light machine guns etc sounds very authentic.

It was interesting about this particular group of pirates being easy to disperse, as they are farmers and anglers. I am imagining there will be a future, scary scene with the Somalian pirates!

The description of the pirate injured on the ground was great - more of this! ‘His eyes were dull, his hair black, wet and stringy.’

I liked Kingsley telling Chamberlin off for being callous. He has a heart, that’s good.

Funny - ‘The equipment is older than my original Nintendo.’

Kingsley has a point when he says the less pirates there are, the less crews they need to save. But I can also understand Barrett’s point of view.

‘Barrett rolled his eyes, upset that Kingsley was so difficult to control’ - the eye rolling works, but no need to tell us he is upset. What about ‘he clenched his teeth’ or something?

Back soon, it’s all heating up.

Stone Circle

R2G wrote 25 days ago

A well-deserved backing from R2G.

Sebnem wrote 26 days ago

German Derelict
Shaun Holt

R2G Review
Chapter 14

Alaska with Captain Yalichev is about to be threatened by the pirates in the Gulf of Aden. They give a distress signal. The cargo ship is probably carrying weapons or sensitive materials. So, the Resilient, Captain Barrett, and Kingsley’s team will likely come into the picture soon. I like the Captain, who has found religion late in his life….

Meanwhile, in Chicago, Autumn and Trevor finally discover each other’s physical sides and a good love making scene completes the chapter.

Best wishes,

The Child of Heaven

Some notes for you:

“..with (the) sea air.”


His hands found her hips, twice in the same para, maybe use embrace, wrapped his arms around her slender waist…..pressed her against his body……

….occasionally, usually(omit)

Into his shirt (inside)

Is he wearing a shirt or t-shirt? I think t-shirt, then, you should say it, because if it were a shirt, she could unbutton it.

Penetrate is not the right word here, her fingers don’t go through the t-shirt, they go under. Maybe searched underneath, discovered his bare skin underneath, or better still, explored his bare skin underneath the t-shirt…

She brought her hands completely into his shirt, (no). Her fingers spontaneously explored his bare skin underneath the t-shirt.

topless(no) his athletic naked torso revealed, unfolded, before her….

Autumn knew it’d (it would)

Not wanting to take away from (the titillating sensual pleasures).
south (down)

not built like truck, (rough, substantial, primeval)

They peered into each other’s eyes (as if time stood still, while the innate ritual of dominance took its course….)

His otherworldly amber eyes met her violet gaze, like an unfathomable(obscure, impenetrable) puzzle or an untamed(wild) animal that no man could control.
(there were too many eyes here)

unleashed now(omit)

like fish caught in a hook( magnets, caught in a spider’s web, drawn by the magnetism, spellbound by the call…)

Autumn laid (lay, past tense of lie is lay; laid is past tense of lay, transitive verb)

He came down on her, (needs something nicer; he approached her tender body and took her, possessed her, claimed her….)

Eliza Moon wrote 28 days ago

German Derelict.
R2G review. Chapter 1.

Very interesting quote from Job, 'Undisturbed tents of the marauders.' I also like the title of this work.

Feb 2009. A rumour that a N Korean ship has a cargo of nuclear missiles. The Australian government voice concerns.

The Koreans claim their projectile travelled 2500 miles. The US mock, and claim 207 miles.

This has echos of Iraq. Are there WMD or not? When should a country step in and intervene? How much proof do they need? How will a decision made either way effect a governments popularity with its own people, and that of the rest of the world?

Good lines, 'and the Americans were paper tigers,' and, 'Both sides rattled their sabres and the world was on the brink.'

The President's is empty talk. Everyone was bluffing. 'Except the North Koreans.'

Great line, 'Shall he, then, just observe the Korean ship all the way to the ends of the world.'

I was not quite clear on what you were trying to convey with the description 'corrugated cargo ship' - but 'derelict' was effective and conjured up images in my mind.

The Chinese arrive to aid the stricken vessel, and they are underway again. But then it turns and heads north.

'He didn't know it, but things had actually gotten worse.'

Part 1
Daniel, 'A tree in the middle of the land.'
March 2008. Back in time.

Autumn, alone in the Iranian mountains. 2 men appear then disappear. She becomes uneasy, and her fears are founded when they threaten her with their weapons.

This is a great first chapter, and I look forward to returning for more.

Watch listed, high stars. x

Sebnem wrote 30 days ago

German Derelict
Shaun Holt

R2G Review
Chapter 13

Finally, we’re in Chicago, but not in the town, on the outskirts, Autumn’s home. Jeremiah, Autumn’s brother, meets them at the airport, takes them to the huge family flat, chatting on the way. We meet Autumn’s parents and after lunch, Autumn and Trevor end up at the Navy Pier. I like the rap song and afterwards, I cannot imagine how they could eat all that food.

Now, I have another question. Where’s their baggage? Surely, they’re not carrying any bags with them. Or don’t Trevor and Autumn need any change of clothes any time? Are they self-clean????

Finally, I think Autumn and Trevor are going to spend the night together, but you keep me in suspense. I have to read another chapter to find out. Good page turner….

Best wishes,

The Child of Heaven (who has been to Chicago and around the outskirts….)

Some notes for you:
“Of course(,)…they know…”
“Autumn Caldwell(,) waitress….”
“Family(,) I hope…” quietly enough(,) so……”
“…Autumn said(,) “…..”
“Are you visiting,(omit comma) or…” (no comma before or)
“…would’ve (would have) taken would have gone….” This doesn’t sound very nice….How about “the scenic route Jeremiah normally used for newcomers(or guests) would go……”
“….buildings…newer buildings (structures?)..”
“So(,)..” and another one after that, maybe do a ‘so’ search.
“You know him,(?)” asked…..
“…Republican, (omit comma) because…”
“…Navy Pier(,) it…”
“…, or will you call?” no comma before or…

kabiba wrote 32 days ago

R2G ‘German Derelict’ continued read - chapter 11

I liked the description of Marcelo Rocco - both the physical, and his bad attitude to parenting, preferring to spend his time at sea than with his eight children.

Edit: How about ‘long’ rather than ‘tall’ for the shape of his face. You don’t need the word ‘somewhat.’

I had a thought as I read this: You describe him as being someone who likes to follow rules, and is rigid in this. Yet he has overgrown hair. For some reason, and feel free to ignore this, I imagine someone who plays by the rules as having very neat hair! Being OCD sort of filters through all parts of the person. I know this, as I am a bit of a perfectionist myself!

I also enjoyed the part about Andy Breedlove, and his concentrated games of chess with the captain. I liked that Andy was particular about how his name is pronounced - this reveals character. The glass chess set was a classy touch!

