Breath of the Choson Dragon by Jack L. Wells

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MWSA Review

Breath of the Choson Dragon is a high energy, well researched, completely plausible scenario of patient, but fanatic war planning by North Korea.  A gripping tale of their desire to reunite the Korean peninsula, the north is shown, accurately, to be an enemy that is not to be underestimated, or taken lightly. Their quest, against staggering odds, to deal a severe surprise nuclear blow to the United States, and Japan via a plot that spans decades of tedious preparation, at levels so secret as to be almost impossible, is told with meticulous detail by the author, an ex naval officer, who has been there, and done that. So many military books are written without the benefit of firsthand experience that they bog down in the minutia that is second nature to veterans.  This one feeds voraciously on those details that authenticate the book as the real deal.  This author writes, and thinks with the no time for nonsense frame of mind that is necessary in the military when it is faced with clear danger. 
As fascinating as the realities of submarine warfare, and nuclear weapons systems are, the story line that weaves in and out of those technical revelations are just as compelling. The tech, and human interest aspects dance in tune, step for step. Neither Clancy, nor Ludlum have written anything better, and the author, Jack Wells, is their equal, at least.  A fast paced story (a movie producer's dream) is fed by the intriguing reality of our nation's military, and intelligence agencies' daily challenges, told with the voices of real human beings that the reader can identify with. The political dilemmas of the main characters, which come hand in hand with their highly secret jobs, give this yarn dimensions that are consternating, frustrating, and agitating, just as they would be in the real world.  The ending is clean, and satisfying. I wanted to cheer. I felt good about it. I choose to believe that if this, or a like scenario ever came to pass in reality, our soldiers, sailors, and airmen, would receive the support they needed from their political masters to affect the same conclusion.  Nowhere in the human experience is teamwork, trust, diligence to detail, and precise behavior as required as it is in the armed forces when lives are at stake.  Thanks to this author, readers who did not serve in such capacities are offered the opportunity to appreciate these men, and women.

Reviewed by: Bob Flournoy (2010)

Author's Synopsis

The Book: Breath of the Choson Dragon. Awarded a GOLD MEDAL for Mystery/Thriller by the Military Writer's Society of America, Oct. 2010 and a SLIVER MEDAL for fiction, Branson Stars and Flags Book Awards, Nov. 2010. North Korea is always in the news, sometimes front page, sometimes buried in the back. It is a vexing and problematic child that won't be ignored and won't go away. My new book is a created scenario investigating how North Korea could make the front page with a vengeance. It is based on actual history and current events. Remember, there is nothing quite as dangerous as a maniac with a mission. And nothing as concerning as such a maniac with weapons of mass destruction and the means of delivery. "Breath of the Choson Dragon" captures the ideas and emotions of the people caught up in implementing, discovering and precluding a surprise attack; a surprise attack that is very plausible. Summary: The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), surreptitiously, acquires two ex Soviet Juilett class guided missile submarines in 1993, and then missiles, and later thermonuclear warheads and prepares to use them in a preemptory strike against US bases in South Korea, Japan, and Hawaii 18 years later. Their objective: reunification of the Korean peninsula under their flag. The US Defense Intelligence Agency ultimately becomes aware by putting together divergent pieces of the puzzle and finally takes last moment action to covertly stop the threat just prior to the attack. Writing Concept: The story is told through the experiences of individual North Korean, American and allied officers and others and the locations move to various sites around the world. I have personally visited most of these locations. There is a lot of realistic military, business and personal dialog. Characters develop and grow and some ultimately even change their perspective. It is an accurate technological suspense novel told through human interaction. It is not buried in jargon and is written for the layman. Military and strategic terms are explained through dialog and the reader learns capabilities through situations, not just narrative.