Cym Lowell joined the U.S. Navy at eighteen and served two years in the Vietnam War. He then went to college and law school. Jaspar’s War (Rosemary Black Press, 352 pp., $12.99, paper) is his first novel.
There are many connections to the Vietnam War in this thriller, mostly through Nulandi, one of the main characters, who comes to the aid of Jaspar, the titular heroine. Nulandi is a half-Australian aborigine trained as a child to be a professional killer. He practiced this craft in Vietnam, where he saved a Vietnamese family who acted as his disciples when he was on a mission.
Jaspar’s husband disappears in a plane crash and her two children are kidnapped. The entire thrust of the novel is that Jaspar, a socialite with no commando training, steps up to become a warrior. With Nulandi’s help she crusades to get to the bottom of why her husband was apparently killed and her two children kidnapped.
She goes on record saying she will do anything to get the children back, and does some amazing things after going through special training. That includes shaving all of the hair off her perfect body.
Jaspar is dangled as bait to the bad guys near the Vatican when she uses an ATM. Later, when she runs naked around a crowded square near the Vatican, much ado is made of her bouncing breasts. They act as a perfect diversion, allowing her and Nulandi (and Alice, the commando dog) to escape to continue to fight the good fight.
I am leaving out the more far-fetched stuff. That includes the fact that the Queen of England is implicated in the plot to murder Jaspar’s husband and kidnap the children. I hope I am not spoiling anything when I report that the Queen of England did not do any of this bad stuff.
This is the first book I have read in which “the economic health of the world is under attack” and its “only defense is an aborigine, a society woman and a dog.” I highly recommend this book to those looking for a diverting read in which children are kept drugged and in jeopardy from the first page to the last.
In this novel all suites are “palatial,” all vegetables are “fresh,” profiteroles are “famous,” settings are “idyllic,” breasts are “alabaster,” taxis are “speeding,” vistas are “pristine,” and hounds are “trusty.” The writing style got on my nerves. But the book is well-edited and it moves right along.
I predict there will be a sequel, because it is left up in the air if Jaspar’s husband is alive. Nor are we told whether or not Jaspar keeps shaving all the hair off her perfect body, or if she lets it grow back out again.
Perhaps the sequel will settle that question. I hope so. I’ve been brooding about it.
The author’s website is www.cymlowell.com