Edit: ‘these gossips’ and ‘such gossips’ - gossip is always singular i.e. ‘the gossip’ and ‘such gossip’

Good research about the coordinates, and the 365 degrees circle to navigate. Things are heating up with the pirates on the way.

Then we jump to John Eden on the HMS Resilient. He seems a solid kind of character, and I thought it was interesting how he allows his men to mock him a little to increase rapport, and not be so high and mighty.

I like all your details - like the bad guys having red instruments and the good guys having blue!

Barrett has conflicting emotions - he wants to be the hero and commence a gun battle, but knows his duty is to allow Kingsley to deploy his helicopters. He swallows his pride and gives the order to send them out. A good hook for the end of the chapter. Back soon to read about the battle.

Stone Circle

Sam Barclay wrote 32 days ago

Hi Shaun,

I noticed in your 'about me' page that you invite critiques from C4 onwards so I decided to give it a go. I went through the first three to give me the necessary flavour of things. I like the story so far. Here we go with specifics:

P3 do you need the apostrophe?

Later on, I suggest you end the relevant sentence at 'separation.' What follows up to and inlcuding the rest of the sentence seemed a tad awkward and unnecessary.

Last line in P7 appears to contradict P1S2. Or maybe you just need to add 'who (genuinely) enjoyed chemistry'.

Dyn 'a bit' in 'a bit funny'? It doesn't add anything.
I didn't like the 2x 'yet' to start sentences around 'Yet the Iranian...'

I tend to think of 'In fact' as padding so I suggest you ditch it. Maybe I am wrong.

Look at your speech marks around 'eighteen largest'. They aren't consistent. Sometimes you start and end with " and " and sometimes " and ' is that right?Idk.

I think there is a great deal of tension in this chapter and some very complex issues. However, is it realistic that an Iranian President would visit a US University and take unscreened questons like that? I have no idea and I guess you would know more than me. I don't know much about politics.

Anyway, I really enjoyed reading the first four chapters and hope I have been of some use to you regarding the fourth one.

If you could take a look at 'Dax' I'd be very grateful to you.

Cheers for now, Sam

Sebnem wrote 34 days ago

German Derelict
Shaun Holt

R2G Review
Chapter 12

Well, the Merlin helicopters take off and after a few clever moves, the pirates are overwhelmed, their inflatable boats hit, and the men shot by machine guns. The cargo ship is rescued, as three of the pirate ships clear off while the Merlin lands on one of their boats. They discover hijacked crews and transfer them to the Resilient.

Safely back on the Resilient, Barrett confronts Kingsley for disobeying his command. Kingsley gives him a slap on the shoulder while the evacuated pirate ship is blown apart….

Barrett contemplates on who will give him the greater grief: the pirates or John Kingsley…I would say both...

Good action chapter, very cinematographic and visual….I don’t know about the guns and weapons, but the action scene seems real….

Best wishes,

The Child of Heaven

“…Merlin helicopter (,) he busily….”
“..William Barret was quickly in Kingsley’s face…” confronted Kingsley, gazed, glared, looked fiercely, gave him a defiant stare, etc….
“…stared (at)…”

Sebnem wrote 37 days ago

German Derelict
Shaun Holt

R2G Review
Chapter 11

Gulf of Aden, a cargo ship carrying weapons made in Taiwan by Holly Burton’s subsidiary is in danger of being captured by the pirates. HMS Resilient, John Barrett’s ship receives the distress signal and Kingsley is ready to deploy the helicopters.

Captain Rocco is another interesting character. I don’t know how anybody looks like a dentist, but he is well-described; so are the cook and the chess game. The weapons manufacturer Holly Edward, thriving on war is another interesting bit of information. The wars started since the1990’s flourished this company by selling weapons to the US army.

Captain Barrett makes the right move by approving Kingsley’s plan…

It looks like some conflict with the pirates is about to take place…good page turner.

Best wishes,

The Child of Heaven

“a fat, crooked nose(,) and ….”
His face tall? long?
would’ve and could’ve would sound better if not abbreviated, as this is narration.
“could’ve gotten a job”, found a job, had a job, etc…
“world-famous” I think the second one should be just famous or well-known, celebrities, etc…

Sebnem wrote 40 days ago

German Derelict
Shaun Holt

R2G Review
Chapter 10

As promised, another chapter for the weekend. Nice chapter, lots of edits.

First of all, the pilot, his story must be relevant to the main story and as I read, I know something will happen to him since you write about his death…sad….

Jasmine who meets them talks about Rome, giving a hint of Trevor’s next destination.

So, they have a car and drive to NEMA HQ. I think it’s strange that Trevor takes Autumn to his boss’ room. Why does he do that? She could wait in the reception area or in the car…. Maybe he wants Decker to see him….

Decker is an interesting character, I like him and how he establishes his salary. Very idealistic, do people like him exist? A modest, fair boss, the founder of a big corporation, yet he is purified of vanity…..I know there are some people like him, but they are in the minority…

I enjoyed my tour of Washington DC sites, I’ve never been there. The wall story is interesting, founded by freemasons, but not built by them. Trevor is a pacifist and the wall story emphasizes the irrationality of war, especially on foreign soil which the US tends to exercise. This must also be your view, I respect that and agree.

Trevor’s relationship with his father is distant and Autumn realizes that. Now, they are no longer strangers and the next destination is Chicago.

Regarding NEMA, I think there is definitely more than engineering there. Maybe they are the American illuminati?

Another enjoyable chapter,

Best wishes,

The Child of Heaven

“was awoken” awoke?
“A pilot with twenty-seven years…” this sentence needs revising…I think you want to say ‘he had spent most of his life flying...’
Para beginning “He couldn’t imagine...” last to sentences with ‘that’, you could remove that as follows: “…were just harmless dates, the boys being too young…” and the next one you can omit, if you like…
“It was then that he learned….” He noticed, much to his chagrin, discontent, displeasure etc….
Over one hundred and forty gates provided easy access to a thousand flights a day….
“Decker stood as…” and made a polite gesture, gestured politely, as…….
I think you should search for “so” in this chapter and delete some. Some are good, but some can be omitted….
…..they were exited (excited) too many excited here on the same para, instead you can use enthused, thrilled, stimulated, stirred up, etc……

Sebnem wrote 41 days ago

German Derelict
Shaun Holt

R2G Review
Chapter 9

From Tehran to Vienna, on the spur of a moment….Trevor and Ressel must be out of Tehran, Trevor invites Autumn, and she accepts.

I have a question here. Autumn is staying at the hotel and paying the bill as she checks out? She spent the previous night in Trevor’s room. She did not have any clothes with her, just the hiking gear she was wearing. Now she has a bag? Does she not have a place to stay in Tehran, somewhere she calls home, keeps her personal stuff, hotel or otherwise? Or is this a secret? If it is, how come Trevor doesn’t get suspicious about this?

