Australian author Stefan Vucak has been honored for techno sci-fi novels of which there are eight in publication (his total published books at present stands at thirteen!). His career in Information Technology has served him well, not only for the way he is able to dissect and recreate novels on controversial subjects and make them seem like real reportage, but he shares his abilities in his book Writing Tips for Authors. For those who become captivated by his skill in telling stories that rivet the reader, try reading his Tips book and gain some insight to his constant successes. Techno Sci-Fi may seem his forte, but he has equal success in his political thrillers: Cry of Eagles won the coveted 2011 Readers Favorite silver medal award, All the Evils was the 2013 prestigious Eric Hoffer contest finalist and Readers’ Favorite silver medal winner, and Strike for Honor won the Readers’ Favorite gold medal also in 2013. He lives in Melbourne, Australia.
In an interview released soon after the writing of this novel, Stefan stated, Strike for Honor is a pretty intense contemporary political drama with naval action. It’s about an admiral whose son is killed by a North Korean missile attack during a naval exercise. With the U.S. administration unwilling to upset nuclear limitation talks with North Korea by taking a tough stand, the admiral decides to strike the North Korea’s nuclear enrichment plant. This of course, creates an international crisis and upsets the American President. I had to do a lot of research for this book, but that was part of the fun. I did not apply everything I learned, but it broadened my horizons. When I conceived this project, I really wanted to concentrate on my main character, Admiral Pacino, and his problems with the White House administration and how it treats, or fails to look after the veterans. Largely, the book still does, but having opened the door on North Korea, there was no turning back, and during my research, I found out far more than I anticipated – surprisingly more. We all know how North and South Korea were created. What many people don’t know, is after the armistice was signed, America housed nuclear weapons in South Korea in direct contravention of the Non Proliferation treaty, which over time, directly led to North Korea developing its own nuclear program. America and North Korea agreed to abandon its nuclear program, and in return, America would provide N. Korea with a water cooled reactor to meet the country’s energy needs. It did shut down its program on three occasions, but America failed to deliver on it promises.’
Stefan very wisely introduces each of his characters with a backstory that allows us to know each player as they ‘come aboard’. He is a novelist of real people as well as a creator of a larger than life cast. The author’s summary fleshes out the plot: ‘In a joint exercise with the Korean navy, Admiral Pacino’s son is one of the casualties from a North Korean missile strike. Enraged that the President is more interested in stitching a deal with North Korea, forgetting the lost American lives, Pacino decides to make a statement by bombing military facilities in both Koreas. Appointed as the CIA Director, Mark Price is plunged into a plot by dissidents to overthrow the North Korean Supreme Leader, bringing the country closer to the West. Pacino’s attacks don’t make his new job or the President’s any easier. Wishing to avoid embarrassing the Administration, someone decides to remove Pacino – permanently.’
Tense geopolitical drama set against a family relationship makes this a zinger of a novel that is a winner on every level.
Grady Harp, February 15