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DA VINCI CODE meets TOMB RAIDER in this multi-award-winning and #1 bestselling series. A computer-app designer. An encrypted relic. Can she and the VanOps team decipher the dangerous code before extremists trigger a high-tech apocalypse? Broad-shouldered marine turned covert agent Bear Thorenson wants his aikido black-belt girlfriend to join VanOps, but software expert Madd DA VINCI CODE meets TOMB RAIDER in this multi-award-winning and #1 bestselling series. A computer-app designer. An encrypted relic. Can she and the VanOps team decipher the dangerous code before extremists trigger a high-tech apocalypse? Broad-shouldered marine turned covert agent Bear Thorenson wants his aikido black-belt girlfriend to join VanOps, but software expert Maddy Marshall isn't sure she's ready for a hazardous dark-operations role. When an armed Russian thief escapes over her wrought-iron fire escape carrying an ancient star chart in his hand, her only choice is to join Bear in the pursuit. If her royal Spanish family legends are true, the mysterious chart leads to a treasure trove capable of powering the ultimate quantum computer. Maddy soon learns that the lightning-fast machine will be used by fringe members of the Russian government to spark a global war, and her eyes grow wide with fear before her spine stiffens with resolve. Setting off on a mad dash to uncover the chart’s celestial secrets at a Mexican archeoastronomy site, the VanOps team unearths a clue dating back to biblical times. Racing across the globe through the dangerous bazaars of Morocco, fallen Turkish temples, and Egypt’s perilous Valley of the Kings, the covert group must fight to stay even a half-step ahead of sinister assassins. Before millions die at the hands of an anti-American Russian government, can Maddy and Bear crack the secret code? SOLSTICE SHADOWS is the second book in the fast-paced, multi-award-winning VanOps thriller series. If you like international suspense by James Rollins, Dan Brown, Steve Berry, or Clive Cussler, you'll stay up late turning the pages of Avanti Centrae's high-stakes novel. Bronze Medal Winner - Adventure - 2020 Readers' Favorite Awards Genre Grand Prize Winner - Global Thriller Awards - 2019 Chanticleer International Book Awards An instant Barnes & Noble Nook #1 Best Seller and Amazon #1 Best Seller! "A tantalizing new series that combines historical mystery and cutting-edge science into a masterwork of international intrigue." ~ James Rollins, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Last Odyssey "Unputdownable. Avanti Centrae packs a thriller parachute with endless suspense and a rip-cord ending. SOLSTICE SHADOWS is meticulously researched, the history, science, and locales offering a rare 'you-are-there' authenticity. Brew a large pot of java, as you will read through the night. Brilliant." ~ K.J. Howe, international bestselling author of SKYJACK "Fast-paced action adventure with an ancient mystery at its heart -- fans of Dan Brown and Steve Berry will love the VanOps thrillers." ~ J.F. Penn, USA Today bestselling author of the ARKANE thrillers "Has that unputdownable X factor!" ~ Ernest Dempsey, the USA Today bestselling author of the Sean Wyatt adventure series "Fans of complex and highly detailed espionage and action thrillers are certain to dive right into this mixture between Indiana Jones and Dan Brown." ~ Readers' Favorite - Five stars ". . . delightfully capable and convincingly vulnerable characters."~ Kirkus Reviews "Fascinating research, non-stop action, exotic settings, and a sixth sense for human nature in the battle between good and evil. It's a must-read!" ~ Saralyn Richard, award-winning author of Murder in the One Percent and A Palette for Love and Murder "With non-stop action and exciting global adventure to exotic cities, I couldn't put this modern-day Raiders of The Lost Ark down." ~ Tracey Phillips, author of Best Kept Secrets "From Mexico to Jordan, the action never stops until the nail-biter of a conclusion." ~ Chico Enterprise Record