What’s up with the German woman???? It seems she was also at the restaurant at the Milad Tower and Arthur goes along with her….

Taxi driver, Barry, the Jamaican is some character. Your taxi driver characters are very interesting. They are educated and philosophical…..

After the tour of the presidential palace, Barry picks them up with his wife alongside, and they go to the zoo. At the restaurant, we find out Trevor’s father is a Senator, a Democrat, so, Trevor also has political connections…

Chicago, Autumn’s hometown is in the near horizon….

Another enjoyable chapter and Trevor and Autumn haven’t yet reached nirvana…I think it’s coming up soon. They’re being very old-fashioned and romantic…

Best wishes,

The Child of Heaven


kabiba wrote 42 days ago

R2G 'German Derelict' continued read - chapter 10

Trevor and Autumn continue their travelling romance in this chapter. I found the section on the pilot, Graham Nelson, interesting, but felt it came out of nowhere, and interrupted the flow of the chapter. I have a feeling you will elaborate on it later, and I was intrigued about how he will meet his end. Yet, it felt kind of 'plonked in' to the chapter, without anything to link to. You give a good sense of the grand scale of Dulles International Airport.

At the airport they meet Trevor's NEMA colleague, Jasmine, who is possibly a former love interest of Trevor's? There was a slightly awkward vibe going on.

I wondered why Trevor hid the fact that he had been to Rome twice? Interesting.

On the way to the Lincoln Memorial, they stop at the NEMA headquarters, and Autumn is introduced to the big boss, Samuel Decker. He is a no-nonsense type of man, who seems to have a good relationship with Trevor, judging by their easy rapport - 'He just hasn't taken his meds today.'

Funny - 'I don't give a damn about test tubes, making seedless watermelon, learning about foot fungus'

Samuel's skeleton staff and modest paycheck give a good picture of a man of principles, who avoids bureaucracy at all costs. Also very enterprising and bold.

Autumn learns that Trevor is just like her, with no fixed address and a post office box. They visit the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument. I liked Trevor's comment about military service - 'I'd be willing to die to save someone, but not willing to die because the politicians think there is something to gain by a war with another country.' Fair enough.

Edits: Is it really relevant that the first name on the wall is 'John H. Anderson Jr.'?

'Goodbyes (were) exchanged'

'prohibiting a view of the ocean' - I think 'blocking' would work better here.

Back soon.

Stone Circle

DJ-Gargoyle Chronicles wrote 42 days ago

German Derelict

I’m torn here… but mainly as to whether you should split the first chapter in two. The end of the first section had such a brilliant page turner, I would have stopped it there and gone onto 2008 in the next chapter. Besides that a nice fluent style. Some lovely literary passages, a few clucky expressions, but not too bad. You could possibly lose some of the background in the first section just to move it on a bit to get to that page turner. You can always fill those details in later. Some things you double up on for instance, like mentioning the Australian involvement twice, but for no real effect the second time. The contrast in tales was interesting. Autumn was nicely drawn, as was the, I assume, heat allusion of the soldiers appearing and reappearing. OK, pretty clean second chapter. I would definitely link the two pieces with Autumn into one chapter. The page turner at the end of the second chapter is nicely subtle… who the f!@# are these guys? Third chapter did little to answer any questions or move the plot along, if anything it brought up more questions. Is this dragging the plot back… hmmm, jury’s out. Chapter 4 – I get the feeling this should have been chapter 3, a bit like a crime book where you have 2 or 3 threads and alternate chapters between them, just a thought. Interesting chapter though. The whole Iranian President thing, but was it too clichéd? Would he speak like that? In fact. Would he visit or be allowed to visit the States? Hmm, yet as a plot device I can see where it could come in handy.

Very interesting and thoughtful beginning. So many possibilities, so many questions, but lunch time is over for me, so I must desist. Some notes per chapter below. I will continue, hope these help you and feel free to ignore, just my opinion and this is your baby.

The Maia Calendar

Chapter 1:
Five months previous
Made a series of calls to other world leaders
Grinned with satisfaction
Noticed the development
Mildly-strongly-worded - don’t need strongly here
…across (the) western…
Moon and sun allusion – very nice
Lots of sentences beginning with SHE in second half. Try to change it up a bit for variety.

Chapter 2:
You wouldn’t need to look back to see a baretta pressed to your temple as it is pressed and touching, you would know.

Chapter 3:
FACTITIOUSLY or facetiously???
…consoled herself TO the fact…

Chapter 4:
Giving everyone a height is a bit over the top… just a thought.
Hopes faded…
The dean (had) just ended…
Should Dean be with a capital – a name/title?
John Wilkes Booth line – LOL
Why do you have a trailing ‘ at the end of the speech paragraphs that continue on (IE the IRANIAN Presidents) These are not required.
…question (was) left unanswered
The event went on – perhaps – the event continued…

kabiba wrote 50 days ago

R2G 'German Derelict' continued read - chapter 9

Autumn is swept away to Austria with Trevor - do you think she should have a little more stalling/angst here? Again, she hardly knows him. Maybe she could ring a friend, agonize a bit more?

I liked the image of Ressel in his 'tight black mom jeans'

Good line - '...from the cradle of Islam to the birthplace of Hitler.'

I would have liked more sensory description of the flight itself - it all seemed a bit rushed.

Funny that Ressel picks up on the flight, and his worry about his organs getting harvested.

Interesting background on Vienna and I liked the detail about espionage.

Autumn and Trevor meet Barry the Jamaican taxi driver, and incongruous character in Austria. He fills them in on his life story, quite a common thing with taxi drivers!

Lol 'I hope Barry and his wife aren't swingers' - a legitimate concern!

I liked the description of Barry's wife.

Edit: I don't see the need for this part of the sentence about Autumn wanting to be alone with Trevor - 'and was developing plans for such an encounter.'

Good details - looking at other people's meals for inspiration due to the language barrier at the zoo, and the well-hung zebras.

A fun chapter, and I liked Barry.

Stone Circle

Sebnem wrote 50 days ago

German Derelict
Shaun Holt

R2G Review
Chapter 8

Boris Kornilov, Russian Federation Minister to Iran has a meeting with the Iranian President Osama Abalamabama. Boris also notices Trevor and Autumn, walking on the road, coincidence?

Good portrayal of characters, Boris, with his views about communism and democracy and his stance in the win-win situation; a selfish man, only after his own interests and ambitions…

I like the driver Kamal as well, as an honest, good-willed Moslem, trying to find something human and genuine in this man with no colour or feelings.

