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Book reviews for "Farnsworth,_Clyde" sorted by average review score:

Love in the Balance
Published in Paperback by Bella books (01 December, 2001)
Author: Marianne K. Martin
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my most difficult reading experience in some time
About twenty pages into _Shadow Wars_, a 'thriller' about intrigues concerning Israeli nuclear technology, I wanted to just put it aside--far aside. Then I decided I had a duty to other readers, however painful, to finish the book so as to be able to give it an honest review. Now I feel like my literary sensibilities have been beaten and left for dead, but I may yet save others from this fate.

Why? Well, at the top of the list I'd put the use of language. Farnsworth has a large vocabulary and is sure to use it whenever possible. Sample snippet: "Dmitri tipped a little of the rich, black, glutinous caviar onto his bread. The eggs were smooth and oily on his tongue, and as he chewed, they popped and tingled almost erotically." For a moment I was afraid he might get amourous with the caviar jar. Or: "At Princeton he weighed the parallels between an old car engine and the universe. Some bolts were tiny and remote as dwarf stars. Piston rings were black holes. God was the universal voltage regulator." Hey, what'd Princeton ever do to Farnsworth, anyway? I'm serious. I couldn't make this stuff up.

On the positive side, Farnsworth seems to have consulted some pronunciation and linguistic references; on the downside, he overdid the shallow and bungled when it got at all deep. He has an adult male Israeli addressing another as though the latter were female (a grammatical distinction in Hebrew that stands out like a neon sign). The shelf in the apartment can't just be a simple shelf; no, it's an 'étagère'. And on, and on, until we say 'oy, vay, sacre bleu'.

The story had potential and even held some periodic excitement, though the suspension of disbelief was generally hanged by the neck, so to speak, in most parts. Let's put it this way: any book whose demonization of the CIA strikes me as unbelievably harsh must truly have strained credibility. In another area, one of the technologies (cold fusion; no, *really*) in the book would have applications extending far, far past the uses portrayed, yet not until deep into the book does this even occur to anyone. One just cannot picture real people in the real world behaving as do the characters in the book.

Hard to say to whom _Shadow Wars_ might appeal. There's something here to turn off just about everyone. I recommend you let it pass you over.

Intelligent and Suspenseful
I really enjoyed this book. The story is fast moving and unpredictable, the settings (particularly in Israel) are richly described, and best of all, the characters are extremely well developed. As a stream of interesting new characters are introduced, the reader is kept guessing as to which ones will become ongoing parts of the story and which will be left in the wake.

In particular, I liked the matrix of relationships between the character communities. On the one hand, each person has a political affiliation: Russian, Israeli, Palestinian, American, ... And on the other hand, each person has a professional affiliation: Science, Intelligence, Executive Government, Journalism, ... Who should trust whom? The combination of possibilities is complex and fascinating - particularly since even those that share the same politics and profession are usually in competition with each other. The author has a great knack for showing the genuinely difficult context that each group must operate within, and how easy it is for members of each group to justify just about anything in the name of their greater good - which in most cases, coincidently, seems to support their personal ambitions as well.

Very exciting, much character development & sense of place!
A real page turner, from opening scenes in Lake Baikal, through escapes and escapades in the Middle East (mainly Israel and Egypt), Washington, Colorado, Paris, Zurich and Palo Alto. Amazing knowledge of physics and finances adds to verisimilitude of background. One of the few novels where a nuclear physicist is the hero -- in fact, there are several, including one woman. Much more character development and sense of locale than the ordinary thriller. I assume it will become a movie someday.

Forever Female
Published in VHS Tape by Paramount Studio (24 February, 1993)
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