Books by Eric Van Lustbader

THE SUM OF ALL SHADOWS by Eric Van Lustbader
Released: July 9, 2019

"Readers able to suspend great gobs of disbelief will enjoy this yarn, but they might do well to read the books in order."
Heaven and hell duke it out once again in this fourth religious fantasy thriller in the author's Testament series (Four Dominions, 2018, etc.). Read full book review >
THE FALLEN by Eric Van Lustbader
Released: May 2, 2017

"Intelligent, well-researched, and unsettling, this tale often references Yeats' 'The Second Coming' but doesn't reach that poem's level of disquietude."
A decade later, Lustbader (The Testament, 2006, etc.) reopens his study of good and evil, secret cults, and God and Lucifer's elemental struggle for world dominion. Read full book review >
ANY MINUTE NOW by Eric Van Lustbader
Released: Aug. 16, 2016

"If Van Lustbader intends for Whitman and Red Rover to be serial players, he should avoid the fog of war and offer more focused narratives."
Joining the trend of blending a soupçon of fantasy into the action-adventure genre, Van Lustbader (The Bourne Ascendency, 2014, etc.) adds a Louisiana Santeria priest as a role player in a conspiracy against the "blackest of black ops" units, the Red Rover team. Read full book review >
FATHER NIGHT by Eric Van Lustbader
Released: Sept. 18, 2012

"Fans will appreciate this installment. Lustbader newbies should start with the first in the series."
Readers unfamiliar with Lustbader's (Blood Trust, 2011, etc.) Jack McClure action series might want to keep a pencil handy when diving into this book. Read full book review >
THE TESTAMENT by Eric Van Lustbader
Released: Sept. 5, 2006

"A competent actioner: The Bourne Supremacy with a smattering of Froissart, and enough car chases and explosions to keep things interesting."
Let's see: There's a secret Catholic cult that harbors a secret so faith-shaking that Christianity might collapse were it known. They're willing to kill for it. Hmmm . . . Read full book review >
Released: Aug. 1, 2002

"World-building that should attract a new universe of fans. "
Volume two of The Pearl, a fantasy saga begun with The Ring of Five Dragons (2001). Lustbader erects a strong armature of myth, magic, technology, and religion to support his unstoppered imaginings. The Ring of Five Dragons, sought herein, may unlock the secrets of the Kundalans' Great Goddess Minna, which lie in the Storehouse, or perhaps reveal The Pearl itself. Now the canvas sweeps wide, with demons and arch-demons arriving from the Abyss. Three peoples vie for the ring. Enslaved for a century by the technologically superior V'ornn (a fascistic, nomadic, off-world alien race), the spiritual Kundalans find their faith in Minna wavering. They await their savior, the Dar Sala-at, who will be born at both ends of the cosmos. How? Riane, a fatally ill female orphan who is Dar Sala-at, receives through sorcery the being of dead young Annon Ashera, heir to rulership of the V'orrn. Then Annon finds himself in a female body but also loved by Eleana, a Kundalan female. Will this bit of human/humanoid semi-same-sex miscegenation eventually lead the races into a marriage of opposites? With opposites dueling throughout, is unity the pearl? Among the major characters: the twin sisters, Giyan (beautiful, gifted with sorcery) and Bartta (bunched, bitter, corrupt), themselves opposites but priestesses of the Kundalans' Ramahan religion. Ruling the V'ornns are the mysterious Gyrgon with their scary techno-mages. Read full book review >
THE RING OF FIVE DRAGONS by Eric Van Lustbader
Released: June 1, 2001

"As they beg our sympathy for their white-knuckled grief, these heroines speak a rhetoric that itself must have been bounced off the five moons. Still, this midnight dish will leave many disembodied with rapture."
As with the bloody Black Blade (1999), Lustbader again abandons his Ninja action tales to return to the fantasy and foam of his earlier Sunset Warrior cycles. Will loyal fans find this moonglow too greatly at odds with his somersaulting thrillers and perhaps not cross over? Read full book review >
ART KILLS by Eric Van Lustbader
Released: Jan. 1, 2001