Very good dialogue between the Russian and the Iranian President, genuine and plausible…The Iranian President is a clever man…

Trevor and Autumn going up on the Milad Tower in Tehran, secrets are revealed about the past, two very sad stories, they regret. Regarding other secrets about what they are really doing in Tehran, they both know they are hiding things from each other.

Very enjoyable chapter…

Best wishes,

The Child of Heaven

Some notes for you:
“shrewd and ugly typical of a Russian.” LOL, I hope they won’t be sending their Sputniks at you…
“..up it?” sounds funny…
“…Farsi as the elevator as (delete) it (delete)…”
“So(,) I’m just trying…”

kabiba wrote 51 days ago

R2G 'German Derelict' continued read - chapter 8

I enjoyed the description of Boris Kornilov (good name). It was also interesting, in the context of this unattractive man, to get an insight into communism - human nature's desire for power and money succeeding even in a communist regime. It is not surprising he prefers a democracy though.

His dismissive attitude to the chauffeur says a lot about his character. I liked the connection of him spotting Autumn and Trevor at the Azadi tower. You bring in good cultural details into your writing.

'...even in their muses the Iranians had a fondness for long-range missiles'- good line.

The fact that he hates handshakes indicates a distant, detached personality, a squeamishness.

The president's comment was good and incisive 'You would sell your souls and your sons and daughters, all for money and oil.'

Kornilov's persuasive argument about the US not needing Iran anymore seems to do the trick, and the president does an abrupt turnaround in his interest in the nuclear weapon.

Trevor and Autumn are conversing at the Milad tower. They have a dizzying ascent in the lift, and have a more serious discussion at the top.

I was actually a bit freaked out by Autumn's story - it seemed too extreme. She would almost be psychologically damaged, or at least have major issues if something like that had happened. And would she really be sharing it with this near stranger?

Trevor's story was more believable. It is almost an awkward conversation, as they have gone in deep quite quickly.

They have a lighter, banter-type conversation at the end. An entertaining, interesting chapter. The pace is really good. Back with chapter 9 tomorrow.

Stone Circle

Sebnem wrote 55 days ago

German Derelict
Shaun Holt

Chapter 7

Very nice chapter, I like the switch between the two stories, Autumn and Trevor and Capt. Barrett and Kingsley.

Trevor and Autumn, by the way I love that name, are bound for a romantic relationship, as seen at the end of the chapter; moreover, they are both free at the moment. Trevor has asked to be relieved of his duties in Iran and
Autumn has told Sean Green she’d like some time off from her research.

We still don’t know much about her. Why does she cry in the shower? Why did she say she has nowhere to go? Obviously, she has a place to stay in Tehran as she’s doing a research, the particulars of which we don’t know yet. It’s some kind of research on Persian science. We meet Sean Green, the tall Irish-American at the library, whose height intimidates Trevor. We know Autumn is from Chicago and Trevor is originally a Southerner, brought up in California and later lived in Alaska. Petrol???

The exchanges between Capt. Barrett and Kingsley are also nice. They are warming up to each other. Kingsley is not saluted by the sailors, but his men also take no heed of the Captain when he enters their quarters. So, the SAS or the SBS is already settled in their quarters on the ship and Barrett has to comply with their presence on his boat, disregarding his rules about guns and probably, many others in the near future. It is as if they represent two independent entities.

Regarding the newsfeed to Barrett by the redheaded sailor, I think there’s some information there that will eventually tie to the story. It’s either about the US plane contract in Britain or the pipeline in Alaska, and maybe the rest of the details will also contribute to the plot.

The air of mystery continues as the ship is ready to sail and Trevor and Autumn are ready to sail into a romantic relationship.

Best wishes,

The Child of Heaven

They were playing American football? Very un-British, LOL…

kabiba wrote 58 days ago

'German Derelict' continued read - chapters 6-7

Ch 6
Chapter 6 takes us to Aden in Yemen - an interesting background on the city as an intro. You describe the uneasy balance between Western commerce and Islamic fundamentalism that exists there.

Edit: 'subjection' should be 'subjugation.'

I enjoyed the description of the British Naval Office as something out of a time warp. You could take this further by describing vintage fans, dust, old furniture etc - to give more of a visual.

Captain William Barrett seems a dignified, proud sort of character. The association between family position and military rank is a good detail. I liked the analogy about the Yankee uniform.

Great - 'his face particularly rumpled with fat.'

I thought it showed Barrett's meticulous character that he studies Davit's photographs, and interpreted from these his dislike of bureaucrats.

I can see there are going to be some high-action scenes about piracy coming up, as Barrett teams with the burly, tough Kingsley.

Ch 7
Edit: I'd suggest just saying 'Autumn Caldwell woke early' (no need to say earlier than anticipated.)

She is dreaming about Trevor and his amber eyes.

In this chapter you switch between Autumn and Trevor to Barrett and Kingsley. In each of these section breaks, you need to divide them with ***

Edit: 'got in the shower' - how about 'stepped into the shower'?

Good banter between Kingsley and Barrett, with Barrett asserting his somewhat regal nature by ignoring Kingsley's joke about a blow job.

The power tussle with the weapons was also well done.

It was funny that the British built a battleship when there is no real need for battleships in combat.

I think this mild power struggle is a precursor for larger ones to come on the open seas. They are both strong personalities.

Trevor pulls the alarm clock from the wall - a small thing, but a good indication of character. He is falling for Autumn's 'fighting' qualities.

His cream shirt doesn't match his trousers - just a little thing, but cream matches everything. Maybe orange, or khaki?

Trevor meets Autumn's friend Greene, who is protective of her, and picks up on the chemistry. An effective description of the library.

Autumn and Trevor share a moment - great stuff, but I'd ditch the 'gazed deep into each other's eyes.' - a bit cliched. The plot is moving along well, and I look forward to reading more.

Stone Circle

Sebnem wrote 59 days ago

German Derelict
Shaun Holt

Chapters 5-6

Well, this story is getting more and more interesting as I continue to read. We are back in Iran in Chapter 5 as Autumn, Knight, and Ressel are met by two NESA SUVs after their descent down the mountain.

On the way to Tehran, their conversation reveals that Knight and Ressel are hiding something with regard to their attitude towards the issue on the Iranian soldiers. And Autumn has nowhere to go, a little peculiar, but to their hotel to spend the night. Knight offers her his room, while he will be sharing Ressel’s room.

NEMA seems to be making a great deal of money in Iran. Re: pollution and transportation in the Tehran, besides other important contracts in the country. This again seems to be important point in the greater picture of events.

A romantic date between Autumn and Knight is in the horizon for the following night. I wonder what she’ll be wearing as she has no baggage with her. How come she doesn’t have anywhere to go? Where was she before she climbed the mountain? Does she live anywhere else?

Chapter 6

We are now in Yemen, at the British Naval office.

