The Last Israelis by Noah Beck
Jeffrey Buckner Ford’s narration is expertly done. He handles the voice of a child with the same ease as he does a generous supply of foreign accents and female characters. His pacing is perfect. Among his best contributions as narrator of this story is his ability to keep his reading clipped just enough to maintain the hovering tension in the story even when the action is at a low peak.
Once the characters board the submarine, there is a subtle foreboding to Ford’s voice and an immediacy, without its being rushed. The effect is to create an alertness to the inevitable danger that might be waiting in the next sentence or paragraph. When damns break, with realistic urgency, he plunges listeners into the flood with his flawless movement from the temperament and actions of one character to those of the next. His voice is contemplative, moody, angry, crass, humorous: whatever the story calls for, and his momentum maintains engagement in this fiction.
Book Review: The Last Israelis
The Last Israelis centers on the ever-present, real-life threat of an annihilation of Israel by a nuclear attack from Iran. In the story, the Prime Minister is alerted that Iran is acquiring the nuclear weaponry to carry out this threat. In response, the Dolphin, manned by thirty-five submariners, dives on a mission to prevent this devastating eradication. An appealing advantage of this fiction is that it has elements of a psychological thriller as well as those of an action drama.
The story uses dialogue in a manner that allows readers to know the characters in a way that simple narration doesn’t afford.
A social event takes place before the mission-dive. At this event, intimate and personal details are shared in discussions between the principle characters and their family members and friends. These insights provide the emotional connections readers need to sympathize with the submariners later in the story. Without these connections, when the characters face danger on the submarine, they would register to readers as little more than robots carrying out an action sequence.
Later in the story, in several good examples, dialogue again plays an important role in causing readers to empathize with the critical feelings and beliefs of the characters. Points brought out in debate force people to face these same moral, religious, and political points of view within themselves.
The action scenes are well done, and Noah Beck does an excellent job of incorporating necessary explanations about the workings of a submarine in a way that doesn’t detract from the tension in these scenes. In addition, the author’s description of the setting and lifestyle on a submarine places readers right there in its cramped and efficient environment.
This fiction has some compelling twists and turns that realistically portray human nature in its emotional and psychological nakedness. Readers are able to relate to the intensity of these scenes because they’ve learned so much about these characters through their dialogue and interactions with each other, both on land and sea.
The greatest coup of The Last Israelis is that the book forces anyone who reads it to recognize the imperative to take whatever steps are necessary to stop its fictional depiction from becoming a reality: a reality so sorrowful and tragic, if it were allowed to occur, no amount of buck-passing would be justifiable, and no amount of award-winning apologies and cinematic retaliations would ever recompense.
You can listen to the audio sample below, and download details are available.
Bibliography: The Last Israelis by Noah Beck
Length:8 hrs and 58 mins
Publisher: © 05-15-13 Noah Beck Books