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The Last Sword Maker

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In the high mountains of Tibet, rumors are spreading. People whisper of an outbreak, of thousands of dead, of bodies pushed into mass graves. It is some strange new disease ... a disease, they say, that can kill in minutes.The Chinese government says the rumors aren't true, but no one is allowed in or out of Tibet.At the Pentagon, Admiral James Curtiss is called to an emer In the high mountains of Tibet, rumors are spreading. People whisper of an outbreak, of thousands of dead, of bodies pushed into mass graves. It is some strange new disease ... a disease, they say, that can kill in minutes.The Chinese government says the rumors aren't true, but no one is allowed in or out of Tibet.At the Pentagon, Admiral James Curtiss is called to an emergency meeting. Satellite images prove that a massive genocide is underway, and an American spy has made a startling discovery. This is no disease. It's a weapon test. Chinese scientists have developed a way to kill based on a person's genetic traits. But that is only the tip of the iceberg. The success of their new weapon proves that the Chinese are nearing "Replication"-a revolutionary breakthrough that will tip the global balance of power and change the way wars are waged.Now the US must scramble to catch up before it is too late. Admiral Curtiss gathers the nation's top scientists, including a promising young graduate student named Eric Hill who just might hold the missing piece to the replication puzzle. Soon Hill and his colleague Jane Hunter are caught up in a deadly game of sabotage as the two nations strive to be the first to reach the coveted goal. But in their headlong race, they create something unexpected ... something the world has never seen and something more powerful than they had ever imagined. The Last Sword Maker is an exciting globe-trotting thriller with unforgettable characters that depicts a haunting vision of the future of warfare.


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In the high mountains of Tibet, rumors are spreading. People whisper of an outbreak, of thousands of dead, of bodies pushed into mass graves. It is some strange new disease ... a disease, they say, that can kill in minutes.The Chinese government says the rumors aren't true, but no one is allowed in or out of Tibet.At the Pentagon, Admiral James Curtiss is called to an emer In the high mountains of Tibet, rumors are spreading. People whisper of an outbreak, of thousands of dead, of bodies pushed into mass graves. It is some strange new disease ... a disease, they say, that can kill in minutes.The Chinese government says the rumors aren't true, but no one is allowed in or out of Tibet.At the Pentagon, Admiral James Curtiss is called to an emergency meeting. Satellite images prove that a massive genocide is underway, and an American spy has made a startling discovery. This is no disease. It's a weapon test. Chinese scientists have developed a way to kill based on a person's genetic traits. But that is only the tip of the iceberg. The success of their new weapon proves that the Chinese are nearing "Replication"-a revolutionary breakthrough that will tip the global balance of power and change the way wars are waged.Now the US must scramble to catch up before it is too late. Admiral Curtiss gathers the nation's top scientists, including a promising young graduate student named Eric Hill who just might hold the missing piece to the replication puzzle. Soon Hill and his colleague Jane Hunter are caught up in a deadly game of sabotage as the two nations strive to be the first to reach the coveted goal. But in their headlong race, they create something unexpected ... something the world has never seen and something more powerful than they had ever imagined. The Last Sword Maker is an exciting globe-trotting thriller with unforgettable characters that depicts a haunting vision of the future of warfare.

30 review for The Last Sword Maker

  1. 5 out of 5

    Tim

    This scattered, violent story of mayhem, murder and espionage is not worth the time invested. 1 of 10 stars

  2. 5 out of 5

    Marialyce (absltmom, yaya)

    People have died in Tibet due to a terrible virus that seems to kill in minutes. The world is in danger and a group of the highest notched scientists are tasked to undertake and find out why these people are dead. Is it a disease or is it something else, a mass genocide placed upon the Tibetans by the Chinese. A battle begins as the scientists become involved in the world of nanotechnology racing to beat China in a process call the Replication. Lives are lost and the US must beat China at this ga People have died in Tibet due to a terrible virus that seems to kill in minutes. The world is in danger and a group of the highest notched scientists are tasked to undertake and find out why these people are dead. Is it a disease or is it something else, a mass genocide placed upon the Tibetans by the Chinese. A battle begins as the scientists become involved in the world of nanotechnology racing to beat China in a process call the Replication. Lives are lost and the US must beat China at this game or else the power will be held by the ruthless Chinese bent on world domination. This book had at its core an interesting premise as the world of nanotechnology is one that is being currently explored with diligence. It is also a world where extreme dangers lies as perhaps the machines we create will one day prove to be a danger beyond belief. While I liked the story, it tended to be on the long side, with many instances that made the book somewhat dull and boring. However, those who enjoy a good spy thriller with global overtones would probably like this one.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Adrienne

    Well this book was a surprise to me. It's what happens when I put a book up high on my want to read list: then I clearly forgot what type of book it is! It is about "an all to plausible examination of how emerging technologies can be weaponized to horrible ends" Lisa Brackman. Yet poses the challenge/question: we can't ignore these technologies because if we do our enemies will use them against our country. Unputdownable. A terrific read. Well this book was a surprise to me. It's what happens when I put a book up high on my want to read list: then I clearly forgot what type of book it is! It is about "an all to plausible examination of how emerging technologies can be weaponized to horrible ends" Lisa Brackman. Yet poses the challenge/question: we can't ignore these technologies because if we do our enemies will use them against our country. Unputdownable. A terrific read.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Nursebookie

