Black Flag (Jake Keller Book 3)
May 19th, 2020
Black Flag by David Ricciardi shows how this author can predict the future. It has riveting scenes of a biological weapon about to be unleashed. Sound familiar? The other aspect brings back piracy to the high scenes.
The author noted a book quote, ““Bioweapons are engineered to be highly contagious and resistant to treatment. If enough people are infected before they become symptomatic, it could kill half of Mogadishu inside a few months-call it a million people.” I had it come from Iran because I demonized China in the last book. I thought how it is almost impossible to prepare for and is very difficult to thwart.”
Although the culprit in this book is not China, but Iran, there are still fascinating details that can be compared to today’s pandemic. After a pirate team captures a ship’s container that is being cooled from the inside, the hero, Jake Keller, becomes suspicious. A quote hammers the point home, “Chemical weapons don’t need to be refrigerated, high explosives won’t ignite until around four hundred degrees Fahrenheit, and nuclear weapons can survive the heat of re-entry through the atmosphere…The only thing that makes sense is a biological weapon.”
After years of calm, the Pirates are back, unfortunately, better and more powerful than ever. Instead of the small motorboats this new breed of pirate has increased in number, becoming more technological savvy, well-armed, and seemed prepared for any situation. Jake is assigned to investigate what the pirates are taking, how they have become so effective, and what has happened to the crew and ship. His plan is to lure the pirate masterminds into the open by infiltrating their organization. The mission becomes complicated by a secret agenda originating from his boss, Ted Graves, at CIA headquarters. Is Graves self-serving or willing to do anything to complete the assignment?
“I did a what if, knowing that piracy kind of went away for two reasons. First, ships took responsibility for their own security by putting armed guards, moving faster, and changing up their routes. The second reason is that the world’s Navy makes it a priority to patrol the seas. The pirates never evolved so it all but died out. I changed that and had them well funded by warlords. They hired a bunch of Special Forces operators who attacked by coming in fast, jammed communication, and taking the ships off the grid. These warlords were corrupt, stole the cargo, and killed the crew. Pirates used to fly the flag of skulls and cross bones. In the book, there is a paragraph that tells the difference between a black and red flag. The black flag is a warning signal, giving ships a chance to surrender. If they don’t, then they put up a red flag, the bloody flag, that means they are attacking.”
The novel has surprising twists, a changing battlefield, and non-stop action. Ricciardi has hit a homerun with this story showing that his insight is very spot on.