Synopsis:1590: An entire colony of British settlers vanishes from their settlement on Roanoke Island, seemingly into thin air. 1872: The freighter Marie Celeste is found drifting at sea off Gibraltar, its entire crew and passengers gone missing without a trace. But what if there’s a connection between two of the greatest historical mysteries ever? And what if the roots of that connection lie in a crazed plot to destroy the United States as we know it today? Those are the questions confronting Blaine McCracken as he takes up the trail of small time preacher Jeremiah Rule whose hateful rhetoric has done big time damage by inflaming an entire people half a world away, resulting in a series of devastating terrorist attacks stateside. Rule, though, isn’t acting alone. A shadowy cabal is pulling his strings, unaware they are creating a monster soon to spin free of their control. McCracken has just returned from pulling off the impossible in Iran, ridding the world of one terrible threat only to return home to face another. Isolated in a way he’s never been before and now hunted himself, he’ll have to rely on skills and allies both old and new to get to the heart of a plan aimed at unleashing no less than the Tenth Circle of Hell. This as he contends with a failed congressman intent on changing the country to fit his own vision and an Iranian assassin bent on revenge. Blaine’s desperate path across country and continent takes him into the past where the answers he needs lie among the missing Roanoke colonists and the contents of the Marie Celeste’s cargo holds. Those secrets alone hold the means to stop the Tenth Circle from closing. And as the bodies tumble in his wake, as the clock ticks down to an unthinkable maelstrom, McCracken and Johnny Wareagle fight to save the United States from a war the country didn’t even know it was fighting, but might well lose.
Book Details:Genre: Thriller Published by: Open Road Integrated Media Publication Date: December 24, 2013 Number of Pages: 420 ISBN: 978-1480414792 Purchase Links:
Read an excerpt:
Author Bio:Jon Land is the award-winning, critically acclaimed author of 36 books, including the bestselling Caitlin Strong Texas Ranger series that includes Strong Enough to Die, Strong Justice, Strong at the Break, Strong Vengeance and, most recently, Strong Rain Falling. The Tenth Circle marks the second return engagement of his longtime series hero Blaine McCracken on the heels of last year’s Pandora’s Temple which was nominated for a Thriller Award and received the 2013 International Book Award for Best Adventure Thriller. Jon’s first nonfiction book, Betrayal, meanwhile, was named Best True Crime Book of 2012 by Suspense Magazine and won a 2012 International Book Award for Best True Crime Book. He is currently working on Strong Darkness, the next entry in the Caitlin Strong to be published in September of 2014. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa and Magna Cum Laude from Brown University, where he continues to maintain a strong volunteer presence, in 1979 and can be found on the Web at www.jonlandbooks.com.
I was excited to read another one of Jon Land’s book after having read Strong Rain Falling. Even though this was a different series than that, I still enjoyed the book.
I like the author’s style of writing with the short, quick chapters. I think this helps keep the pace flowing and is very fitting for this type of book.
This book is definitely a thriller. The pages are met with information from one time and place to another, and then back to another, and from another. It could definitely be confusing, but this type of book is well worth it in the end when it comes together. It is very important to read the chapter heading or time and place is not known and this could be confusing to the reader.
Definitely not a fluff story! Lots of information to keep filed away with other information and begin sorting until the story comes together and just hits you like, oh yeah. Not for the faint at heart, so readers, get ready for a ride.
Interview with the Author
Where were you born and where do you call home? Who shares home with you?
I was born in Providence, Rhode Island and then grew up in a suburb called Barrington. After graduating Brown University, I stayed back in Providence where I continue to live to this day—ALONE! Notice I’ve capitalized that. I love people and am the ultimate extrovert, but I need to be able to retire to my “cave.” Comes with being an eccentric writer who has grown accustomed to his own company!
Share with us something exciting that has happened to you in the last week or month.
Wow, you’re challenging me here! Let me go back a bit farther than that, by a couple weeks, to when my latest Caitlin Strong thriller, STRONG RAIN FALLING, won the 2013 USA Best Books Award for Mystery/Suspense and was named a Top Thriller of 2013 by Suspense Magazine. People can say those kind of accolades don’t matter but they do, especially to me. They serve as affirmation that what I’m doing is resonating on a broad level. There aren’t a lot of literary awards aimed at genre fiction so to be recognized this way really carries some weight. Oh, and by the way, the prequel to THE TENTH CIRCLE, PANDORA’S TEMPLE, won the 2013 International Book Award for Best Thriller/Adventure.