    The Last Sword Maker was such an exciting read. I enjoyed this scifi techno thriller that is plausible and terrifying. The writing, plot and characters were so entertaining that I could not put this book down. The story line was so realistic and the action was non stop which included my fingers as I turn those pages. I recommend this book!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Kyle Robertson

    This novel has a complex plot and characters. The author does a great job of developing each main character and providing ample backstory. The main themes in this book are dangers of emerging technologies, nanotechnology, artificial intelligence, and biological weaponsat times I found this book hard to read due to the scientific and technical terminology and foreign settings. The book starts off slow, almost dragging, but this is necessary to include all the logistics of the plot. The action pic This novel has a complex plot and characters. The author does a great job of developing each main character and providing ample backstory. The main themes in this book are dangers of emerging technologies, nanotechnology, artificial intelligence, and biological weaponsat times I found this book hard to read due to the scientific and technical terminology and foreign settings. The book starts off slow, almost dragging, but this is necessary to include all the logistics of the plot. The action picks up about halfway through and the suspense accelerates incrementally until the end. This story takes place seven years in the future, in 2025, after numerous incidences of civil unrest and wars. Technology has advanced at a rapid rate, and nanotechnology has opened doors to a whole new opportunity for countries to defend themselves. International espionage comes into play as the Chinese government has a traitor that is feeding intelligence to the United States. The Chinese launch an attack on the Naval Research Lab in hopes of crippling the United State's progress. Kidnapping and more spy vs. spy carries the plot at a feverish pace until the satisfying conclusion, full of lots of tense and graphic action scenes. I would recommend this book to fans of techno thrillers, espionage, and suspense. I received this as a free ARC from Blackstone Publishing on NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Ryan

    Abandoned for extreme sinophobia and US flag waving. Ain't nobody (that matters) got time for that. Abandoned for extreme sinophobia and US flag waving. Ain't nobody (that matters) got time for that.

  7. 5 out of 5

    David Dalton

    I read several reviews, but to me, this book reminds a lot of by Michael Crichton. Very techno related. At times a bit too much. But a great overall story. I jumped on board when the first two books of this series were dropped to $0.99 each. What a deal. Glad I took a chance on a new author. Do not let all the science/technological aspects put you off to this thriller. There is plenty of action, character development, and intrigue. Looking forward to the 2nd book . Not right away, as I w I read several reviews, but to me, this book reminds a lot of by Michael Crichton. Very techno related. At times a bit too much. But a great overall story. I jumped on board when the first two books of this series were dropped to $0.99 each. What a deal. Glad I took a chance on a new author. Do not let all the science/technological aspects put you off to this thriller. There is plenty of action, character development, and intrigue. Looking forward to the 2nd book . Not right away, as I will need to take a sci-fi break. Maybe read a Harry Bosch thriller or two. Then come on back to the "The Course of Empire" series.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Karl Morgan

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This book was a fascinating take on Sino-US relations. It’s set six years in the future and cleverly speculates on how a new arms race between the US and China might evolve. It was written in 2018 yet begins with the Chinese testing a man-made virus as a weapon—but that’s just the beginning of the amazing weapons they make—so it was pretty intense reading this during the COVID pandemic. While the story is fast-paced and captivating, I was most impressed by the research behind the story. As someo This book was a fascinating take on Sino-US relations. It’s set six years in the future and cleverly speculates on how a new arms race between the US and China might evolve. It was written in 2018 yet begins with the Chinese testing a man-made virus as a weapon—but that’s just the beginning of the amazing weapons they make—so it was pretty intense reading this during the COVID pandemic. While the story is fast-paced and captivating, I was most impressed by the research behind the story. As someone who has studied China and Tibet (and visited both) I can attest that Nelson did his homework. For example, even the Tibetan prison where the one of the characters is held and tortured is not only real, but the infamous location of thousands of atrocities perpetrated against Tibetan civilians who refuse to bow to communist rule. It’s very refreshing to see that a fiction writer took the time to tell the real story about China’s role in the subjugation of Tibet, especially since it’s a story that the mainstream media avoids for fear of offending the Chinese government. I had heard that this book was banned in China. Now I know why. The Chinese government depicts their takeover of Tibet as a “liberation” and claims they brought a poor nation into the modern world. As a result they try to censor any information that contradicts that narrative. Another reviewer mentioned that the epilogue was confusing, but I thought this was excellent and beautifully done. However, you do have to be able to stitch a lot of clues from the book together to understand it. (**spoilers follow**). The epilogue is about twins being born in a village in Tibet. While China has now relaxed its one-child-per family policy, it used to be that when twins were born, one of them was usually killed. In fact, earlier in the book, the character Hwe Ying tells Eric that she gave birth to twins and the doctors told her that one of them died, which she didn’t believe. So that’s one important point you have to remember. Next, the epilogue happens 49 days after the book’s finale. That’s important because in Tibetan Buddhism that’s the amount of time one spends in the afterlife before being reincarnated. This period of living “between lives” is mentioned a few times by Sonam, the Tibetan teenager who died helping Eric and the others escape from China. Next clue: the twins are a boy and a girl. It’s pretty obvious to me that the boy must be Sonam. But who is the other girl? My guess is it was Hwe Ying, who died during the escape and was in love with Sonam. Next: Hwe Ying was also a twin and had said how important her sister had been to her life (one of the reasons she wanted to escape to America was so that if her own daughter had a twin, that both would survive). By reincarnating them as twins it’s implied that they will get to live this new life together, the very thing they were robbed of in the previous life. I thought that was an interesting idea and a nice, bittersweet ending. The only thing about this book that didn’t click for me were a few of the characters. The Ukrainian scientist, Olex, felt more like a caricature than a real person. And the FBI agent felt like he should have done something more meaningful, but he was just in a couple of scenes and then disappeared. But overall a very well-done and worthwhile book.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Janice