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DA VINCI CODE meets TOMB RAIDER in this multi-award-winning and #1 bestselling series. A computer-app designer. An encrypted relic. Can she and the VanOps team decipher the dangerous code before extremists trigger a high-tech apocalypse? Broad-shouldered marine turned covert agent Bear Thorenson wants his aikido black-belt girlfriend to join VanOps, but software expert Madd DA VINCI CODE meets TOMB RAIDER in this multi-award-winning and #1 bestselling series. A computer-app designer. An encrypted relic. Can she and the VanOps team decipher the dangerous code before extremists trigger a high-tech apocalypse? Broad-shouldered marine turned covert agent Bear Thorenson wants his aikido black-belt girlfriend to join VanOps, but software expert Maddy Marshall isn't sure she's ready for a hazardous dark-operations role. When an armed Russian thief escapes over her wrought-iron fire escape carrying an ancient star chart in his hand, her only choice is to join Bear in the pursuit. If her royal Spanish family legends are true, the mysterious chart leads to a treasure trove capable of powering the ultimate quantum computer. Maddy soon learns that the lightning-fast machine will be used by fringe members of the Russian government to spark a global war, and her eyes grow wide with fear before her spine stiffens with resolve. Setting off on a mad dash to uncover the chart’s celestial secrets at a Mexican archeoastronomy site, the VanOps team unearths a clue dating back to biblical times. Racing across the globe through the dangerous bazaars of Morocco, fallen Turkish temples, and Egypt’s perilous Valley of the Kings, the covert group must fight to stay even a half-step ahead of sinister assassins. Before millions die at the hands of an anti-American Russian government, can Maddy and Bear crack the secret code? SOLSTICE SHADOWS is the second book in the fast-paced, multi-award-winning VanOps thriller series. If you like international suspense by James Rollins, Dan Brown, Steve Berry, or Clive Cussler, you'll stay up late turning the pages of Avanti Centrae's high-stakes novel. Bronze Medal Winner - Adventure - 2020 Readers' Favorite Awards Genre Grand Prize Winner - Global Thriller Awards - 2019 Chanticleer International Book Awards An instant Barnes & Noble Nook #1 Best Seller and Amazon #1 Best Seller! "A tantalizing new series that combines historical mystery and cutting-edge science into a masterwork of international intrigue." ~ James Rollins, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Last Odyssey "Unputdownable. Avanti Centrae packs a thriller parachute with endless suspense and a rip-cord ending. SOLSTICE SHADOWS is meticulously researched, the history, science, and locales offering a rare 'you-are-there' authenticity. Brew a large pot of java, as you will read through the night. Brilliant." ~ K.J. Howe, international bestselling author of SKYJACK "Fast-paced action adventure with an ancient mystery at its heart -- fans of Dan Brown and Steve Berry will love the VanOps thrillers." ~ J.F. Penn, USA Today bestselling author of the ARKANE thrillers "Has that unputdownable X factor!" ~ Ernest Dempsey, the USA Today bestselling author of the Sean Wyatt adventure series "Fans of complex and highly detailed espionage and action thrillers are certain to dive right into this mixture between Indiana Jones and Dan Brown." ~ Readers' Favorite - Five stars ". . . delightfully capable and convincingly vulnerable characters."~ Kirkus Reviews "Fascinating research, non-stop action, exotic settings, and a sixth sense for human nature in the battle between good and evil. It's a must-read!" ~ Saralyn Richard, award-winning author of Murder in the One Percent and A Palette for Love and Murder "With non-stop action and exciting global adventure to exotic cities, I couldn't put this modern-day Raiders of The Lost Ark down." ~ Tracey Phillips, author of Best Kept Secrets "From Mexico to Jordan, the action never stops until the nail-biter of a conclusion." ~ Chico Enterprise Record

30 review for Solstice Shadows

  1. 5 out of 5

    Traveling Cloak

    Solstice Shadows is the 2nd in the VanOps series, thrillers about a top-secret task force charged with hunting down artifacts and keeping them out of the hands of the bad guys. Author Avanti Centrae has a real knack for writing books that combine suspense with ancient history, as this series shows. The ancient history aspect of this book is probably the most interesting to me. While the synopsis from the publisher compares it to Dan Brown and Tomb Raider, I have never read those books (or seen th Solstice Shadows is the 2nd in the VanOps series, thrillers about a top-secret task force charged with hunting down artifacts and keeping them out of the hands of the bad guys. Author Avanti Centrae has a real knack for writing books that combine suspense with ancient history, as this series shows. The ancient history aspect of this book is probably the most interesting to me. While the synopsis from the publisher compares it to Dan Brown and Tomb Raider, I have never read those books (or seen the movies, either). I do get National Treasure vibes, though, and I think this is a more apt comparison, anyway. This journey is taken by a whole crew of people, each with different skills: the leader with personal history, the computer expert, the muscle, the found expert, etc. The puzzle leads them to different locations, each with a clue to the next. There is a big focus on Ancient Egyptian culture, which is really cool. Egyptian artifacts and structures – not just pyramids, but other buildings, as well, many of which synch up with the seasons – are the highlight of the story. Centrae does a great job of building the tension in this story. Not only is the main storyline tension-filled, but there are many side narratives that contribute to the overall atmosphere. There are relationships at stake (romantic and otherwise), history with the bad guys, and characters making life-changing choices. These all feed into the main storyline, and I really enjoyed the fact that there was more to this book than just an artifact hunt. I also want to say that, although this is a Book 2, I found I did not have to read Book 1 to keep up. Some things did happen in Book 1 that are referenced in Book 2, but I did not read Book 1 and was able to keep with the story in this book just fine. If you are a fan of historical-type thrillers, I recommend this book, for sure. Solstice Shadows releases August 11 (which is tomorrow). Pre-order or pick it up on release day!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Kimba Tichenor

