source for free and affordable eBooks


Powered by FreeFind

Site search
Web search

    Review of THE POWERS THAT BE by Cliff Ryder

    ROOM 59

    GOLD EAGLE, January 2008

    Cuba is in turmoil. Cuban immigrants living in the United States have never given up their Bay of Pigs dreams to regain control over that island nation and the people of Cuba continue to suffer under a brutal dictatorship. When the operatives of Room 59, a secret U.N. anti-terrorism agency, get word that a new invasion of Cuba, coupled with assassination of one or both Castros is in the works, at least some of them want to wish it good luck. But the examples of Iraq and other American adventures are clear--simply removing evil dictators is more likely to result in civil war and even more civilian suffering than in some utopian outcome.

    Kate Cochran is given the task of heading off disaster and is surprised when one of her senior executives asks to be lead operative. Jonas Schrader was involved in a mission in Cuba during the 1970s and has never forgotten the near-disaster, nor what he left behind. What he doesn't tell Kate is that he just might have to compromise the mission itself for his personal goals. And neither Kate, nor the Room 59 team, allow anything to compromise the mission--ever.

    Author Cliff Ryder combines solid action with just a touch of military technology and enough emotional depth to make us buy into the character in an engaging thriller. In Room 59, as in the real world, characters are forced to make choices between grim alternatives--propping up evil dictators vs. allowing anarchy and a destructive civil war--rather than idealistic but unrealistic alternatives. Both of the major operatives find themselves sympathizing with the rebel movement they're sworn to eliminate, and Jonas in particular, has personal reasons to hold his hand. The Cuban Major assigned to assassinate Raul Castro is likewise sympathetic--even though his mission is one Room 59 hopes to stop.

    For the most part, Ryder's writing is smooth and engaging. Occasionally, however, Ryder's style struck me as awkward. I found the internal dialogue occasionally obtrusive. Still, THE POWERS THAT BE is an intelligent look at the real questions facing those who would battle against terrorism, where every terrorist is, at least to some, also a freedom fighter battling oppression and dictatorship.

    Three Stars

    Reviewed 2/09/08

    Ready to buy it now? Click the buy now button.

    Visit to read more reviews or to purchase THE POWERS THAT BE from

    Rather buy it from Barnes and Noble?

    Buy the eBook version from

    What do you think? Too generous? Too stingy? Or did I miss the entire point? Send your comments to Give me the okay to use your name and I'll publish all the comments that fit (and don't use unprintable language).

    Check out the Alexa toolbar. It blocks pop-ups (you get to choose), it's free, and it tells you about what websites are popular and who owns them.