    This is a truly outstanding thriller! Trust me, I’ve read a lot of thrillers, techn-thrillers and quite a few military thrillers and I definitely rank this one as the best I’ve read in a long time. As some of the other reviewers have mentioned, this book has a little of everything—great characters, a fast pace, interesting technology, great set pieces—and it’s all so well woven together that you are continually entertained AND feel like you are getting smarter at the same time. That’s a tough th This is a truly outstanding thriller! Trust me, I’ve read a lot of thrillers, techn-thrillers and quite a few military thrillers and I definitely rank this one as the best I’ve read in a long time. As some of the other reviewers have mentioned, this book has a little of everything—great characters, a fast pace, interesting technology, great set pieces—and it’s all so well woven together that you are continually entertained AND feel like you are getting smarter at the same time. That’s a tough thing to pull off. Michael Crichton was probably the best, but this guy does is almost as well, which is impressive since this seems to be his first novel. The plot follows a group of US military leaders and scientists as they race to beat the Chinese to “replication.” Which is essentially when they create microscopic machines which can be programmed to do almost ANYTHING. Such as enter your body to fight disease, manufacture a new generation of weapons ranging from body armor to submarines. Or be dispersed in swarms to hunt down and kill our nation’s enemies. While that might sound a bit far fetched, what’s fascinating is that the science behind it is based on our own programming. Just as we have proteins in your bodies that are programmed to fire our muscles and move nutrients into our cells, these machines can be programmed in similar ways. It’s both cool and scary. I particularly liked the big cast of characters. For example, I loved the way that the US military leader (Admiral Curtiss) played against his Chinese counterpart (General Meng). Both were ruthless in their own way and would stop at nothing to defeat the other. I also appreciated that the Chinese characters were three-dimensional. I understood why Meng did what he did and I even felt sorry for him. There were a few chapters that felt a bit slow, especially in the first third of the book, but I felt they were necessary to advance the story. And the payoff was well worth it. When I got to the first sabotage scene and firefight, I was hooked. It was one of the best combat scenes I’ve read in a book (either fiction or nonfiction). After that, the tension just went up and up and up. I finished reading a few days ago, and the character that has stuck with me the most was this seventeen-year-old Tibetan kid. I don’t want to give it away, but his story is both amazing and heartbreaking. Through his eyes I learned a lot about Tibet and Buddhism that I never knew. In short, I highly recommend this book. Right now it’s in contention for the best book I’ve read all year.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Soo

    Notes: Currently on Audible Plus Narration was fine but the story was extremely dull for the topic at hand.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Ellen Ripley

    This technothriller is set uncomfortably close to present day. The power of nanotechnology has been harnessed to target people based on genetic characteristics, with thousands in Tibet being killed in a test of this new weapon. As a result, the United States finds itself locked in a race against time to master the technology before it is more widely weaponized. The author does an excellent job of making the technical aspects of the book accessible to those like myself who may not be well-versed This technothriller is set uncomfortably close to present day. The power of nanotechnology has been harnessed to target people based on genetic characteristics, with thousands in Tibet being killed in a test of this new weapon. As a result, the United States finds itself locked in a race against time to master the technology before it is more widely weaponized. The author does an excellent job of making the technical aspects of the book accessible to those like myself who may not be well-versed in nanotechnology or artificial intelligence. The first third of the book moves at a slower pace than the remainder, but that is necessary in order to develop the reader's background knowledge, flesh out many interesting and compelling characters, and set the wheels in motion...and once the plot roars into action, it's difficult to put this book down. I recommend it highly, even if science fiction/technothrillers are not your usual genre, as it raises interesting questions about the future by wrapping them in a fast-paced thriller. "The Last Sword Maker" is the first in a trilogy; it left me excited to read the next book in the series.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Susan Hampson