    This book just was not my cup of tea. Unlike Dan Brown in the Robert Langdon series, I did not feel that the author managed to find a successful balance between the fantastical and realistic elements. As a result, I never became engaged with the world the characters inhabited or with the fate of the characters. I would like to thank NetGalley, the author, and the publisher for an advanced copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest balance.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Barry &

    Loved it! Another home run for Avanti Centrae. (Thanks for letting me into the advanced review circle.) This fast-paced page turner will appeal to Dan Brown's followers with a bit of Tom Clancy's intrigue thrown. Love the interesting, exotic settings and the historical references brought in. Avanti will be on my must-read list from here on out. (Loved "The Lost Power", too).

  4. 5 out of 5

    Laur

    Solstice Shadows is a fast paced, exciting, spy thriller type story. A specialised and secretive VanOps team are after what is termed ”The Holy Grail of Spydom”.... material that would turn a computer, into a super computer, a computer so fast that it could break any encryption. They must follow a trail of clues setting out to find a Star Chart, that leads them to multiple worldwide locations, all the while, with their lives at risk and being in danger from sources that want this! This review is Solstice Shadows is a fast paced, exciting, spy thriller type story. A specialised and secretive VanOps team are after what is termed ”The Holy Grail of Spydom”.... material that would turn a computer, into a super computer, a computer so fast that it could break any encryption. They must follow a trail of clues setting out to find a Star Chart, that leads them to multiple worldwide locations, all the while, with their lives at risk and being in danger from sources that want this! This review is for the Audio Version of Solstice Shadows. I feel the male narrator read well with general narration and the male characters in the book, but not so with other characters in the book, particularly he really lacked genuine voice character for female characters. For that reason, I may have enjoyed the book more just reading it, rather than listening to it. My thanks to NetGalley for an advanced copy in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Laura Furuta

    Solstice Shadows: A VanOps Thriller By Avanti Centrae 5 out of 5 stars I loved reading the book Solstice Shadows: A VanOps Thriller by Avanti Centrae. It is a story that pulled me in from the very beginning and didn’t let me go until the final page. It is an amazing thriller that had me on the edge of my seat wondering what was going to happen next. The story includes non-stop action, danger, and wonderful characters such as Bear Thorenson and Maddy Marshall. This book has them trying to stay one Solstice Shadows: A VanOps Thriller By Avanti Centrae 5 out of 5 stars I loved reading the book Solstice Shadows: A VanOps Thriller by Avanti Centrae. It is a story that pulled me in from the very beginning and didn’t let me go until the final page. It is an amazing thriller that had me on the edge of my seat wondering what was going to happen next. The story includes non-stop action, danger, and wonderful characters such as Bear Thorenson and Maddy Marshall. This book has them trying to stay one step ahead of those who want their mission to fail and have an evil agenda. Will Bear and Maddy be able to foil their plans? Read this story to find out. This is a book that has one speed, full-steam ahead. I grew to care about the characters of Bear and Maddy with each chapter that I read and was rooting for their success all the way through. Maddy is an intelligent, kind, determined, and strong woman. Bear is a man that has fallen for Maddy and would do anything to keep her safe. They make up part of a team that danger has a way of finding them. Don’t miss out on an exciting and entertaining story that you won’t soon forget. I highly recommend reading it.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jan

    Another high tension thriller from the pen of a gifted novelist with a world class imagination. Just as riveting as the first, the main characters are back but the mystery and locations are different even as the total unpredictability and plot twists are the desired characteristics that stay. The publisher's blurb is pretty good for an intro, and no spoilers here. An amazing read! I requested and received a free ebook copy from Thunder Creek Press via NetGalley.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    About the audiobook Vanops thriller, book 2 Read by Tim Campbell Print length 404 pages Publisher Thunder Creek Press Book release August 11, 2020 Genre Historical fiction/mystery/thriller. IBAP Members Audiobooks The narrator was excellent. I’ve not heard anything from him before and thought he did an awesome job. This as stated is book 2 and I believe it can be read as a stand-alone. And it’s an HEA. The story was sound but the relationships were weak and sometimes unbelievable. The secrecy and unf About the audiobook Vanops thriller, book 2 Read by Tim Campbell Print length 404 pages Publisher Thunder Creek Press Book release August 11, 2020 Genre Historical fiction/mystery/thriller. IBAP Members Audiobooks The narrator was excellent. I’ve not heard anything from him before and thought he did an awesome job. This as stated is book 2 and I believe it can be read as a stand-alone. And it’s an HEA. The story was sound but the relationships were weak and sometimes unbelievable. The secrecy and unfolding about the chart and mission were done well. And it did remind me of the Da Vinci Code a little. I feel like if you love this genre you’ll enjoy it. Thank you NETGALLEY and the publisher for this audiobook ARC, in exchange for my honest review. ♥️