"The principal joy of reading Lustbader is in seeing how over-the-top he goes. Alas, here he gives his imagination, his kinkiness, his purple-prose bravura a day off. There's not even enough excitement to generate a really big yawn. "
This patchy, illogical, curiously unmelodramatic novella sits art forgery expert Tess Chase down at a cafe across from the Empire State Museum of Art just as Howard Lenz leaves the building to become a hit-and-run victim, and a thin man with an El Greco face scoops up his briefcase and takes off. Tess follows him, of course, watches him die as well, bashes his murderer, and snatches up that briefcase, which turns out to contain a Raphael painting. Wait, there's more: Two goons arrive and escort Tess and the painting to the Bravanno compound on Long Island, where she and the beauteous Jacqueline exchange sultry glances while the lady's husband appropriates the paintings and spews lies. Back in the city, Jacqueline's brother turns up to enlist Tess in his battle for the Raphael. But Tess retreats to the Island, where soon she and Jacqueline are sprawled across lust-heated sheets. A swap of the painting for megabucks is arranged, but a double-crosser is on hand in Central Park to kill a couple of the participants before Tess is rescued by the feds and the tale screeches to a halt—along with any trace of common sense. Read full book review >
DARK HOMECOMING by Eric Van Lustbader
Released: July 1, 1997

Leaving behind the comic-strip leaps and blows of his nimble Ninjas (Floating City, 1994, etc.), Lustbader constructs an entire actioner set in the Miami area. No more worldwide crime cartels masterminded by Asians? Well, let's not get carried away. Yes, there is just such a cartel, but it's masterminded by Heitor and Antonio Bonita, a pair of bloody identical twins born bad. They run a cartel that deals in arms, drugs, white slavery, you name it, and they run it behind a line of front men who take the heat should the law intrude. One of the twins' specialties is dealing in human body organs that they harvest illegally in the States and airship to Central and South America. Scalpel-wielding Heitor likes to remove the organs while the ``donor'' is still alive. On their trail, meanwhile, is the Department of Justice. Although longtime Lustbader cop and hero Lewis Croaker has retired to captain a Miami charter boat, he's still a stringer for the Agency and carries a badge. Burned out and unwilling to be drawn back into the action, Croaker is facing a family crisis: His drug-addicted 15-year-old niece Rachel, now on dialysis, will be dead in five days if she doesn't receive a replacement kidney. Croaker sets out to find a donor. As it happens, fabulously smooth criminal lawyer Marcellus Rojas Diego Majeur offers him both a vintage turquoise Mustang and a kidney for Rachel if Croaker will just assassinate the dazzlingly vicious Juan Garcia Barbacena (he cuts off women's breasts in his lighter moments), the Bonita twins' greatest rival in terror. Croaker suddenly finds himself in a bafflingly strange and dangerous world: Nobody is what he (or she) seems, and even the Justice team Croaker reluctantly hooks up with is seemingly run by a very bad guy indeed. . . . Lustbader's intense flow of invention is wonderful to watch: Wild, gory, assured over-the-top entertainment throughout. Read full book review >
SECOND SKIN by Eric Van Lustbader
Released: June 1, 1995

The sixth semioccult in the Nicholas Linnear series dances between generations, summons up characters from earlier novels, and deals with time past almost like Proust. Nietzschian superman Mick Leonforte murders the brutal Vietnamese husband of gorgeous Giai Kurtz, then in a Tokyo restaurant shows Giai the black Damascus steel blade with which he dispatched her husband for her. ``Dipped in a bottle of Chateau Talbot '70, his favorite wine and vintage,'' he tells her. Yes, the East!—where life can be sped to oblivion with great style. Mick heads an American Mafia family bent on wresting control of the Japanese underworld from Mikio Okami, Kaisho of the Yakuza (The Kaisho, 1993; Floating City, 1994) and the elderly great personal friend of Nicholas Linnear, whose father, Colonel Linnear, with the US Occupation Forces back in 1946, helped Okami get the Yakuza on its feet again by establishing the black market and also came between the rival Mafia forces of the Leonfortes and the Mattaccino family. Today, Black Paul Mattaccino carries on a half-century rivalry with the Leonfortes and the Yakuza. Why did Colonel Linnear help the Yakuza? Because the underworld is the keel of Japanese society and keeps the government and big business in balance. Now, Nicholas's Japan-based Tomkin Industries is helping Japan launch the TransRim CyberNet, based on his secret cellular phone that transmits astoundingly clear pictures of the speakers, can do a half-dozen other operations, and will monopolize Japanese electronics industries. But someone has been stealing the secret CyberNet data, and Lew Croaker, the detective with a biomechanical hand, returns to help Nicholas. The rivalry between generations climaxes with its birth back in the late 40's when John Leonforte, his crushed face remade by plastic surgery, becomes Leon Waxman but is outwitted by Colonel Linnear during the blackmailing of a McCarthy-like senator. As Lustbader creates a complex, giant microchip of a story, mere human readers enjoy sunrises of sexbliss and move like deathproof titans through a plot that bounces like a pinball from Tokyo to New York to West Palm Beach. Vacation fun. Read full book review >
FLOATING CITY by Eric Van Lustbader
Released: Aug. 1, 1994

