Friday, September 11, 2015

Noble Beginnings by L.T. Ryan, 2012

The conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq escalated ever since the Soviet Union invaded the first in 1979 and America went to war with the second in 1990. The Soviet occupation of Afghanistan and Saddam Hussein’s intrusion of Kuwait, which led to Operation Desert Shield, deepened the turmoil in the two volatile regions. Since then, both countries have spiralled out of control. The proxy wars waged by terrorists against the West culminated in 9/11 and provoked America into bombing its way back into the conflict zones.

Noble Beginnings, the first thriller in the Jack Noble series by L.T. Ryan, is set in the backdrop of America's heightened involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq, which was sufficient reason for me to accept the free offer of the 222-page Kindle edition and read it in three sittings. I have a keen interest in war and espionage, both real and fictional.

Although the premise looked promising, I was disappointed with the story. It wasn't gripping, as the cover and the description hinted, and it wasn't very well-written, as I thought it would be. It was too long and meandering, and there were mistakes in the narrative. I got the impression that it wasn't read through and edited thoroughly.

Might the plot be the saving grace? Not really. I felt the writer lost the plot as soon as he returned the two marines, Jack Noble and his friend Bear, back to the US.

Noble and Bear are on loan to the CIA in Iraq where their expertise as highly trained US marines is wasted. They are made to stand guard when special agents conduct secret operations. After one special op, Noble and Bear are framed for the murder of an Iraqi family they tried to save.

Back in America, the fearless marines are constantly on the run from mysterious agents who want to silence them. In their defence Nobel and Bear are forced to kill some of their pursuers. The two friends 
realise they are victims of a conspiracy when the colonel, whom they trained under and trust, and a highly-placed government official end up dead. 

Who in the US government is after them? Who is imprisoning and killing fellow marines who took part in the ‘programme’ in Iraq? Does someone want to shut down the ‘programme’ because it has been compromised or is somebody high up in the government trying to hide something more sinister?

Jack Noble is desperate for some answers. Does he find them in A Deadly Distance, the second book, or others in the series? I'm not too eager to find out.

The plot of Noble Beginnings would have been convincing, had it been more realistic, in light of what happened in Iraq—Abu Ghraib, for instance, where US soldiers and CIA agents are believed to have tortured Iraqi prisoners. It was also a poor effort at introducing Noble whose character, I thought, lacked conviction.

This is the second thriller I read in recent weeks where the lead characters are either on the run or giving chase for far too long, without seeming to get anywhere.

L.T. Ryan is a writer of suspense thrillers and post-apocalyptic fiction.


  1. Too bad you didn't like this, Prashant. But at least it didn't cost you anything. :)
    I don't like the character name: Jack Noble. I mean: please be a bit more creative if naming your lead character - no? But I would accept it if the book were exceptional.

    At any rate, you might like a book I recently read which, though it was fiction and humorous fiction at that, had a lot to do with the outrages at Abu
    Ghraib. THE NIGHT CREW by Brian Haig. This writer has a real sense of outrageously dark humor and a lot of writing talent which is very obvious in his series featuring Jag lawyer Sean Drummond. I also recommend Nelson DeMille's recent books featuring fictional middle eastern terrorists doings here in this country and in the middle east. Can't go wrong with Nelson DeMille. Happy reading, Prashant.

  2. I agree, Prashant, the premise sounds like it would be good. So it is a shame you did not enjoy it.

  3. Disappointing for you - but at least you have warned the rest of us off this one!

  4. It's unfortunate but I've found some thrillers too that are less than thrilling. It's not an easy genre to write in it seems to me.

  5. Shan't be rushing to this one then, better luck with your next read!

  6. I'm so sorry hear you were disappointed in this one, Prashant. The premise certainly sounded thrillerish, but a book that's too long, and with little in the way of compelling plot, doesn't seem very thrillerish to me. I think I'll give this a miss.

  7. I tend to not read too many of these sorts of geo-political thrillers (I usally find them too long for one thing) - but this doesn;t sound very interesting - thanks Prashant, sorry you didn't get more out of it.