ABLE ONE by Ben Bova

Book Quote:

“Now, flying toward the Sea of Japan at more than thirty thousand feet, heading into a possible war, Harry studied the laser assembly with the critical eye of a worried father. It’ll work, he told himself. We’ll make it work.

But in his mind’s eye he saw the rig in the desert explode into white-hot flames, saw Quintana being roasted alive, felt the agony of his ribs cracking as he slammed against the back wall of the control room.

It should’ve been me, not Pete. I should have been out there. I should have checked the oxy line myself, made sure it was clean.

He shook his head to clear the nightmare vision. Well, Harry said to himself, if she blows today it won’t matter where I’m standing. We’ll all be dead.”

Book Review:

Review by Ann Wilkes (JUL 31 2010)

In Able One, Ben Bova turns up the heat with the threat of war. A Korean faction takes out most of the world’s satellites by exploding a missile in orbit. Through unaffected, hardened military satellites, the government watches the Korean launch pad where two more missiles stand ready.

The Korean threat turns Harry Hartunian’s first airborne test of an experimental, anti-missile laser into the real thing. The Airbourne Laser, or ABL-1 (Able One), housed in the retrofitted body of a 747 Boing jet, is America’s best hope of averting a war with not just Korea, but by extension China as well.

The tension mounts as the various U.S. government division heads argue over the appropriate response to the threat. Meanwhile the macho U.S. President refuses to delay or divert his flight to San Francisco, which the civilian security advisor is convinced is the Korean’s next target.

For Hartunian, it is not enough that his team is now all that stands between America and WWIII, he also has a saboteur aboard. He’s convinced it’s one of his own team, but they could not have known that they were boarding anything other than a test flight. The part can be switched en route, but who would sabotage the test and why? And more importantly, will they do it again?

The pilot, Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Karen Christopher had been the object of one of those chiefs of staff’s impropriety. Colonel Christopher had refused to name Major General Bradley Scheib as the married Air Force officer she slept with and was shipped to what would have been a back-water mission in Alaska to test the laser. Now Scheib must watch as she risks her life, never letting on that she is any more to him than a military asset.

One of Bova’s main strengths is his ability to create believable, fallible characters. All the tension and drama of this tale wouldn’t mean a thing if the reader couldn’t identify with and care about the characters going through it. The laser technology was interesting, but what drew me into the story were the natural ways in which the characters dealt with the crisis before them. Able One is an engaging techno-thriller from an author who has made his name writing science fiction.

AMAZON READER RATING: stars-3-0from 9 readers
PUBLISHER: Tor Books; 1 edition (February 2, 2010)
REVIEWER: Ann Wilkes
EXTRAS: Excerpt
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Exile Series:

  • Exiled from Earth (1971)
  • Flight of Exiles (1972)
  • End of Exile (1975)
  • The Exiles Trilogy (2011)



To Save the Sun

  • To Save the Sun (1992) (with AJ Austin)
  • To Fear the Light (1994) (with AJ Austin)

Grand Tour of the Universe:

Moonrise (part of Grand Tour):

Asteroid Wars (part of Grand Tour):

Sam Gunn (part of Grand Tour):



July 29, 2010 В· Judi Clark В· Comments Closed
Tags: , ,  В· Posted in: Speculative (Beyond Reality), Thriller/Spy/Caper