    What a tremendous thriller this is. The story takes place in the not too distant future, 2025, with science and warfare playing central roles hand in hand to find the ultimate weapon to wipe out anything from one person to a whole nation. China and the USA are the two nations that are racing to find the answer and have that control. What makes this seem more real is that this is all behind the scenes stuff that goes in secrecy. The advances in science that place’s warfare in the hands of deadly v What a tremendous thriller this is. The story takes place in the not too distant future, 2025, with science and warfare playing central roles hand in hand to find the ultimate weapon to wipe out anything from one person to a whole nation. China and the USA are the two nations that are racing to find the answer and have that control. What makes this seem more real is that this is all behind the scenes stuff that goes in secrecy. The advances in science that place’s warfare in the hands of deadly viruses more rather than soldiers on the front line. It all feels so scarily not that far away, especially with the times we live in now. The thing is this story goes one step further and it scared the hell out of me. Why? because one day someone will do this. From opening the first page of this book it just takes over your life. When I had to go without reading it for a couple of hours my mind was still with the characters. The top character has to be Eric Hill who at university simply blows the minds of his tutors. When he gets a call asking him to join some of the best scientific minds in the world to work on a special project he jumps at the chance. Eric is the loveable nerd that made every page seem so real. There is, of course, a lot of science in the story but it is truly fascinating. Oh boy does this take off in the second half with kidnappings, car chases and deadly outcomes? It is tremendous! The supporting characters in the story are top of their league. Just stunning. There are horrific torture scenes in the story, shocks and punch in the air moments. One of the best books of its kind around. I cannot recommend this book enough. The best bit is, this is book 1 in the series, so excited with this author’s work. I wish to thank, FSB Associates, NetGalley and the publisher for an e-copy of this book which I have reviewed honestly.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Lel Budge

    #1 in The Course Of The Empire series. A terrible virus is killing people in Tibet…sounds familiar….except this virus is a weapon. A mix of artificial intelligence, nanotechnology and genetics. The developer has used Tibet as a testing ground. The Last Sword Maker is a science based thriller, as the US race to find the secret of this new tech from China before the nano-virus teaches itself to replicate and spread as a natural virus does. There is lots of science throughout, but the author’s writing #1 in The Course Of The Empire series. A terrible virus is killing people in Tibet…sounds familiar….except this virus is a weapon. A mix of artificial intelligence, nanotechnology and genetics. The developer has used Tibet as a testing ground. The Last Sword Maker is a science based thriller, as the US race to find the secret of this new tech from China before the nano-virus teaches itself to replicate and spread as a natural virus does. There is lots of science throughout, but the author’s writing explains it so well and has made it understandable to the layman without being patronising. A very clever thriller that’s full of action. A real page turner that’s terrifying as it feels so, so possible. Thank you to the publishers and NetGalley for the eARC of The Last Sword Maker. This is my honest and unbiased review.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Charles

    This could easily be a 2 or 3 star book, but I enjoyed it in spite of it's flaws. I thought going in that it was going to be a more traditional Sci-Fi story, it is not. Quite frankly it is a military action thriller, with some science elements as fluff. The characters are cookie cutter, the US vs. China storyline is unimaginative, and the writing is average at best. So, you can see why it should have been 2 or 3 stars, however, I found the story engaging and action packed enough to drag me along This could easily be a 2 or 3 star book, but I enjoyed it in spite of it's flaws. I thought going in that it was going to be a more traditional Sci-Fi story, it is not. Quite frankly it is a military action thriller, with some science elements as fluff. The characters are cookie cutter, the US vs. China storyline is unimaginative, and the writing is average at best. So, you can see why it should have been 2 or 3 stars, however, I found the story engaging and action packed enough to drag me along for the ride. So much so, that I want to read the second book in the series. When I read I want at least 1 thing to grab me; writing style, characters, or story. The story won with this novel. It was a nice fast paced thrill ride.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Julie

    Thoroughly enjoyed this book. I have to admit I'm fascinated by the nanotechnology, and this isn't the first fiction novel I've read that uses it as a very effective tool in creating apocalyptic events. And I'm a sucker for apocalyptic events. Other than the science, which is interesting, I thought it moved well while establishing the groundwork for the series. I'm looking forward to reading more. Thoroughly enjoyed this book. I have to admit I'm fascinated by the nanotechnology, and this isn't the first fiction novel I've read that uses it as a very effective tool in creating apocalyptic events. And I'm a sucker for apocalyptic events. Other than the science, which is interesting, I thought it moved well while establishing the groundwork for the series. I'm looking forward to reading more.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Peter