  8. 5 out of 5

    Liana

    Action packed from the beginning to the end. A new series that I find myself enjoying getting in to

  9. 4 out of 5

    Richard Davis

    The style of the book teases and keeps the reader engaged by providing hooks at the end of chapters, that are not resolved until a few chapters later. I liked how the book builds up to the climax, the twists keep coming, and I really enjoyed the hard hitting, explosive, action packed ending that would make Indiana Jones proud. WOW!!

  10. 4 out of 5

    J Z

    Well written! Filled with action and mystery. You will not want to stop reading

  11. 4 out of 5

    Rabid Reader

    A fast-paced thriller with unpredictable plot twists, lots of intrigue, a variety of locations and many historical references. It can be read as a stand-alone but more depth and understanding of the characters is gained if you read book 1 first. The main characters are twins, Maddy & Will Marshall. Will and Bear (Maddy’s love interest) are VanOps agents but software expert Maddy is not part of the black ops team. When foreign agents steal cryptic information that leads them to a source of power A fast-paced thriller with unpredictable plot twists, lots of intrigue, a variety of locations and many historical references. It can be read as a stand-alone but more depth and understanding of the characters is gained if you read book 1 first. The main characters are twins, Maddy & Will Marshall. Will and Bear (Maddy’s love interest) are VanOps agents but software expert Maddy is not part of the black ops team. When foreign agents steal cryptic information that leads them to a source of power that would allow the development of a super weapon, Maddy agrees to help the VanOps team find and solve the mystery of the stolen ancient star chart. The plot weaves through the Middle East, the Philippians, Turkey and Mexico and has lots of action, suspense and tense near death experiences. The narrator, Tim Campbell, really brought the story to life. His pace and intonation showed the pressure, dangers and emotions in the story and his accents were spot on. The book builds through many twists and turns to an action-packed climax and a satisfying ending. I loved the strong female characters, the unfolding of the mystery surrounding the star chart and the touch of paranormal in the story. The missions were exciting and well done but I did find the quick shift of POVs a little off putting at times. Overall, this is an engaging thriller with great narration and an intriguing plot. I received an early copy of this audiobook from Thunder Creek Press via NetGalley with no obligation to review. This in no way influenced my review and all opinions expressed are solely my own.

  12. 4 out of 5

    AC

    Solstice Shadows is the second book in the VanOps series. As per usual, I have not read the first, but from the description, it apparently could be read as a standalone. I really, really wish the publisher had not implied this, because it is not so. It's clear that the story of what came before is important, and treating this like a second book where the first needs to be read, instead of a standalone part of the series, does a disservice to the book and thus to the reader. The issue is that the Solstice Shadows is the second book in the VanOps series. As per usual, I have not read the first, but from the description, it apparently could be read as a standalone. I really, really wish the publisher had not implied this, because it is not so. It's clear that the story of what came before is important, and treating this like a second book where the first needs to be read, instead of a standalone part of the series, does a disservice to the book and thus to the reader. The issue is that the author does not weave the backstory into this book well. We get internal monologues out the wazoo, and a bunch of "As you know," with some flat out telling mixed in for good measure. Were the backstory presented as necessary, in short bursts, instead of the author trying to get in a large chunk of it at once, it would have been less annoying. At its most basic: a star chart that supposedly maps to a source of superconductive material has been stolen from the apartment of Maddy Marshall (if it's so important, why does she not keep it in a safe?) but the thief did not find the sliver of a blade? material? something. She, her twin brother, and her boyfriend Bear have been recruited to the super super super secret VanOps group - interestingly, even with all the telling going on, I've no idea at 35% what the "van" part of that stands for - and Maddy is dithering on accepting because she's part of a super super super secret and special group of international spies. Or something. I'm sorry, but the narrative in this is driving me crazy as I read it and it's going on the DNF list at 35%. I didn't care about these people, what they'd done, or what they were going to do, and I just don't think the writing itself is very good. This one was not for me, even though it sounded interesting when I came across it. Thanks to Thunder Creek and NetGalley for the review copy.