We meet Captain William Barrett, waiting for Gerald David, a high Ranking British official (MI6?), and John Kingsley, SAS….and the subject of the meeting is defending the international waters and the British fleet against the Somalian pirates, everyone’s headache these days…

Barrett and Kingsley are from very different backgrounds and occupations. Barrett is young, sophisticated, upper class, and educated, whereas Kingsley is rough, strong, and aggressive, but capable and professional in his job. How will the two get along? Can Barrett handle Kingsley with his inexperience in the job? Will Kingsley bully and ignore him?

Very interesting premises and potential issues all over the world…must read on to find out.

Best wishes,

The Child of Heaven

Notes Chapter 5
“Does the boss pay you to go on hikes(?)”
How does she study his amber eyes when he is driving? Wouldn’t she see just his profile in that position?
They go very swiftly from the lobby to his room. I think you may need to indicate that they walked or took the lift to his room, or something in that order.
Notes Ch 6:
Oversea or overseas?
Is Barrett a Captain who is a captain?
“…weren’t in any highly visible areas and(/but were) off to the sides.
“…you will happen across (come across? encounter?).”
Did they go out of the office together? Did Kingsley follow him? I think you need to add something in that order.

Sebnem wrote 62 days ago

German Derelict
Shaun Holt

Chapter 4

Tom Gabriel March, Professor of Chemistry at the University of Pennsylvania…

Prof March is interested in steam engines and the nuclear bomb. There is a reason for his presence in this chapter; it will probably tie to the North Korean nuclear missiles in the First Chapter. He is a devout Republican and a nationalist, holding sympathetic views with the imperialistic approach of US over the world; i.e. supporting the war in Viet-Nam.

The Iranian President comes to the University to make a speech. I love the contrasting views of the Iranian President, with the Arabic sounding name. Although, of course, exaggerated, there is a great deal of truth in what he says about the US politics and approach in global affairs. The President and Prof March are from two opposing angles of the spectrum and their short exchange is very humorous. The President’s view regarding the holocaust is also a remarkable variation on what we have witnessed or have been presented so far on this subject. Other witty remarks about Hiroshima, the nuclear bomb, the US hypocritical approach to nuclear power, US invasion of Iran and Afghanistan from a different point of view make this a very interesting and humorous read.

I think Shaun Holt is a good storyteller, who has researched his work in great detail.

I look forward to reading the rest.

Best wishes,

The Child of Heaven

Some notes for you, please consider/ignore at your leisure:
“…if not entirely, physically, at least emotionally.” too many “ly” adverbs, close together can be reworded it to include one…
“…somewhere in the twenties for (its?) size globally.” Otherwise, it sounds confusing
“..he could’ve hoped..” could have would be better in narration.
Yet(,) the Iranian President.” The next sentence “Yet(,) as far as…”
“(If) Nuclear warfare isn’t going to be……(,) Iran wouldn’t…..”
“Arab???” he’s not an Arab, he’s Persian, that’s different race…his name also sounds Arabic to me, but I’m assuming you have researched that…(Osama bin Ladin is Arabic)

kabiba wrote 65 days ago

‘German Derelict’ continued read - chapters 4-5

Chapter 4
In this chapter about Tom Marsh, the chemistry professor, I thought the issues raised about perceptions of the Middle East and American politics were thought provoking, and I was interested to hear both sides.

I felt, however, that the way it is structured at present is too text heavy. The long speech of the Iranian president is not broken up by much description or narrative, and I found myself scanning a little. Also, I’m not sure what your intentions were with Tom Marsh as a character, but I found him unappealing - pompous and arrogant. This is obviously fine if that is what you were intending. But if you want the reader to sympathise with him, not so good. I was almost siding with the president - again, I’m not sure if this was your intention. It is quite a different chapter to your other ones, with their distinct pace and action. I would suggest making it a shorter chapter, and cutting down the speech. You could also intersperse it with more reactions/descriptions of the crowd.

I liked the line ‘Please, Marsh thought, please stand up, John Wilkes Booth.’

Chapter 5
This chapter gives us more information about Knight and Ressel, and the purpose of NEMA.

It seems Autumn is already attracted to Knight, judging by her examination of him in the car.

I liked the relaxed banter between the two men - a good line - ‘Alfred needs constant attention’ Knight (explained) whispered ‘He has abandonment issues.’ I would ditch the explained.

Autumn is baffled about the soldiers, and why Knight and Ressel are trying to sweep the incident under the carpet.

All the information conveyed by Knight about Tehran was interesting - their self-sufficiency, pollution problems, and the solutions found by NEMA. I am imagining this is weaving of fact and fiction, and it did make me wonder if anyone was addressing the problem in reality.

The explanation about the pollution problem was well done - ‘Those beams cook up the pollutants, which effectively microwaves the city…like Los Angeles.’

I wondered why Autumn went to their hotel so readily - I thought this stretched plausibility somewhat. She has only just met them, and surely she already has a hotel. If so, wouldn’t she need to phone and cancel her booking? To take over Knight’s room is quite personal - wouldn’t they get her another room? Just some thoughts for you to mull over. I enjoyed this chapter and will be back soon.

Stone Circle

Elizabeth Kathleen wrote 65 days ago

You are a great writer. Your words build suspense and entertain all at the same time. I enjoyed reading this and hope to read more, but since it's after 1 a.m. I must make myself stop.
God bless!!!
Elizabeth Kathleen
"If Children are Cheaper by the Dozen, Can I Get a Discount on Six?"
"The Sticks and Stones of Hannah Jones"

Zoe Morgan wrote 66 days ago

Hi, Shaun :-)

I read to chapter three and I feel rather more educated! (Even if this is a fictional view of world events) you have a real confidence in your narrative which persuades the reader too easily that this is real!

I like the atmosphere created in the observation of the North Korean vessel by the Japanese in your prologue. However your voice changes somewhat in chapter becomes poetic - " after peering up at the indigo-blue sky, on would fear disappointment when setting their eyes back down to this terra cotta earth".

I liked this chapter....I thought this would be a great opener!

This is clearly a very well polished piece of work here and (even though I'm a girl! I will be reading more!

Good luck with this! I really enjoyed it! I hope it gets the reads it deserves!

Zoe x

Sebnem wrote 67 days ago

German Derelict
Shaun Holt

Review Chapters 1-3

I had to read the first sentence of the Prologue a few times, to understand the metaphor about football. Although it is very well written, perhaps it might be better to start with something that is familiar to all. The next part of the Prologue sets the scene, yet it reads like a Time Magazine or Newsweek article. There is a great deal of information there, most likely relevant to the plot.