    Brian Nelson's The Last Sword Maker (2018) gives you not only an exciting military/science story based on future technology, but up-front news that by 2025 Apple will launch the iScreen, a plastic sheet that can be spread out to make a computer or folded up to make a cellphone. Put your orders in now! The year is 2025 and Rear Admiral James Curtiss—CO of the Navy's SEALS—is called to Annapolis for a high-level meeting with the Chief of Naval Operations, a panel of top-drawer military men, and a g Brian Nelson's The Last Sword Maker (2018) gives you not only an exciting military/science story based on future technology, but up-front news that by 2025 Apple will launch the iScreen, a plastic sheet that can be spread out to make a computer or folded up to make a cellphone. Put your orders in now! The year is 2025 and Rear Admiral James Curtiss—CO of the Navy's SEALS—is called to Annapolis for a high-level meeting with the Chief of Naval Operations, a panel of top-drawer military men, and a gaggle of technical people. Admiral Curtiss is a navy "soldier," a direct on-the-ground combatant with a Navy Cross and a chest load of ribbons. James Curtiss is a go-to guy for highly risky covert operations. He is innately talented in the area and he gets the job done regardless of the brutality required. At the meeting Curtiss learns that the Chinese have been testing a new superweapon, a nanotechnology that enters the bloodstream and mimics an always-fatal virus. The only shortfall in this perfect weapon is that it hasn't yet reached replication: the virus-like ability to reproduce itself until it kills its host: at the moment it's a one-off death machine keyed to an individual's DNA so it can't reproduce and spread to others. But the Chinese are on the verge of replication. This information comes from two sources: first, our man in China, a spy codenamed The Fly. The Fly is well-placed as the chief spycatcher for General Meng Lowei, head of the Chinese nanotechnology program; second, news has arrived that people in the Tibetan Autonomous Region are dying in droves from an unknown virus. Curtiss is ordered to lead all-out military research effort to stop further Chinese development and put the viral toothpaste back in the tube. But James Curtiss is faltering, haunted by career-long memories of brutal actions which he won on sheer brutality, particularly a recent mission in Syria. He is a weaker reed to stand on than his superiors realize. And he will enter a contest where his Chinese counterpart, General Meng Longwei, knows he's coming—they also have a spy. Meanwhile, in Tibet a teenager named Sonam is released from a six-month "reeducation program" where he's been beaten and starved for not loving Chinese communism. Now he can go home to his family "if", as his Chinese handler says, "there are any left." Sonam walks to his village and as he arrives he sees hordes of "dark angels" dropping from the sky—another test of the nano-weapon is underway. He discovers that his sister and his lover have already died. His elderly father nurses him back to health and induces him to leave Tibet in a hiding place on a logging truck to China, where a professor-friend of his father has agreed to take him in. He will be kidnapped by the Chinese to become a "volunteer" in the People's Liberation Army. The U. S. sets up a crash research program like the Manhattan Project to get ahead of the Chinese on nano-virus technology . The top-drawer scientific team is given eight months to complete its work—solve the replication problem that's currently blocking the Chinese, then, presumably, use the solution to develop a countermeasure: in one program they will create both offensive and defensive weapons of extraordinary power. The team's scientific leaders—the eminent scientists Jack Behrman and Bill Easton—manage a team of thousands of geneticists, computer scientists, medical experts, chemists, physicists, and so on. All are under the military thumb of Admiral James Curtis. Among them is a 26-year old chemistry PhD named Eric Hill, who is assigned to be the "architect," the scientific liaison between the working groups. Its on him whether the team functions smoothly and achieves synchronized results, or falls into chaos with each group developing ideas that don't add up to a solution. As architect, Hill has to understand all of the fields involved if he's to have the group-level work mesh. And Eric is an unknown quantity who is not well received by all, particularly by a brilliant, cranky, and combative scientist named Olex Velichko—a man whose method of stimulating people is taken from Stalin's playbook. The Behrman-Easton team is housed at the National Research Laboratory in Washington. General Meng has placed his spy on the research team and learns all of its supposed secrets. Meng develops a plan to attack the NRL and assassinate Behrmann and Easton. The attack begins with an explosion set by Meng's spy to destroy the team's supercomputer. But that is a diversion to be followed by assassination of the team leaders. Admiral Curtiss is on site with some of his SEALS and they thwart the attack with vigorous and compelling resistance, but the mere idea of a Chinese team assassinating Americans on American soil is disturbing. The story line has three tracks. First, the search for a lead over the Chinese in nano-viral technology. Second, the mano a mano between Admiral Curtiss and General Meng. Third, the escape of Sonam from Tibet to China, where he will ultimately connect with the first two tracks. All are interesting, well-told subplots, and together they make this book a pleasure-filled action-packed experience.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Kari

    4.5-5 ⭐️. I listened to this book through Audible and I LOVED it. Eric, our main character, is a brilliant scientist who becomes roped into discovering ways to use nano tech as a bio weapon. The science was intense but I believe that was intentional on the authors part to make the level of intelligence necessary to do the work believable. The Chinese discover how to make a bio nano tech virus. Then it’s a race to figure out the next step to ensure the US can combat anything the Chinese throw at 4.5-5 ⭐️. I listened to this book through Audible and I LOVED it. Eric, our main character, is a brilliant scientist who becomes roped into discovering ways to use nano tech as a bio weapon. The science was intense but I believe that was intentional on the authors part to make the level of intelligence necessary to do the work believable. The Chinese discover how to make a bio nano tech virus. Then it’s a race to figure out the next step to ensure the US can combat anything the Chinese throw at us. Overall the overall story line was intriguing, the smaller plot lines well done to get to know the characters involved. Only a few things did I wish I had more info on, but then this text would have been a seriously long text. I cannot wait to start the next in the series.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Janet