  13. 5 out of 5

    John Purvis

    Author Avanti Centrae (https://www.avanticentrae.com) published the novel “Solstice Shadows” in 2020 (August). Mr. Centrae has published two novels, this being the second in his “VanOps Thriller” series. I received an ARC of this novel through https://www.netgalley.com in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this novel as ‘R’ because it contains Scenes of Violence, Mature Language, and Mature Situations. The novel continues the story of the elite VanOps team. The main characters incl Author Avanti Centrae (https://www.avanticentrae.com) published the novel “Solstice Shadows” in 2020 (August). Mr. Centrae has published two novels, this being the second in his “VanOps Thriller” series. I received an ARC of this novel through https://www.netgalley.com in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this novel as ‘R’ because it contains Scenes of Violence, Mature Language, and Mature Situations. The novel continues the story of the elite VanOps team. The main characters include siblings Maddy & Will Marshall. Will has now joined a long time family friend ‘Bear’ as a VanOps agent. While they would like Maddy to join them, she has not yet agreed. Forces from Russia and Spain confront the VanOps team. Russian or Spanish agents are the most likely suspects in the theft of a star chart. Maddy agrees to help VanOps to find the chart. All are looking for the source of a superconducting material. The VanOps team must avoid attacks while working to solve the mystery of the star chart. I enjoyed the 7.5+ hours I spent reading this 401-page thriller. The plot weaves suspense and thrills with a dash of the paranormal. It is a little ‘out there’ but it is an enjoyable story. The selected cover art is OK. I give this novel a 3.7 (rounded up to a 4) out of 5. You can access more of my book reviews on my Blog ( https://johnpurvis.wordpress.com/blog/).

  14. 4 out of 5

    Tracey Phillips

    I had the lucky opportunity to read this pre-release and couldn't put it down. Solstice Shadows is the second in the Van Ops thriller series. The characters Maggie, her twin brother Matt and Bear, an undercover operative, come to life in this fast-paced thriller. They're trying to track down a powerful stone that only comes from a meteorite but in the wrong hands will destroy the world. As they journey from Jerusalem to Mayan ruins in Mexico to Turkey and Egypt, I felt like part of an Ancient Alie I had the lucky opportunity to read this pre-release and couldn't put it down. Solstice Shadows is the second in the Van Ops thriller series. The characters Maggie, her twin brother Matt and Bear, an undercover operative, come to life in this fast-paced thriller. They're trying to track down a powerful stone that only comes from a meteorite but in the wrong hands will destroy the world. As they journey from Jerusalem to Mayan ruins in Mexico to Turkey and Egypt, I felt like part of an Ancient Aliens adventure. this edge or your seat thriller will keep you turning pages till the very end.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Eric Cousineau

    Another winning effort by Avanti Centrae! The action continues from where it left off in her first novel, The Lost Power. Once again, the depth and amount of historical information shows that the author has done her research. It is great to see the main characters develop and mature as this story unfolds. This is yet another page turner with lots of adventure, action and twists. Thank you to NetGalley and Thunder Creek Press who provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest revie Another winning effort by Avanti Centrae! The action continues from where it left off in her first novel, The Lost Power. Once again, the depth and amount of historical information shows that the author has done her research. It is great to see the main characters develop and mature as this story unfolds. This is yet another page turner with lots of adventure, action and twists. Thank you to NetGalley and Thunder Creek Press who provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Michelle Ocken

    Avanti has a way of pulling you in and taking you for a ride you won't soon forget. This second journey for the VanOps team lives up to expectations as Maddy and the team learn what it means to be a part of covert ops. In true VanOps fashion the team races across ancient landscapes, against time and colorful villains, to solve the mystery of a chart that may lead to a much sought after fuel source. A fuel source that could power a weapon strong enough to end the American way of life. Her depicti Avanti has a way of pulling you in and taking you for a ride you won't soon forget. This second journey for the VanOps team lives up to expectations as Maddy and the team learn what it means to be a part of covert ops. In true VanOps fashion the team races across ancient landscapes, against time and colorful villains, to solve the mystery of a chart that may lead to a much sought after fuel source. A fuel source that could power a weapon strong enough to end the American way of life. Her depictions of places make you feel like you're right there with the characters, characters you can't help but love... or hate. I highly recommend this book, and the whole series. I can't wait to see what's in store for VanOps in the future.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Julie Porter

