Tuesday, December 20, 2011

THE LAST MAN by P.T. Deutermann

P.T. Deutermann is one of my favorite authors of action and suspense. I've been hooked since I first read "Official Privilege," about a Naval investigation of a body found in a mothballed battleship. A retired Naval Officer and Pentagon insider, Deutermann weaves his knowledge of military minutiae and political gamesmanship into incredibly taut and suspenseful plot lines.

Though he excels at stories about the US Navy, he is not limited to that sub-genre. Several of his later books are set in the wilder parts of the US South, with an emphasis on rugged hills and tough mountain folk.

His latest book, "Pacific Glory," is a sweeping saga of the Second World War in the Pacific Theater. The story climaxes with the amazing-yet-true David & Goliath engagement between US Navy destroyers against Japanese Battleships and cruisers. Their brave, suicidal action saved Mac Arthur's landings in the Philippines.

Now I come to Deutermann's next book: "The Last Man." This is a story set in the Jewish rebellion against Rome @ 70 AD. Specifically, the story centers on the Last Stand at Herod's Dead Sea mountain fortress of Masada. In Deutermann's words: "For many years, historians have assumed that the Zealots and their families died by their own swords in order to deprive the Romans of a meaningful victory, and, of course, to avoid the horrors of slavery in the Roman galley fleet. But now a young American engineer and amateur historian comes to modern day Israel to prove a theory he’s held for years: that the Zealots’ mass suicide was done for two reasons: to defy the Romans, but also to protect a monumental secret on the mountain. The Last Man tells the story of his search among the stones and the bones of Masada for evidence that there’s a lot more to the eerie history of this bloody mountain than anyone knows."

This is a surprising genre departure for Captain Deutermann. But I know the end result will be his usual triumph. I am really looking forward to this one. Release of "The Last Man" is planned for late Spring 2012

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