    The Last Sword Maker was entertaining. It had some pacing issues, I believe because the tech talk went a little deep and took away from the action. The characters are likable, and I appreciated the hero making strides in personal growth through the story. It's the first in a series, and perhaps suffers a bit from the time spent setting the scene and introducing the various scenarios and characters. I was caught up in the very real possibilities woven in by Brian nelson, and could see this book a The Last Sword Maker was entertaining. It had some pacing issues, I believe because the tech talk went a little deep and took away from the action. The characters are likable, and I appreciated the hero making strides in personal growth through the story. It's the first in a series, and perhaps suffers a bit from the time spent setting the scene and introducing the various scenarios and characters. I was caught up in the very real possibilities woven in by Brian nelson, and could see this book as a discussion selection. I would read more from Mr Nelson. I received my copy through NetGalley under no obligation.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jenna

    I grabbed this off the shelf b/c the title caught my attention. Then the plot intrigued me. It deals w/a virus outbreak starting in China. Yep...very similar to our current pandemic. Why would I do that? I don't know...it seemed like a good idea at the time. There were a lot of characters. There was more on the politics & conspiracies w/not enough action for me. And the descriptions of the treatment of the prisoners & patients of the disease was too graphic. Unfortunately, this just wasn't my cup I grabbed this off the shelf b/c the title caught my attention. Then the plot intrigued me. It deals w/a virus outbreak starting in China. Yep...very similar to our current pandemic. Why would I do that? I don't know...it seemed like a good idea at the time. There were a lot of characters. There was more on the politics & conspiracies w/not enough action for me. And the descriptions of the treatment of the prisoners & patients of the disease was too graphic. Unfortunately, this just wasn't my cup of tea. I stopped about 1/3 way thru. I would recommend it for those who enjoy thrillers that deal w/politics and/or conspiracies, science and/or technology.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Brett's Books

    Prototypical military/techno thriller. I throughly enjoyed the first two-thirds as the author fleshed out the premise and the stakes were small scale, a battle of wills between two Soldiers. I enjoyed the last third much less; TLSM became a typical over-the-type action “movie” on the home stretch and I only managed to interest in spurts. One issue for me, the treatment of the female love interest, she was not written to be interesting or dynamic in any way, she came across as annoying, and petul Prototypical military/techno thriller. I throughly enjoyed the first two-thirds as the author fleshed out the premise and the stakes were small scale, a battle of wills between two Soldiers. I enjoyed the last third much less; TLSM became a typical over-the-type action “movie” on the home stretch and I only managed to interest in spurts. One issue for me, the treatment of the female love interest, she was not written to be interesting or dynamic in any way, she came across as annoying, and petulant, and skipped over all the romance sections to just to avoid her. Second issue, the stakes increased exponentially, they went from Mano-y-Mano to HUGE, galactic, and very uninteresting. A weak recommend.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    Thank you Netgalley for allowing me to review this book. This techno-thriller was a fun read. The science was handled well. The author took some very deep topics and made them understandable enough for laypeople. It took a bit to really get into the story, but once it got going it was quite the roller coaster. The subject matter also sticks with you. The science feels scarily attainable. It will definitely get you thinking. If you want a fast and interesting read, give this one a shot.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Lel Budge

    #1 in The Course Of The Empire series. A terrible virus is killing people in Tibet…sounds familiar….except this virus is a weapon. A mix of artificial intelligence, nanotechnology and genetics. The developer has used Tibet as a testing ground. The Last Sword Maker is a science based thriller, as the US race to find the secret of this new tech from China before the nano-virus teaches itself to replicate and spread as a natural virus does. There is lots of science throughout, but the author’s writing #1 in The Course Of The Empire series. A terrible virus is killing people in Tibet…sounds familiar….except this virus is a weapon. A mix of artificial intelligence, nanotechnology and genetics. The developer has used Tibet as a testing ground. The Last Sword Maker is a science based thriller, as the US race to find the secret of this new tech from China before the nano-virus teaches itself to replicate and spread as a natural virus does. There is lots of science throughout, but the author’s writing explains it so well and has made it understandable to the layman without being patronising. A very clever thriller that’s full of action. A real page turner that’s terrifying as it feels so, so possible. Thank you to Michelle at FSB Associates for the eARC of The Last Sword Maker. This is my honest and unbiased review.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Carolyn Walsh