    Spoilers: When last we left the Wonder Twins, Maddy Marshall and Will Argones and their secret agent friend, Bear Thorenson, they found some obelisks that acted as a superconductor as well as a star chart that points to an ultimate power source. This journey led them to the top of the Great Pyramid of Giza where Maddy used the superconductor to create ball lightning to blast their pursuers sky high. Will accepted the offer to join Van Ops still in mourning for his murdered wife, Maria. Maddy got Spoilers: When last we left the Wonder Twins, Maddy Marshall and Will Argones and their secret agent friend, Bear Thorenson, they found some obelisks that acted as a superconductor as well as a star chart that points to an ultimate power source. This journey led them to the top of the Great Pyramid of Giza where Maddy used the superconductor to create ball lightning to blast their pursuers sky high. Will accepted the offer to join Van Ops still in mourning for his murdered wife, Maria. Maddy got accepted into a secret organization, the Order of the Invisible Flame and considered joining Van Ops and adopting A.J., her orphaned student in aikido martial arts, while beginning a romance with Bear. The second volume in the Van Ops series, Solstice Shadows, is pretty much more of the same. Usually, that's not a good thing but in this case, that is definitely a compliment. Avanti Centrae gives us more adventure, more treasure hunting, more suspense, more exotic locations, and more great characterization. It is not better or worse than the previous on. Instead they are equals in great escapism and high adventure. The star chart that Will, Maddy, and Bear found is stolen from Maddy's apartment. Now, a dangerous assassin, with a taste for garroting his enemies, is after them. Meanwhile the Indian ambassador to Russia is murdered while his mistress is kidnapped and tortured. It flies right into Will and Maddy's world when they learn that the mistress was their step-grandmother and that they were killed to find the star chart and the location of the power source. So now the twins, Bear, and a pair of new allies are led on yet another treasure hunt to look for this power source before the winter solstice (where the chart predicts that it can be found). They have to hurry because their enemies knocked out the power in the Philippines where a terrified populace is rioting and A.J. is hiding with an ally. The novel jumps around from various locations to the Maldives, to the United States, to Brazil, to Russia, to Israel, to Mexico, to Belize, to the Philippines, to Turkey, to Morocco, to Egypt, to Sudan, to Jordan. If Readers want to take an imaginary journey to get their mind off their troubles, this book is the literary equivalent of getting your Imaginary Frequent Flier Miles. The adventure is pure Indiana Jones meets James Bond. Everywhere the characters go, they run into villains in hot pursuit and have to use their wits to escape. There are many tense passages such as when Will and co-agent, Jags have to travel through the Sahara to avoid assasins. Another suspenseful moment is when Maddy, Bear, and Will come to the archaeological dig of Anu Kumar, an archaeologist who can provide information She becomes the sole survivor in an attack almost comes out of a psychological thriller or a horror movie. The characterization is as sharp as ever mostly because Centrae doesn't forget the human element that lies in the adventure. Maddy goes through some angst and indecision throughout the book. She is reluctant to join VanOps because of how guilty she felt about committing murder in the last book, even though it was in self defense of herself, Will, Bear, and A.J. She is also torn between living a normal life as an adopted mother and getting back together with her ex fiancee or saving the world and taking all these dangerous risks with her new boyfriend, Bear. There is an emotional moment where Maddy has to face the consequences of keeping secrets even from her and Will's older sister, Bella. One part that doesn't quite fit is her relationship with A.J. While she clearly cares for the boy, the fact that he is in danger in this book, yet again, suggests that he could become a frequent target from their enemies. Maddy debaters whether to adopt him, but this book gives several good reasons why she shouldn't. Will also benefits from the extra care that Centrae provides in writing him. He is no longer grieving for his late wife. In fact, Maria's death and his last adventure has turned him into a dedicated agent who has learned to use his physical skills in knife throwing as well as his mental skills in engineering. Will also has a potentially romantic relationship with Jags and a lot of cute moments as the two are running from their potential assailants. Jags also provides a sympathetic ear when Will confesses that he feels guilty about being involved with another woman so quickly after Maria's death. While the antagonists aren't as well written as Ivan, the Hitman with a Heart of Gold from The Lost Power, there is some depth provided within Pyotr Argones, a relative of Will and Maddy's that is after them. While chasing the twins, Pyotr is also worried about his mother who is kidnapped and tortured by a sinister Russian character called the Baron. Oh yeah, and his mother is the aforementioned Indian ambassador's mistress. Pyotr realizes that he is a pawn in a larger game and the players that claim to be on his side could careless about him. With extra adventure, locations, and great characters on both sides, Solstice Shadows continues the excitement started by The List Power. The VanOps Series is a series that could be considered The Great Escape.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Cath