The part about the Japanese Navy destroyer following the North Korean Cargo boat, the Captain’s Iida’s family at home, and a Chinese boat arriving to supply fuel for the North Koreans, picks up the pace slowly. However, for me the story began with Autumn climbing the Iranian mountains. I wonder if it would be better to begin the chapter with Autumn’s story and present the information bit a later. This might enhance the flow of your first chapter.

Autumn’s venture for a hiking excursion on a mountain in Iran made me wonder what an American girl is doing on her own in a hostile country that has frail diplomatic ties with the US. Amber’s story begins with beautiful descriptions of the setting. I have not seen an emerald moon, but it sounds enticing. However, the sun and the moon in the sky at the same time is something familiar. I like “indigo sky” and Amber’s “depthless brown eyes, almost violet coloured in certain light.”

This chapter ends with a page turner where Amber is stopped by the Iranian soldiers.

Chapters 2 and 3 introduce the two mysterious men, the tall, blond guy, Trevor Knight, with the amber eyes and Alfred Ressel, the Englishman, after Autumn hits one of the soldiers on the nose. I thought that was a very brave and unexpected act for a woman in such a situation. Who are these men, why do they have guns, what are they doing on the mountain? To me they sound like CIA agents although they say they work with NEMA, engineers without borders. The party of three hikes down the mountain and a pick-up vehicle is arranged on their descent.

This is a well-researched and well-written story, with an intriguing plot. Your profile states you are seeking comments after the first 3 chapters. So, I will read some more chapters in the week and post my comment.

Best wishes,

The Child of Heaven
Ch1 para beginning “If the Australians…” “would’ve” I think “would have” would be better there as this is not speech.

kabiba wrote 70 days ago

‘German Derelict’ review - chapters 1-3

This was a good opening para, with the inhabitants of the ship pitched around in high seas - ‘Then gravity reared its ugly head.’

Although I found the background information about North Korea, and the complicated game of politics surrounding their nuclear threat very interesting, I felt this section could have been shorter, so as a reader, I could plunge into the narrative itself. Chapter 1 and 2 draw me in more, as there is lots of action.

This is a genre I’m not very familiar with, so I’m wondering if details about ships and who manufactured them (Mitsubishi Heavy Industries) is a hallmark of the genre? If it’s not a genre specific thing, then I would suggest leaving it out.

Captain Iida is described well, but I thought some kind of anecdote about his daughter might convey his love better than ‘He loved Kiyoko.’

I liked ‘The bridge was quiet of human voices, except for Captain Iida Takeshi muttering under his own breath.’

Chapter 1
I loved the opening passage with its description of the sky in the Alborz mountains- ‘To an observer, it looked as if the sun and moon had an estranged relationship.’ Very poetic para.

Edit: terra cotta should be one word (terracotta)

The visual feast of the sky is a stark contrast to the barren wasteland of the landscape.

We meet Autumn Caldwell - the young adventurous American. From the list of her supplies, we see she is also highly organized. I liked the detail of her crooked-tipped nose.

Edit: ‘This was more of a hobby (to her) than one of her chief pursuits in life.’

I also liked that she is so laid-back about her exotic hike that she is listening to an mp3 player, as if she were strolling around the block.

Edit: ‘While the music (largely) kept her from getting bored.’
‘Specter’ should be ‘spectre’

Chapter 2
Autumn is then accosted by the Iranian soldiers. ‘menacingly waving the barrels of their weapons (at her).

I thought her reaction of anger was unusual, but I liked the unexpectedness of it.

I would cut down on your use of adverbs where possible.

A good description of the punch - ‘resulting in a satisfying crunching sound, spurting blood over his cheeks.’

The scene of the rescue was very well done. My only query was how Knight managed to creep up on the other soldier when he didn’t seem distracted?

Chapter 3
You have set up some intrigue about the two men - what their true purpose is in Iran, other than good deeds with engineering.

I liked that Knight enjoyed pronouncing the name of the village - Kalaak-e-Baalaa.

Edit: ‘They were merely Good Samaritans.’ This sentence isn’t necessary as you have said they meant her no harm in the preceding sentence.

It was an effective analogy to say the two men were like teenage friends hanging out on a Saturday afternoon.

You ended the chapter with the hook of Autumn wondering about the two men.

This is a great start to an intriguing story. High stars and watchlisted.

Stone Circle

L. J. Grove wrote 87 days ago

Hi Shaun!

I've read more of your manuscript - up to chapter four. Thought I'd quickly make some comments of things that strike me, or stood out, etc, to me.

Chap 1

The first line in the second paragraph I had to read twice. It is because of the word 'Amid'. Your setting is in Iran and I thought Amid was a

Likewise with the name 'Autumn' - I had to read the sentence twice because I just naturally thought is was the season. ;)

The sun is described in the west - to me that usually means it is setting, but then it says night is 5 hours away and to me it would make the time around 12.30pm for Autumn where the sun would be directly overhead - a really bad time to go hiking. This is because 'night' is the confusion - it has many definitions. To me 'night' is when the sun is down, hence me thinking that it was logically 12.30 in the day. To Scandinavians 'night' starts at 9pm - so 5 hours previous would make them read it differently (probably more correctly) ;). It guess it is about the culture of the person reading your story.

There is a dress code for tourist women in Iran - hijab and long robes. It would be very dangerous or offensive for Autumn to be out and about in shorts and a tank - even on her own.

Chap 2

There is a line 'It was a man, another American.' It sounds like the perspective is from Autumns POV - so how does she know the guy is American without any reference to dialect or clothing such as a flag on his shoulder?

Both the men have amber eyes? I thought it was because they were wearing army issue contacts for the sun or something. The first guy, Trevor, I thought was British because it says he is 'English'-speaking. Is he American? I got the fact that Don was American. But because they have the same colour eyes 'amber' I don't know which is being talked about by Autumn further down - 'the amber-eyed man', etc.

'Upperclassman' - perhaps, 'Gentleman' would be better?

Chap 3

I don't understand 'Alf' - is he a person? or is it an abbreviation for something?

I liked the line: 'didn't know if he was being courteous or cowardly.'

Chap 4

From this chapter I noticed how people's heights were important for the author to make known. To me heights aren't particularly important unless they are unusual or integral to the story. In your story I thought they weren't necessary and found myself having to stop reading to convert the inches to - being Aussie, and a girl. I guess heights are important for male readers? (Since I feel that this book is directed towards them).

I really liked the backstory to the professor, it was a good read, but I found that his internal thoughts didn't match his background. Being a PHD professor and 55, I thought he'd comment a little more 'educationally'. Commenting on the Iranian President's grammar was very petty - since the 2000s there was a movement at universities to appreciate people with other languages, not to dismiss them because they didn't speak perfect English because they could be the ones to cure cancer. It would not go down well for his career if he made this petty trait known to his colleagues. But I'm guessing that is what you want the professor to be like??