    I would like to thank NetGalley and Blackstone Publishing for an advanced copy of this propulsive, action packed techno-thriller. It presents a thought provoking and horrifying look at the near future by predicting what could happen if present scientific theories and research are utilized to design a new form of weapon. It seems there is an epidemic killing scores of Tibetan people without infecting the Chinese Han. An spy informs the Americans that the deaths are not caused by any viral or bact I would like to thank NetGalley and Blackstone Publishing for an advanced copy of this propulsive, action packed techno-thriller. It presents a thought provoking and horrifying look at the near future by predicting what could happen if present scientific theories and research are utilized to design a new form of weapon. It seems there is an epidemic killing scores of Tibetan people without infecting the Chinese Han. An spy informs the Americans that the deaths are not caused by any viral or bacterial disease, but a new type of weapon developed in China to attack the subjected Tibetans based on its reading of genetic differences in their DNA. Nina has designed fast, intelligent, microscopic machines for warfare and genocide. They have not yet taken their nanotechnology to a more fearsome level. The next step is to find a way to get these minuscule machines to be further programmed and to replicate themselves which would make them even more lethal if used for evil intent. An American team is formed under Admiral Curtis in a race against the Chinese to replicate and perfect these tiny weapons. The best scientific minds are gathered together from various disciplines. A young scientist, Eric Hill is recruited and given the task of making their theories cohesive. The goal is to come up with a replication program that works, and to do it in a hurry. There is a lot of technical jargon used to explain theories and attempts to succeed. Much is incomprehensible to the average lay person, but I felt was explained as well as possible by the author. This was not a distraction to an exciting plot, especially when I discovered the various scientists hardly understood what the others were doing. At the beginning Eric feels overwhelmed by the daunting task, but is befriended by a male and female fellow scientist who share ideas from their own scientific fields. In the meantime a young Tibetan man is smuggled out of the country. He aims to prepare himself to get revenge on the Chinese officials who tortured him in prison and caused the death of loved ones. Eric and his male friend are kidnapped and brought to China to be forced to duplicate the successful work they completed in America. We learn in the intense action scenes what a deadly weapon has been created in both countries. Can anything stop the terror? This was an enjoyable, thrilling story with well developed, believable characters; some intelligent, brave, ruthless or evil. It leaves you with the forecast of what could happen if technological progress results in the development of new forms of warfare. There was also a touch of the supernatural which seemed completely in place alongside all the science and added to my enjoyment of the plot.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Jud Hanson

    Concerns are raised in the United States when a village in Tibet becomes the site of a huge death toll. China isn’t saying much but rumors claim a weapon which can target certain genetic traits; if true, it would make China virtually unstoppable. The science behind it utilizes nanotechnology and can be used to craft nearly an infinite number of weapons with almost limitless potential for harm. When 3 of the key American scientists who are working to achieve “Replication” are abducted by the Chin Concerns are raised in the United States when a village in Tibet becomes the site of a huge death toll. China isn’t saying much but rumors claim a weapon which can target certain genetic traits; if true, it would make China virtually unstoppable. The science behind it utilizes nanotechnology and can be used to craft nearly an infinite number of weapons with almost limitless potential for harm. When 3 of the key American scientists who are working to achieve “Replication” are abducted by the Chinese, the American military knows that it’s “game over” if the Chinese beat them to the key benchmark of “Replication.” An ambitious rescue operation is launched and only through the help of a Chinese dissident and the stall tactics of the captured scientists can all-out war be avoided. “The Last Sword Maker” by Brian Nelson is a riveting novel centering around a technology that, while now very commonplace today, may well be as common as cars in this not-so-distant future: nanotechnology. While Nelson has earned accolades for his non-fiction work, this book is his debut fiction novel and for a first book, I’d say he has done a good job. I will admit I’m a little stumped as to the meaning of the title but thoroughly enjoyed the plot. However, the flow is a little disjointed at times and some of the terminology used regarding nanotechnology will be far beyond most readers, including myself. In addition, I believe the book would be better if there was more background given so that the reader would better understand how the story has reached the point it has at the beginning of the book. That said, I would still recommend this book and give it 3/5 stars. *A copy of the ebook is the only consideration received in exchange for this review.*

  25. 4 out of 5

    Kandy

    I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It had a little of everything - action/adventure, international intrigue, science and technological info, and even a little love thrown in the mix. I would have read it in one sitting had I not had work and mom duties to which I had to attend. It is quite the page-turner. It does make one wonder (cringe) about technological advances and the potential for nefarious uses.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Mark Moynihan

    I very realistic and intense book. I’m happy I found it because it’s becoming rare that books captivate me like this one did. It has much more “human” characters than most of the action books I read, yet the pacing and intrigue were truly gripping. I would definitely recommend this.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Griffin

    1.5 Stars It dripped cliched machismo so thickly, I was honestly surprised I didn't have to physically wipe my hands afterwards. 1.5 Stars It dripped cliched machismo so thickly, I was honestly surprised I didn't have to physically wipe my hands afterwards.