    This is book two of the VanOps series and the main character is software expert and reluctant black ops operative, Maddy Marshall. Her ex-marine boyfriend, Bear Thorenson wants her to join him in black ops with VanOps. She soon gets involved when someone steals an ancient star chart, which is linked to legends from her royal Spanish family ancestors. The legends state the chart would led to a treasure that could power the ultimate quantum computer, a high temperature superconductive material. Th This is book two of the VanOps series and the main character is software expert and reluctant black ops operative, Maddy Marshall. Her ex-marine boyfriend, Bear Thorenson wants her to join him in black ops with VanOps. She soon gets involved when someone steals an ancient star chart, which is linked to legends from her royal Spanish family ancestors. The legends state the chart would led to a treasure that could power the ultimate quantum computer, a high temperature superconductive material. The Russian thief that stole the chart is working on behalf of his government that want to spark off a global war. The hunt for the chart will lead them to a number of different countries around the world. As they search for what the chart leads to, Maddy will need all her computer skills to crack the code the chart is hiding, to get them to the treasure before their opponents, whilst avoiding being killed by the assassins chasing them. Lots of adventure hunting for an ancient relic, historical places to be visited and some twisted family issues to be tackled! Maddy is in the middle of adopting ten year old AJ, a foster kid from her aikido dojo. She has been trained by an organisation called the Order of the Invisible Flame and taught a technique by one of the Guardians, to use a specific brain wave pattern to help her gain an advantage in a fight. It helped to heighten her sense and seemed to slow down time. Her ex-fiancé Vincent gets injured as the chart is stolen and AJ is almost shot and recognizes the armed thief as one of his kidnappers! The thief is a Russian speaking man called Pyotr and has a distinctive feature of one dark eye and one white eye which made him easy to remember. Only a select few even knew about the star chart and that Maddy had it, and one was the King of Spain who died just two weeks previously. He would have passed the information onto his son Carlos, who Maddy isn’t a fan of. It all brings back the memories of the Russian problems hunting down obelisks, in their plan against America. Her father was killed in that set of operations and that was when AJ got kidnapped as well. Maddy plans to get AJ to safety in Jerusalem, at the Jerusalem Testing Society, which is actually the base for the Order of the Invisible Flame, an ancient sect of royal spies! Bear tells her to contact her twin brother Will Argones, who is on his boat reminiscing about his murdered wife Maria, with one of their friends Ana Therese. He already works for VanOps and he and Bear both want Maddy to move to the East Coast and join them at VanOps. But Maddy is still haunted by the men she had to kill using the power of a shard and the obelisks, to save the lives of Will, Bear and AJ. Bear asks his boss to allow him to investigate the Russian of Spanish connection and to look for the item on the star chart which was torn from an ancient codex. An involved story with links back to incidents that happened in the first book, an ancient spy organisation and a secret black ops group which Will and Bear work at. Everything links back to Maddy and her ancestors, with even a Russian second wife of her grandfather, a political assassination whilst hunting for information on this chart. Maddy gets hired on as a Subject Matter Expert (MSE) by VanOps and works with her boyfriend Bear and his superior Jags, as well as her brother Will, to solve the assassination of the Indian ambassador to Russia, which their boss is sure is linked to this missing star chart and the multiple attempts on Maddy’s life and those close to her. They will be safer working together, knowing where they each area and being able to protect each other at the same time. An interesting, yet complex storyline with tons of action and history, with danger all around. You get to know more of the ancient relics and history of ancient sights. The light from the Winter Solstice is important for the storyline and highlights the position of the treasure they are seeking. An intriguing read with deadly unknown relatives out to kill them and an ancient treasure to find, to stop all-out war. Another enjoyable read and I can’t wait to see what comes next in this series. I received an ARC copy of this book from BookSprout and I have freely given my own opinion of the book above.

