Full of the fast-paced tension readers have come to expect, Safflind takes the proceedings to a new level of suspense. Continuing his unique blend of science fiction, action, and horror, he delivers a nail-biting mystery laced with the horrors of ethnic cleansing. Fast, brutal, and unrelenting, Shadowmaster II: Dancing Through the Night is a first-rate thrill ride.
Read the Shadowmaster II Kirkus Review
February 9, 1992
The rain grew stronger. It pelted my face. The far end of the runway faded, then disappeared. Thunder rolled across the flat landscape. Lightning streaked through the sky. The sharp, metallic scent of ozone lingered after the flash. I had to get inside. I ran toward fixed-base operations, a glass-front, single-story building that hunkered down on the flat landscape. I'd almost reached the door when I thought I heard the buzz of an aircraft engine overhead. The sound faded. I stood still, closed my eyes, and listened intently. I didn't like the idea, but I turned around and walked across to the taxiway. Wiping the rain from my eyes, I stared toward the eastern sky. I frowned and shook my head. Bullwinkle might stand out in a storm like this one looking for Rocky, but only because the big moose isn't too bright.
The sound returned. In the distance twin fireflies struggled against the storm. They looked like landing lights. A specter took shape between them. It was a Cessna like Ethan's. It drew closer. Radiance overflowed from the wing lamps and carved a flaxen cloud out of the mist. A muted yellow glow in a coal black sky—it floated slowly, gracefully downward.
An intense flash burst from the cabin. I thought lightning had struck the plane. It held together, but its nose pitched down. It lost altitude fast. I heard its engine go to full throttle, and at the last possible moment the little plane pulled up. The pilot fought to stay airborne until over the tarmac, but the maneuver worked too well. By the time the plane's wheels found asphalt, half the runway lay behind it. What remained wasn't enough, and at the far end sat more than enough Chesapeake Bay to drown in.
In a moment the Cessna will crash into Chesapeake Bay. Two bodies are strapped to the front seats of the overturned aircraft. The man is dead, a jagged gash in his neck spilling blood onto the ceiling of the overturned aircraft. The woman is barely alive. As fuel leaks into the cabin and sparks fly from the control panel, Barry Sandler drags her limp, unconscious body to safety. An instant later the doomed aircraft explodes, lighting the night sky with shards of flaming debris.
And so begins the Shadowmaster's latest adventure.
Adrian Kahler is the Shadowmaster, a psychologist turned detective. He has a Sherlock Holmes intellect, extrasensory perception that rivals Doctor Stephen Strange, and an ability to manipulate computers that even Steve Jobs would envy. From his fortress-like home, high above the Chesapeake Bay, he directs his two operatives. Stanley Egor is a former Navy SEAL who presents the visual impact of a Polish Shaquille O'Neal. Barry Sandler is a young empath, unable to control his evolving gift. He is an everyman caught between two supermen, Kahler with his extrasensory perception and Egor with his lethal SEAL skills. Barry says of himself, "My only useful talent is stubbornness."
It's 1992. Croatia and Serbia are at war. Lives are lost, families are torn apart, but hope remains. Barry rescues Croatian secret agent Helena Galian from a small private plane that has crashed into the Chesapeake Bay. Her goal is to convince the United States to recognize Croatia as a sovereign nation. Stefan Jankovic is the son of a martyred Serbian warlord. His mission is to intercept the documents Helena carries, but his true purpose is known only to himself. Barry becomes infatuated with Helena. He drags Kahler and Egor straight into the middle of the Yugoslavian civil war, into an unfolding story of patriotism, intrigue, terror, and revenge.
Full of the fast-paced tension we have come to expect from this series, Safflind takes the proceedings to a new level of unbearable suspense. Continuing his unique blend of styles, he delivers a nail-biting combination of mystery with the supernatural. Shadowmaster II: Dancing Through the Night is a first-rate thrill ride.