  28. 5 out of 5

    ManOfLaBook.com

    For more reviews and bookish posts please visit: http://www.ManOfLaBook.com The Last Sword Maker by Brian Nelson is a science-fiction book, the first in The Course of Empire series which takes place in the near future, 2025 and the invention of gene self-replication. Mr. Nelson is a best-selling author and scholar. Admiral James Curtiss has been privy to information that a mass pandemic in is actually a mass genocide. The Chinese have come up with a way to genetically target humans, killing mass a For more reviews and bookish posts please visit: http://www.ManOfLaBook.com The Last Sword Maker by Brian Nelson is a science-fiction book, the first in The Course of Empire series which takes place in the near future, 2025 and the invention of gene self-replication. Mr. Nelson is a best-selling author and scholar. Admiral James Curtiss has been privy to information that a mass pandemic in is actually a mass genocide. The Chinese have come up with a way to genetically target humans, killing mass amounts in minutes. Admiral Curtiss is out of time to try and defend the country, he has gathered the brightest minds to help him, including graduate student Eric Hill. If trying to solve the complex issue of gene self-replication, Hill and his friends soon become involved in events beyond their control being forced to help the enemy. This is the type of science-fiction which requires little willing suspension of disbelief. The author acknowledges the fact that he went back and forth for a long time in this book, changing characters, storyline, settings and revisions. It was well worth it, in The Last Sword Maker, author Brian Nelson got it right. The story is very realistic dealing with a new type of Manhattan Project, in which scientists are busy creating self-replicating genes which will change our whole life as we know it. From medicine, to defense, to weapons, industry, and even the food we eat. The concept is amazing and gives the reader much to think about. Mr. Nelson is a gifted writer and story teller, the narrative could have easily been jumbled up with scientific mumbo jumbo, but he managed to write it in a simple manner which even a schmo like me could understand. I thought the narrative moved fast despite the explanations into nanomachines and gene-replication, the author included the concept that one needs to know to follow the story and intrigue properly, but he never made it boring. To my surprise, this techno-fiction book became, about half way in, a world spanning espionage and intrigue story. Everything is drive, of course, by this new technology that would set the world into a new age that everyone wants to get their hands on. I think the author was putting a lot of Easter eggs in the book. There are several really interesting characters that come and go, several really interesting technologies that are not being used, etc. This is part one of a series, so I’m really looking forward to see if the author takes advantage of these pearls he peppered in the story. I really enjoyed this book, the story is coherent, the narrative concentrates as much on the science as it does on the fiction, and yet much of it is character driven. The scary part is that I can certainly imagine how this technology can be created, and weaponized almost immediately.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Randy Daugherty

    In the high mountains of Tibet, rumors are spreading. People whisper of an outbreak, of thousands of dead, of bodies pushed into mass graves. It is some strange new disease ... a disease, they say, that can kill in minutes.The Chinese government says the rumors aren't true, but no one is allowed in or out of Tibet.At the Pentagon, Admiral James Curtiss is called to an emergency meeting. Satellite images prove that a massive genocide is underway, and an American spy has made a startling discovery In the high mountains of Tibet, rumors are spreading. People whisper of an outbreak, of thousands of dead, of bodies pushed into mass graves. It is some strange new disease ... a disease, they say, that can kill in minutes.The Chinese government says the rumors aren't true, but no one is allowed in or out of Tibet.At the Pentagon, Admiral James Curtiss is called to an emergency meeting. Satellite images prove that a massive genocide is underway, and an American spy has made a startling discovery. This is no disease. It's a weapon test. Chinese scientists have developed a way to kill based on a person's genetic traits. But that is only the tip of the iceberg. The success of their new weapon proves that the Chinese are nearing "Replication"-a revolutionary breakthrough that will tip the global balance of power and change the way wars are waged.Now the US must scramble to catch up before it is too late. Admiral Curtiss gathers the nation's top scientists, including a promising young graduate student named Eric Hill who just might hold the missing piece to the replication puzzle. Soon Hill and his colleague Jane Hunter are caught up in a deadly game of sabotage as the two nations strive to be the first to reach the coveted goal. But in their headlong race, they create something unexpected ... something the world has never seen and something more powerful than they had ever imagined. The Last Sword Maker is an exciting globe-trotting thriller with unforgettable characters that depicts a haunting vision of the future of warfare. I loved this story, though the depiction of some of the violence could be tough. The science found here is real, though we are far from anything like this or, are we? The thought is scary and it also reminds us that no matter our good intentions there will always be those that will use our creations for their own means.

  30. 4 out of 5

    RJ

    The Chinese have successfully developed a genetically modified nano-virus that can target specific genetic markers within the infected. Specific ethnicity, ancestry, or genetic traits can be targeted, creating constant mistrust and fear throughout the world. Testing their new weapon, carrying out politicide on the rebelling peoples of Tibet. Even more, the Chinese are on the verge of developing a “replication” process; a virtual nanobot xerox machine, which would lead to the ability to design di The Chinese have successfully developed a genetically modified nano-virus that can target specific genetic markers within the infected. Specific ethnicity, ancestry, or genetic traits can be targeted, creating constant mistrust and fear throughout the world. Testing their new weapon, carrying out politicide on the rebelling peoples of Tibet. Even more, the Chinese are on the verge of developing a “replication” process; a virtual nanobot xerox machine, which would lead to the ability to design different viruses that will mirror the symptoms of other diseases so that the deaths do not raise suspicion and are essentially undetectable. The United States is desperate to develop this technology before the Chinese, as the first to realize this goal gains enormous scientific and political power. An elite force of scientists, headed by Dr. Bill Eastman, is assembled at the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) in Washington, D.C. to grant the U.S. a victory. Enter Eric Hill, a young, highly intelligent, determined ChE graduate who wanted nothing more than to work for Bill Eastman. The story continues with this focus. Jane Hunter, one of the scientists on the team, adds the romance quality to the tale. Due to her upbringing, she was driven to succeed and advance in her work, having an extremely difficult time with relationships even though her emotions wanted something else. Eric Hill was captivated by Jane but the signals he received were frustratingly confusing. This pseudo-relationship plays a minor but constant role throughout the story. Even if the U.S. is successful in developing the replicator, the Chinese must be stopped. They cannot be allowed to have this technology. If possible, the underground Tangshan Military Laboratory China must be rendered inoperable. The story is interesting with tense action throughout, although it does bog down at times with details.

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