Sea Hawke (Alexander Hawke #12), by Ted Bell

Eight stars

A longtime fan of Ted Bell and his Alex Hawke series, I was eager to get my hands on this latest novel. Full of the same intrigue and espionage that I have come to know with Bell’s writing, I was pleased with the outcome and hope other series fans will be as well. With a new and powerful yacht in his possession, Lord Alex Hawke is made aware of situation brewing in the Caribbean. He makes his way there, with his band of merry men in tow, only to discover that things are a lot more complicated. There appears to be a secret alliance of Communist countries in the works, this one spanning the globe, which could surely put Hawke and many countries in the West on high alert. Bell is entertaining and brilliant in his delivery yet again.

Lord Alex Hawke has never been one to shy away from conflict, but is living a lavish lifestyle that suits him best. While awaiting the completion of his newest yacht in Europe, Hawke receives word that there is talk of new issues in Cuba, where a revolution is set to overthrow the American-backed government. it is led by another Castro, a name many know all too well ion the island nation. While it will take some time to cross the Atlantic, Hawke and his crew will be ready, fitted with the most up to date arms that anyone could need.

When they make it to that part of the world, Hawke is worried to see that other of his nemeses are part of the shenanigans, which will only make matters worse. As an attack seems imminent, Hawke ands his team prepare for the worst, hoping that it will be quick. They soon discover that there is more to this than a takeover of Cuba, back into the hands of communist rule. It is much more dangerous.

All the while, the leaders of China and Russia have been meeting to discuss a new Communist Alliance, which could be both brutal in his enforcement and highly troublesome for countries of the West. With Havana as the purported headquarters, a new Cuban regime could monitor things for these two great powers and serve as a backdoor into the American sphere, should armed conflict arise. Hawke will have to be ready, even if he has no idea what awaits him. Ted Bell does a masterful job with this piece and I am eager to see where things will go as the series continues to gain momentum.

Ted Bell has been writing this Alex Hawke novels for years, always looking for new ways to impress the reader, while also pulling on some modern day situations to flavour the story. He’s done it again, creating a modern James Bond out of Alex Hawke and using political happenings to shape his narrative, while using real life characters to fuel the action and some of the intrigue. Alex Hawke surrounds himself with many an intriguing character, which only adds to the depth of the novel.

As with each of the other novels in the series, Alex Hawke takes centre stage and provides the reader with a fair bit of entertainment, from his combat abilities to his eccentricities related to being a lord. Hawke always provides the odd anecdote, which builds his backstory, but it is his development throughout the series that has made the greatest impact on the reader. His connections to many people of varied fame cannot be overlooked, nor can his attention to detail. His is complemented by a handful of highly unique characters as well, well worth the reader’s attention as they may their way through the novel.

Ted Bell has captured all the elements of a great novel with this series, providing the reader with something highly entertaining from start to finish. The narrative flows well, taking the reader on an adventure from the outset. The characters emerge throughout to offer up a great flavouring to the overall story, keeping the reader wondering how they will fit together to add to the story. Chapters of various lengths keep the reader engaged with the story, though permits a little ‘give and go’ to see how interested they tend to be. As with many of the stories, there are some intriguing political aspects to the book, including cameos by Russian’s own tyrannical leader, Putin, which only adds to the story’s robustness.

Kudos, Mr. Bell, for another great story. I can only hope there are a few more before this series tied itself off.