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book cover of Fortunes of War

Fortunes of War

(1998)
A novel by

 
 
The Barnes & Noble Review
June 1998

Stephen Coonts's new military thriller, Fortunes of War, plays a riff of the Armageddon rag. Japanese politics and the possibility that Japan might have a secret army preparing for future combat and expansion fuel the plot. Coonts very carefully calls no side evil and makes sure that the Japanese people are not reduced to caricatures. Even so, in Fortunes of War, Japan's will, as a nation, is one of undiluted vengeance for the bombs dropped at Hiroshima and Nagasaki by the U.S.

In Japan, four telephone repairmen enter the Emperor's quarters while the Emperor and his family sit in the garden with his top adviser. Atsuko Abe, Japan's prime minister, presents the Emperor with a plan to restore Japan to a world-class power. These plans include forcing Russia to hand an oil-rich Siberia over to the Japanese. Knowing that the Russians would not do this voluntarily, Abe has delineated a plan of attack against the Russians. This includes forcibly taking the oil fields by strategic military action. The Emperor is not pleased with this. His memory of World War II, and the destruction that it brought upon Japan, is fresh enough to warn him from such a course of obliteration. But the prime minister has made up his mind, feeling that the future belongs to Japan, with or without its Emperor.

Atsuko Abe leaves the palace. As the Emperor and his wife return to their chambers, they are confronted by the four telephone repairmen, who are, in fact, overzealous assassins. Following the ancient code of the samurai warrior, the four men chop off the Emperor's headandthen commit suicide, leaving no survivors and only one witness: the Empress of Japan, whose young son will be the new emperor.

Meanwhile, Jiru Kimura meets with U.S. military attaché Colonel Bob Cassidy. Kimura is a young jet pilot who works in the Japanese self-defense air corps. He was trained in the U.S., and he and Cassidy go back to the days in Colorado Springs when Cassidy was his instructor. Kimura has learned that the Japanese are beginning to mobilize their fighter jets, called Zeroes, and equip them with a superstealth capability so that they will be completely undetectable by radar. He passes the information on to Cassidy with the hopes that this knowledge will help avert World War III.

But the U.S. is slow to respond to this and other warnings. The red tape of Washington tangles anything it touches. Soon the Japanese invade Siberia and quickly go on the offensive in order to secure the area for themselves. Russia, under new leadership, has just begun to pick itself up from the brink of economic disaster, and so cannot afford to lose the oil fields on its frontier. Aleksander Kalugin, the Russian president, has just secured his country's borders, and the Japanese threat might just topple his shaky government. As the threat of nuclear war increases, Kimura, Cassidy, and others are drawn into the vortex of action in the sky and on the earth. This makes for some tense air battles, particularly between Jiro Kimura and his mentor, Bob Cassidy.

Coonts's novel is a fast-paced, world-class read but suffers a bit from a lack of focus on any one character. Still, Coonts's characters are well-drawn and make for compelling reading. The arena of war is definitely the setting of the novel, even while it jumps from Japan to Washington to Moscow to Siberia. For fans of Coonts, as well as those interested in Japan and its politics, FORTUNES OF WAR is compulsive reading.

- Douglas Clegg

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Used availability for Stephen Coonts's Fortunes of War

Hardback Editions

November 2000 : UK Hardback
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Title: Fortunes of War (Charnwood Library)
Author(s): Stephen Coonts
ISBN: 0-7089-9198-X / 978-0-7089-9198-5 (UK edition)
Publisher: Charnwood (Large Print)
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


December 1998 : UK Hardback
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Title: Fortunes of War
Author(s): Stephen Coonts
ISBN: 0-7528-2168-7 / 978-0-7528-2168-9 (UK edition)
Publisher: Orion
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   


August 1998 : USA Hardback
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Title: Fortunes of War
Author(s): Stephen Coonts
ISBN: 0-7862-1463-5 / 978-0-7862-1463-1 (USA edition)
Publisher: Thorndike Pr
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


April 1998 : USA Hardback
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Title: Fortunes of War
Author(s): Stephen Coonts
ISBN: 0-312-18583-9 / 978-0-312-18583-1 (USA edition)
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


Paperback Editions

1999 : UK Paperback
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Title: Fortunes of War
Author(s): Stephen Coonts
ISBN: 1-898800-69-3 / 978-1-898800-69-9 (UK edition)
Publisher: Publisher Details Unknown
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   


June 1999 : UK Paperback
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Title: Fortunes of War
Author(s): Stephen Coonts
ISBN: 0-7528-2641-7 / 978-0-7528-2641-7 (UK edition)
Publisher: Orion
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


November 2001 : UK Paperback
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Title: Fortunes of War Whs
Author(s): Stephen Coonts
ISBN: 0-304-36420-7 / 978-0-304-36420-6 (UK edition)
Publisher: Cassell Illustrated
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


April 1999 : USA Paperback
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Title: Fortunes of War
Author(s): Stephen Coonts
ISBN: 1-250-09322-8 / 978-1-250-09322-6 (USA edition)
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   


April 1999 : USA Mass Market Paperback
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Title: Fortunes of War
Author(s): Stephen Coonts
ISBN: 0-312-96941-4 / 978-0-312-96941-7 (USA edition)
Publisher: St. Martin's Paperbacks
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


1998 : UK Paperback
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Title: Fortunes of War
Author(s): Stephen Coonts
ISBN: 0-7528-2614-X / 978-0-7528-2614-1 (UK edition)
Publisher: St. Martins
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


December 1998 : UK Paperback
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Title: Fortunes of War
Author(s): Stephen Coonts
ISBN: 0-7528-2476-7 / 978-0-7528-2476-5 (UK edition)
Publisher: Orion
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   


Audio Editions

August 2009 : USA Audio edition
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Title: Fortunes of War
Author(s): Stephen Coonts
Publisher: Phoenix Books
Availability: Amazon   


August 2009 : Canada Audio edition
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Title: Fortunes of War
Author(s): Stephen Coonts
Publisher: Phoenix Books
Availability: Amazon CA   


August 2009 : UK Audio edition
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Title: Fortunes of War
Author(s): Stephen Coonts
Publisher: Phoenix Books
Availability: Amazon UK   


1998 : USA Audio CD
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Title: Fortunes of War
Author(s): Stephen Coonts
ISBN: 0-7366-8040-3 / 978-0-7366-8040-0 (USA edition)
Publisher: Books on Tape
Availability: Amazon   Amazon CA   


June 1998 : USA Audio Cassette
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Title: Fortunes of War: Sound Recording
Author(s): Stephen Coonts
ISBN: 0-7871-1731-5 / 978-0-7871-1731-3 (USA edition)
Publisher: Dove Entertainment Inc
Availability: Amazon   Amazon CA   


1998 : USA Audio Cassette

Title: Fortunes of War
Author(s): Stephen Coonts
ISBN: 0-7366-4207-2 / 978-0-7366-4207-1 (USA edition)
Publisher: Books on Tape
Availability: Amazon   


Kindle Editions

April 2013 : UK Kindle edition
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Title: Fortunes of War
Author(s): Stephen Coonts
Publisher: Quercus
Availability: Amazon UK   


April 2010 : USA, Canada Kindle edition
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Title: Fortunes of War
Author(s): Stephen Coonts
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Availability: Amazon   Amazon CA