After chapter four it feels like I haven't got into the actual story yet. I've read three set ups. I'm presuming these stories will collide at some point - I certainly want to find out the connection.

The read has made me realise that I'm a little more girly than I One thing I miss that wasn't sustained was the romantic description of Iran. If that POV is only connected to Autumns story, I think it would be nice for it to weave in and out a little more - the beauty and the terror intertwined - her senses are heightened because of her awe which makes her feel the terror that much more (sorry, didn't mean to rhyme

I hope this helps. I think I'm a little odd at reviewing - the story is not my genre - I need more practice :D. I guess it is good to get diverse feedback though. ;)

L.J. Grove
-Diamond Dogs-

Joshua Stocking wrote 110 days ago

I read chapter six and liked it all. Your charachterization was near perfect for each new individual presented within the chapter. You did not give too much nor too little. The event within was intriguing also. It makes me want to read on to see what will happen next...

Joshua Stocking wrote 111 days ago

I've read read chapter five now and find the dialogue very, very corny. Knight and Ressel are like two old dogs trying to put on the tricks tricks they don't remember anymore, especially Ressel. Which does make it comical in its own right. Good job. I'll be going onto the next chapter.

p.s.: I wonder, who does Samuel Decker remind me of so much? =)

Joshua Stocking wrote 111 days ago

I've read read chapter 3& 4 and liked them a lot, however, I have some comments on 4.
I like how you went in depth on the professor, but the whole time I was reading the beginning of the chapter I just didn't feel like the information was flowing, like you were jumping around a bit. I felt a bit diconnected and that some of the information wasn't all that necessary. I think was all a bit fuzzy to me, though by the time you got to the speech you were pretty much golden and it got me mad just like i was supposed to(i hope). In light of this, I think the crowd listening would have been even more furious. You depicted them like they were meek though when they were being trashed bitten and i'm pretty sure that they all would have bitten back. I know i would. Yes, there were protesters on the streets but they played a dismal role. Have the audince vent thier anger like they would of in reality. Also, why is the Iranian president in the US? To give this one speach? Or are there others? Lastly, if the Iranian president was speaking, where was his security? He is the president of a country you know.

Great job so far, I like what your doing. I will continue to read on.

L. J. Grove wrote 112 days ago

Hi, Shaun!

Wow - political thriller. It is interesting. I don't know much about this genre, so I'll just mention a few things that I know about, and I hope I'll add stuff of value.

Just a few random notes -


It seems that the narrator does not like the American Germany is actually very peaceful country now. They have become the symbol of social responsibility in the EU and are NOW known for doing the right/honourable thing in Europe. Though, I do live in Norway (who was occupied by Germany, but I do know the Brits still have a secret distain for them.) Germany are actually one of the richest countries in the world, they are very industrious, and are very generous. They have been leading the way of bailing out the EU countries that have failed because of financial problems. Your narrator has an old English-speaking world view about Germany, I think. Is that what you were going for? Is that supposed to be the view of the narrator? (*please read under about ideas of the prologue narrator ;) )

When I was reading your prologue it reminded me of a video I saw of all the nuclear bombs that have been ever been detonated. It was actually made by a Japanese artist too - have you seen it? I think it might give you an idea of such things. Have to keep your mouse pointer off the film so you can see the country tallies up the top:

I know your writing is fiction but it comes across as if it is true, so I kept on reflecting to my own knowledge about world affairs to see if your writing was authentic. As a reader, because this is so close to the world reality, I need to know if I can rely on my own understanding of the real world to interpret your fictional world or have to abandon my understanding and knowledge it to understand your book. This is because I'm certainly not used to reading political dramas, etc. When something is so close to real life but has only a few differences, I find myself constantly having to remind myself of that all the way through the book. Maybe it is just my problem :D

My uncle is Japanese so I know a little about their culture. I think it is very unlikely that a Captain of a ship has two children (or even most Japanese for that matter) because of the expense. I think at the moment Japan is going through a de-population - no one wants to have children because they can't afford them.

Also, about the daughter's birthday. Japan has a few birthdays that are culturally special. The third, fifth and seventh have a lot of significance. I'm guessing if you want Iida to have more of a pang when missing his daughter's birthday it would be on one of those years.

The name Iida is a very unusual name. I actually looked it up and it seems to be more common as a surname.

The Japanese don't generally bring personal desires or wants into the workplace, as a custom.

Part One:

OMG! You have to start with this! The prologue doesn't do your writing justice. If you want to increase your readership from this site, (meaning, girls and women, many of them who need romance, mood and softer writing) you have to start with part one. The prologue and Part one have two completely different mind frames.

I loved the first paragraph. The moon and sun were very romantic! lol It was a completely different mood than the prologue, it hit me like getting into a warm bath on a cold winters day.

Now I've only read two sections (the prologue and part one), so I'm probably adding two and two and getting ten here, but it seems you are writing from the point of view from the main character in that section. If so, it makes me think that the prologue has a supposed Japanese voice (Iida) - strong, masculine and opinionated about the west, and the Part One has a female voice - an american, female, soft, nostalgic, even though at war. If so, and the reason why I say 'supposed' is because I'm not sure if the prologue is true to voice - it seems a little western stereotypical even though it is written in empathy of Iida. The Japanese are some of the most gentle people in the world (actually, the Japanese have a problem with depression largely due to financial and educational stress and suicide rates are very high) - then the feel, I believe, should be more 'haiku' - short, thoughtful, reflecting but straight to the point . Japanese are very plain and simple - Wabi Sabi (have you looked up this beautiful way of understanding the world, if you don't already know about it?)
Also, a quick note about Germany and Japan - IF the story is told sympathetically of Iida, then the comments about Germany would be more of allies, (even though it was out of convenience).

Of course, I'm not sure how strong a character Iida is, or important, whether or not it is good to bother about such deep characterization, or not. ;)

During the prologue I was wondering how much longer I could read (I think it is good that it is short - maybe it can be a little short even), as soon as the Part One hit I was begging for more.

I hope this has helped some. I work in theatre so developing strong characters from within has been essential for me. But I'm not familiar with this genre so not sure if its needed.