Is there any particular author or book that influenced to become a writer? What or who and why.
Well, THE EXORCIST was the first book I read cover-to-cover in a single day, a single setting actually. Reading Robert Ludlum’s THE HOLCROFT COVENANT (along with THE MATARESE CIRCLE) taught me more about what makes a great thriller than anything else. THE BOYS FROM BRAZIL taught me the importance of a great “What if?” question. THE STAND showed me the wonder of taking the reader out of his or her world and into the world we fashion on the page. MARATHON MAN made me realize just how much caring about the characters means. I can quote portions of that book, just as I can from the others I mention here and far more. As far as authors go, the three that made me fall in love with reading to the point where I wanted to write as well as they could were Stephen King, Clive Cusser and David Morrell and this goes all the way back to the early 80s when I was just starting out.
Is there an author you would really like to meet? Or maybe already have?
Well, I’ve enjoyed a wonderful experience with an organization called International Thriller Writers for which I served on the board and as a committee chair. That’s enabled me to form very close friendships with the likes of Doug Preston, David Morrell, Lee Child, R.L. Stein, Steve Berry, James Rollins, Sandra Brown, Lisa Gardner—a whole bunch of my contemporaries who set the bar the rest of us strive to reach. But I’ve never met Stephen King and consider him to be an icon in all respects. To think that he’s been doing this as long and as well as he has is utterly mind-boggling because he’s never lost his passion for storytelling or ever considered himself bigger than the story he’s telling. I’m halfway through DOCTOR SLEEP right now and it’s drop-dead (no pun intended!) fantastic. To watch him revisit the wonderful Danny Torrance character from THE SHINING so many years later is simply magical.
How did you choose the genre you write in?
To paraphrase Robert Lewis Stevenson, you can only write what you would read if someone else had written it. I write thrillers because, as my answer to one of your earlier questions indicated, those are the books I love to read. And there’s not one I read without learning something. I learned to write short chapters, featuring cliffhanger endings, mostly from reading Michael Crichton. More recently, I learned a lot about transitional pacing from reading Michael Connolly, particularly his Lincoln Lawyer series. And the thing I always loved about the earlier works of Robert Ludlum and the great Stephen King was how they vested you with their heroes, really made you care, right from the first time you meet them. I find thrillers to be the most natural, purest genre in which to write because essentially these are old-fashioned quest stories that take us all back to being kids again. And isn’t that why read books to begin with?
Can you tell us about your upcoming or just released book?
Well, let’s talk about THE TENTH CIRCLE because it’s the latest! I’ve done 35-plus thrillers now and almost all of them come out of the James Bond influence and tradition wherein immensely powerful villains with unlimited manpower and resources are plotting to do terrible things. But a few years ago something really stuck in my mind, specifically when this crazy no-name preacher from Florida started burning Korans and the whole Muslim world caught fire. That made me realize how much damage a single man without unlimited manpower and resources can actually do. The whole information and Internet age has brought a new definition to what people like this can accomplish with their convictions serving as their most dangerous weapon. So that preacher became Reverend Jeremiah Rule in THE TENTH CIRCLE and Jeremiah Rule became one of the greatest villains I’ve ever created, maybe even the greatest. He’s emblematic of the dangers of extremism and the dangers even one man of severely limited means can bring about. Truly scary stuff!
What led you to write this book?
Okay, confession time. I wasn’t really planning to write THE TENTH CIRCLE, at least not when I did. What happened was my Blaine McCracken character’s initial resurrection (after a 15-year absence from the page) in PANDORA’S TEMPLE did so well and was greeted so warmly, that I really wanted to get another McCracken book ready for the following year to feed off that momentum. See, I owe the resurrection of the series to Open Road Media, a publisher specializing in the digital release platform that had brought out five earlier McCracken books that had been out of print for twenty-plus years. They sold so well, I brought McCracken back in PANDORA and PANDORA did so well, I brought him back again in THE TENTH CIRCLE. See, the great things about a digital platform is the titles don’t get yanked from the shelves; they remain available and subject to the company’s terrific promotional efforts. Building a front list to support a backlist that way strengthens both and creates a kind of annuity, a constant revenue stream. Sorry to sound so mercenary but, hey, writing is a business first and foremost.