The world's a perilous place indeed, full of moral ambiguity and inscrutable Asian mystique, in Lustbader's (Black Blade, 1993, etc.) second installation of the Kaisho series. While piecing together clues of an international criminal bombing plot, Nicholas Linnear must locate Mikio Okami, the Japanese Mafia godfather he finds morally reprehensible but has sworn to his father to protect. Okami is in hiding because most of the other characters want him dead. His closest Japanese associates want to move past petty business profits and arms sales into drug trafficking. American mobster ``Bad Clams'' Leonforte has an unhealthy interest in tracking Okami, possibly because he is the adversary of Okami's former partner, the brutally murdered Dominic Goldoni, or because he is involved with Senator Dedalus, who coordinates illegal arms trades from a Washington, DC, strip joint. Linnear pursues the Asian connection and, while there, an old flame, while his pal Lew Croaker sleuths in the States, a job that includes tailing Goldoni's sister, Margarite, with whom, if that don't beat all, he's in love. Occasional telephone conversations between Linnear and Croaker recap their progress in tracing Okami and digging up the details on Torch, a powerful, portable nuclear weapon scheduled to detonate in some unspecified city. Until then, it is housed with its creator, a Russian cyberneticist and defector, in Floating City, the Vietnamese stronghold of Rock, an American veteran who had too much fun firing his missile launcher to ever leave Vietnam. While mingling with these politicians and gangsters, the heroes rely upon their unique resources: Linnear upon his tanjian—a psychic discipline that converts thought into action—and Croaker upon his biomechanical, titanium-sheathed left hand. Honorable bad guys and elaborate secrets mingle with the usual senseless violence and sensual, exploited Asian women. Whoever makes it to the end of this entangled thriller will find that the loose ends make the next Linnear installment a must-read. Read full book review >
ANGEL EYES by Eric Van Lustbader
Released: May 28, 1994

Lustbader at the top of his powers, a poetic karate chopper with a smashing autumnal finish, by the author of The Ninja, French Kiss, etc. This time out, Lustbader dims the gratuitous gore (still plenty but not so much), cuts back on outlandish action, and reigns in his subplots with a firmer hand. Grieving Tori Nunn—a Wild Child picked off the Tokyo streets by Bernard Godwin, head of a supersecret US intelligence agency called the Mall, and turned into its top agent because of her closeness to the Yakusa criminal gangs of Japan—resigns from the agency when her brother Greg dies in outer space on a joint Russian/American space shot. Actually, however, Greg lived and his fellow Russian cosmonaut died. But Greg had contact with something extraterrestrial and has been turned into a peace-loving semidolphin with superpowers who has to be kept in a big salt-water pool in a Russian prison. With his big dolphin eyes ("angel eyes"), mind-reader Greg secretly runs an underground group called White Star, which is out to save Gorby from assassination. Meanwhile, Tori is seduced back into the Mall and given top director Russell Slade as her field assistant. Her job: to break the Medellin cartel, which now markets a supercocaine that kills its users in three months or less. The Yakusa are in on this too, and so Toff and Slade first find themselves in Medellin ("Machine-Gun City"), digging their way into the drug-lords' compound, then off to Tokyo and facing out the Yakusa traffickers, and finally to Moscow, where Godwin is fitting out the underground movement with nuclear devices. In the subplot, Toffs zillionaire parents—aging Hollywood star Laura Nunn and her husband Ellis Nunn, Hollywood's greatest lighting genius—are funding Greg's White Star movement and supplying armaments. The climax, suspended over the whole tale, is ToWs meeting with dolphin brother Greg (called "The Hero" by his Russian captors) in his pool. Stupendous trash from a master hand. Read full book review >
THE KAISHO by Eric Van Lustbader
Released: Oct. 4, 1993