In truth, I normally don't read prologues - I go straight to chapter one, but I like to live dangerously! lol But I would like to see more character or 'Japanese' style in the prologue if it is kept at the beginning of your story. I think it would attract a much broader audience, as the tone would become a little different, perhaps. But because of your part one, I want to read more. ;)

'Diamond Dogs'

Joshua Stocking wrote 116 days ago

The biggest question i have on chapter two is how can the Iranians fall for the "look behind you trick" if they don't know English? I am really getting the Dirk Pitt feel with this chapter and can tell who resembles Pitt and who Giordino. However, though this chapter is very well-written, I find the interviening duo's entrance a bit too sporadic, or random. I understand the concept of intervention, but to put more detail into their sudden appearances would help, like something of how the mountain foilage rattled and shook as an ominace figure materialized into sight or something of the sort. Make their appearance feel important and plot changing, not sporadic and largely by luck and chance. As for in the end when Autumn departs with Trevor and Alfred, I think you should evoke some kind of wearriness in running off with too odd, and armed, strangers. Any person would be cautious of such, even after being saved by Iragi militants. Overall, good job on second chapter. I found no apparent gramatical mistakes.

Joshua Stocking wrote 117 days ago

Never mind with my former comment on the versus. I get why know. though short scripture of the verse would still help.

Joshua Stocking wrote 117 days ago

Based on my reading of the first chapter, I can already tell that you like Clive Cussler at least as much as I do. Like he, the work is laden with research and has an air legitimacy about it. Of the first chapter, i would say tht the part that you call your prequel is by far the strongest of the two parts in your first chapter. How it does a bit of polishing nd is a tad long winded though no doubt nessecary. As for the second part of the chapter when the character came in, I would say that it started out great and immediatey grabbed however i found it becoming vague towards the end when the Iraqi militanta come in. The characterization is great and i felt as if i could see the character. Overall i would say that you need more polishing and what i have read so far i an abvious display in talent. I will keep reading nd put this on my watch lists and probably eventually on by bookshelf with a backing. I just came across this on my first time on he website and thought i'd comment on your great work. Wou'll hear from me again no doubt. P.S. : i found it odd that i saw verses at the beginning of both parts but no actuall scripture. I'm sure adding it whatever the purpose would aid the reader.

sensual elle wrote 207 days ago

The plot appears solid and the author's verisimilitude convinced me he knows his business. Readers will undoubtedly compare this with the Dirk Pitt series, but with polishing, I'm convinced this novel can hold it's own. Backed.

Kenneth Edward Lim wrote 320 days ago

While doing their part to help stem nuclear proliferation, spooks Trevor and Autumn fall for each other and romance blooms. Meanwhile, North Korea is playing chicken with its nuclear testung, Iran is forging ahead with its uranium enrichment and Russian elements are selling nuclear assets to the highest bidder. Your clearcut descriptives drive a strong narrative, the dialogue conveying backstory, both enhancing the flow. Thank you so much for the intriguing read.

Kenneth Edward Lim
The North Korean

HGridley wrote 400 days ago

Chapter four: adds an interesting new perspective to the story. I loved the first paragraph; I could see Marsh.
The only problem is in the third paragraph. "Marshes", not "Marsh's"!!! Apostrophes don't form plurals. Adding -s or -es does.

HGridley wrote 400 days ago

Chapter three: also good. I like the final paragraph especially. It seems to hint what the rest of the books will be about!

HGridley wrote 400 days ago

Chapter two: hardly anything to improve. Great job...interesting!

Andy M. Potter wrote 419 days ago

Hiya Shaun, nice one! solid adventure/thriller tale. great geopolitical angle.
best wishes, andy

Cathy Hardy wrote 463 days ago

This is a great story for kids and I would buy it for my grandson. A good old fashioned tale, beginning with an exciting descriptive scene on the seas. You are flying up the ranks and I wish you luck. High stars!!

Andrea Taylor wrote 463 days ago

This is in the best traditions of an adventure story. Its what I call a 'boys' book but that doesnt make it any less of a page-turner! My son used to give me his finished books and while i cant recall the authors names, this reads in a similar and familiar style, so that I can easily see it adorning the airport book shelves.
Its hard to pick out any particular descriptions because they are all excellent, but I especially liked the opening sequence where the ship crested the heavy seas. Having been at sea, it brought it all back (but just a reminder that once a big wave is crested and the ship falls, it then 'wallows,' rolls side to side, tossed like a toy, before being swept up to the pinnacle of the next wave). Anyway, nit picking aside, great story, expertly told!
The de Amerley affair

Seringapatam wrote 482 days ago

Shaun, I like your story and it is clear you have done your homework as you tell your story with such accuracy. I know there are some issues that have been listed below, but I feel that once you have tightened this up you will have a very good book on your hands. Well done and I will be scoring this high.
Sean Connolly British Army on the Rampage. (B.A.O.R)

Jaclyn Aurore wrote 486 days ago

Hi Shaun,

I'll start by saying this is not my normal read.... however, jumping right into action is enough to sway me...

Personally, i like the descriptions - particularly once in Part 1

I've noticed other people comment on you comparing your novel to other authors... I'd consider doing this on your personal profile, and not so much your book. People had compared my book to Twilight (though i seriously still don't know why, it's not even paranormal, but hey ho, i'll take it as a compliment nonetheless) - this drew in some readers, but it also pushed many readers away. Having that right in the pitch for your book can turn many people off... but, as far as 'advice' goes - that's all i got, my friend!

Happy holidays,

Jaclyn x
It Never Happened -

K A Perkins wrote 493 days ago

hi Shawn,
I've read the prequel & 4 chapters so far.

Love the cover and title, liked the SP but not so sure about the LP - it didn't really grab me, especially for a book of action, maybe more 'power' words would help? eg, 'terror', 'horrific', 'race against time' etc (tho' not sure what would fit without reading whole book).

The action is great and the situation you describe very tense but it is described rather than shown, and i didn't really get fully engaged with it, or with the characters mentioned. I think I would have got on with it better if it had been told from one person's point of view, maybe the Japanese ship's Captain - although that is only a very subjective opinion.

Part 1
Your descriptions and use of language is excellent, very evocative, and finally a character's point of view! And a well-described character too with good insights into her character. This makes a massive difference for me and reads so much better - now I'm engaged with the book.
I like your short chapters, you employ great & effective hooks, and your writing is very polished. This is pacy, action-packed, full of threat & suspense, emotive, plausible and exciting with great characters (I especially liked the interplay between Ressel and Knight).
Apart from the prologue, this is near perfect and I found it hard to break off long enough to write a comment - I will be back to read the rest.
Based on what I've read so far, I think you're doing yourself a disservice comparing yourself to Clive Cussler - stick to Tom Clancy :)!
6 stars and I will back when there is room on my shelf - well done.

I would be very interested to hear what you think about An Ill Wind at some point if you have time:
Thank you

Brian G Chambers wrote 496 days ago

Tahnk you for your support of Tales for Children. It is much appreciated. I have read some of your work it is not really my genere but I liked it. It took me a while to get into it but once I'd read a couple of chapters I found myself really getting into it. As far as I can see it is well researched and well written. High stars from me for now and going on my WL.
Best wishes