Why did you choose this specific title and cover?
The title was simply perfect, since Dante had already coined nine circles of hell and Jeremiah Rule’s intention is to open up the Tenth Circle of hell. The publisher actually tried an initial cover that didn’t work at all. It was so bad, I don’t even remember it. I had already suggested the Capital Building to them and for their next attempt they started with that concept and came up with something I consider to be brilliant since it visually portrays, in eerie understated fashion, the means by which Reverend Rule intends to unleash “the tenth circle.”
If you gave one of your characters an opportunity to speak for themselves, what would they say?
Hey, I don’t mean to give you a cop-out of an answer, but that’s what they’re already doing. I don’t write their dialogue—they speak it and I just do the typing. That’s how real they are to me inside the context of their adventures. I don’t outline because I trust them implicitly to take the story in the right direction. Listening to them speaking for themselves is as easy as reading THE TENTH CIRCLE, or STRONG RAIN FALLING, because they’re saying exactly what they’d say if you lifted them off the page and put them down in your living room. See, characters like Blaine McCracken and Caitlin Strong are prisoners of their own convictions, whether you were talking to them from the page or directly in front of you.
Do you have plans for a new book? Is this book part of a series?
I’m actually working on two books: a sequel to my bestselling THE SEVEN SINS, a terrific project I’m doing in tandem with the great Heather Graham, and I just turned in STRONG DARKNESS, the next book featuring Caitlin Strong which will be published in September. That seems like a long ways off but that’s how long it takes to bring out a book of this level successfully. Meanwhile, yes, THE TENTH CIRCLE marks the eleventh book in my Blaine McCracken series: nine original titles through the late 90s and now the second marking his resurrection. And I fully expect to be writing number twelve overall in the not-too-distant future.
Where and when do you prefer to do your writing?
I work at home in my townhouse, upstairs in a second bedroom converted into an office. It’s truly my comfort zone, although I’ve done good work in other places as well. See, writing isn’t so much a place as a state of mind, where the creative process takes you once your fingers start moving across the keyboard. That’s the beauty of imagination and the wonder of writing the kind of books that I write the way I write them: by the seat of my pants never being quite sure what’s going to happen next.
Your thoughts on receiving book reviews - the good and the bad -
Oh man, that’s a great question. Of course, I love the good ones and hate the bad ones, but this question is really well timed since I’ve now read probably a hundred reviews of THE TENTH CIRCLE. And, you know, in this case I feel incredibly validated and affirmed by what they’re saying, maybe more than with any of my previous books. That’s because I really strived to do something different this time out by concocting this villain who doesn’t have armies or unlimited resources at his disposal, showing how dangerous a single ordinary man’s actions can be. That was quite a risk compared to my other thrillers, especially those featuring Blaine McCracken. But the reviews, some of the best written ones I’ve ever encountered, have all highlighted that fact, along with celebrating the fact that I chose to age McCracken naturally meaning he’s now a 60-year-old action hero who seems to really be resonating with the Baby Boomer generation. See, that’s the thing about reviews done right: they get to the heart of what a book was trying to do and evaluate the book based upon that. And, as I just mentioned, I can’t tell you how impressed I am with the sensibility of all these reviewers, both professional and amateur, and the fact that so many of them “got” exactly what I was trying to do.
If you were deserted on an island, who are 3 famous people you would want with you?
Wow, another great question, but I don’t have as quick an answer this time. Lots of stuff is floating through my mind on this one, my first thought being I can’t imagine anyone, famous or not, I’d want to share a deserted island with. See, writers in general and me in particular basically live their lives on islands anyway. And if you’re not comfortable with that lifestyle, you’ve chosen the wrong profession. As I said when we started this interview, I love people. But I need to shut the flow off on my own terms, not somebody else’s. So, and I guess this is kind of a copout, but there are no famous people I’d want with me on that deserted island. I’ve been on my own too long to change now.
Now for your chance to win a signed hard copy of The Tenth Circle by Jon Land.