Lustbader—Master of the Orient!—returns stronger than ever with the fourth of the Nicholas Linnear novels (The Ninja, 1980; The Miko, 1984; and White Ninja, 1990), with a fifth promised. Lustbader's dense approach to storytelling lets rich backgrounds support incredible plots and high-tension martial-arts battles. Here, he lavishes even more care than usual on bringing Tokyo, Venice, Paris, and Washington to a ringing life against which his stereotypes leap superhumanly and unload tons of Eastern expertise. Nicholas Linnear, co-owner of the Japan-based Tomkin- Sato electronics corporation, fights the recession by trying to expand the firm's base in Vietnam, where he hopes to make his phenomenal T-PRAM computer chip (it's based on the human brain structure) while being hit with attacks from McCarthy-like investigations by Senator Rance in Washington. Meanwhile, his wife, Justine, takes a passionate distaste for the Japanese following the death of their child and a miscarriage. In the middle of all this, the Kaisho (or Godfather of Japanese criminals) calls upon Nicholas to repay a moral debt incurred by his late father, who—when on General MacArthur's staff following WW II—enlisted the Kaisho's aid in jump-starting democracy in Japan. The Kaisho has moved in on the American Mafia—but an even superior Japanese criminal organization wants to kill the elderly Kaisho while forming a worldwide underworld conglomerate. The Kaisho trusts no one among his own people: Nicholas must find and destroy the assassin, despite his scorn for Yakuza. The assassin, the death-loving Du Doc—a mind-reading Vietnamese of fabulous fighting ability and access to occult areas of martial arts that Linnear himself must now master if he is to meet Du Doc head-on—is one of Lustbader's best villains, his wickedness woven with an erotic mastery that melts all women. Plunging melodrama and poppy dreams of supersex. Superior hokum. Read full book review >
BLACK BLADE by Eric Van Lustbader
Released: Feb. 1, 1993

Fans of Lustbader's whirligig exotic actioners (The Ninja, Angel Eyes) will find no lessening of his midair double-somersault reverse plotting here. Throughout Lustbader's 14 novels not a smile has been cracked by his grim heroes, while occult Japanese exotica hook the reader by the jawbone into Lustbader's world of weird powers. Now, it's Japan's secret Black Blade Society that's ready to take over the planet by way of economic aggression. The society, we find, has discovered a way of resisting age—its leader, in fact, is a very old woman who's still young, sexy, and has a familiar kind of Asian luster. This being Japan, however, she's fronted by a great industrialist, the society's nominal head. Rivals to the society include a young Japanese genius of bioscience and his mother— who've devised an artificial intelligence called ORACLE that works on DNA, has now become superhuman, can suck humans into its intelligence, and no longer needs a power source to keep it going. The mother, though, plays a double or even triple game and appears ready to undermine both her son and the Black Blade Society. Meanwhile, in the States, Wolf Matheson, leader of an NYPD Special Homicide Task Force, is given the murder of billionaire Lawrence Moravia to solve. Moravia, it turns out, was a Black Blade member but also a double agent for a secret US agency now at covert war with Japan. Matheson, the son of a Shoshone and a Texas Ranger, has extrasensory powers, can read auras, and pick images from people's minds. But the villains—and the Japanese heroine—have not only the sight, a mind-reading ability, but also makura no hiruma and can beat you physically with their spiritual inner being—POW!—as they strive to win the powers of ORACLE. Can Wolf's occult muscle match ORACLE's smarts? With hokum this thick Lustbader can't afford a smile—but his comic-book readers will smile long into the night. Read full book review >