  19. 4 out of 5

    J. F.

    Book Review: Solstice Shadows (VanOps #2) by Avanti Centrae (Published by Thunder Creek Press, August 11, 2020) 4.25 Stars. "Use the force, Luke." - whispers the spirit of Obi-Wan Kenobi And that is exactly what Maddy Marshall does at the team's darkest moment faced with the demon himself, as - to her own peril, she unleashes a horrifying ball of lightning from her bare palms, using her newly developing power from a combination of the energy emitted by that mysterious artifact from spac Book Review: Solstice Shadows (VanOps #2) by Avanti Centrae (Published by Thunder Creek Press, August 11, 2020) 4.25 Stars. "Use the force, Luke." - whispers the spirit of Obi-Wan Kenobi And that is exactly what Maddy Marshall does at the team's darkest moment faced with the demon himself, as - to her own peril, she unleashes a horrifying ball of lightning from her bare palms, using her newly developing power from a combination of the energy emitted by that mysterious artifact from space, and her training as a humble sensei in "The Way of Unifying with Life Energy", the Japanese art with ancient origins, also known as 合気道, - aikidō. "The Raiders of the Lost Ark" meet "Dragon Ball Z", in an action thriller that could fall right into the domain of Toei, the Japanese anime giant. Author Avanti Centrae pens an eclectic, action-packed, psychic and archaeological thriller that transports the reader to some of the earth's most exotic places. It's Maddy, twenty-something, a distant member of the Spanish Royal family, cyber coding expert, member of an ancient order, new recruit of strike force, VanOps, and adoptive mother to a refugee child, AJ, and her comrades - against a cabal of Russian and Spanish powermongers who seek to manipulate the energy of the universe inside buried secrets, to seize power and wreak havoc upon the world. The Winter Solstice and its shadow cast upon ancient pyramids on the shortest day and longest night of the year. Zero point energy, high temperature superconductivity, quantum computing and the vulnerabilities of IOT, the Internet of Things. Creative, well-researched story with far more substance than would be expected in a short read. Unputdownable! Review based on an ARC from Thunder Creek Press and NetGalley.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Rabid Reader

    A fast-paced thriller with unpredictable plot twists, lots of intrigue, a variety of locations and many historical references. It can be read as a stand-alone but more depth and understanding of the characters is gained if you read book 1 first. The main characters are twins, Maddy & Will Marshall. Will and Bear (Maddy’s love interest) are VanOps agents but software expert Maddy is not part of the black ops team. When foreign agents steal cryptic information that leads them to a source of power A fast-paced thriller with unpredictable plot twists, lots of intrigue, a variety of locations and many historical references. It can be read as a stand-alone but more depth and understanding of the characters is gained if you read book 1 first. The main characters are twins, Maddy & Will Marshall. Will and Bear (Maddy’s love interest) are VanOps agents but software expert Maddy is not part of the black ops team. When foreign agents steal cryptic information that leads them to a source of power that would allow the development of a super weapon, Maddy agrees to help the VanOps team find and solve the mystery of the stolen ancient star chart. The plot weaves through the Middle East, the Philippians, Turkey and Mexico and has lots of action, suspense and tense near death experiences. The narrator, Tim Campbell, really brought the story to life. His pace and intonation showed the pressure, dangers and emotions in the story and his accents were spot on. The book builds through many twists and turns to an action-packed climax and a satisfying ending. I loved the strong female characters, the unfolding of the mystery surrounding the star chart and the touch of paranormal in the story. The missions were exciting and well done but I did find the quick shift of POVs a little off putting at times. Overall, this is an engaging thriller with great narration and an intriguing plot. Audiobook due for release August 11th, 2020. I received an early copy of this audiobook from Thunder Creek Press via NetGalley with no obligation to review. This in no way influenced my review and all opinions expressed are solely my own.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Lilmissmolly

    Fans of Steve Berry and James Rollins will thoroughly enjoy Solstice Shadows, which is part history, part science, and part mystery, with a lot of non-stop action thrown in. It is the second book in the VanOps thriller series by Avanti Centrae. The series follows a set of twins, Maggie and Matt, and a family friend knows as Bear, as they attempt to stop Russian bad guys who want to weaponize precious resources and end the American way of life. The team races against time and across ancient landsc Fans of Steve Berry and James Rollins will thoroughly enjoy Solstice Shadows, which is part history, part science, and part mystery, with a lot of non-stop action thrown in. It is the second book in the VanOps thriller series by Avanti Centrae. The series follows a set of twins, Maggie and Matt, and a family friend knows as Bear, as they attempt to stop Russian bad guys who want to weaponize precious resources and end the American way of life. The team races against time and across ancient landscapes, including Mayan ruins and Egypt tombs. I did not listen to the first book in the series, The Lost Power (I didn’t start at the beginning with Steve Berry’s Cotton Malone series either), and thankfully, I did not feel lost at all. I chose to listen to this audiobook via NetGalley due to the narrator alone - Tim Campbell. He does an amazing job narrating this audiobook, as he does with all of his narrations, providing a variety of voices for each character and several different accents. Tim’s artful performance and Avanti’s wonderful prose combined for a thoroughly entertaining experience. Simply put, I highly recommend this audiobook and can't wait to go back and listen to the first book in the series!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Reemahmad

    A new thriller and the adventure continue in the latest series of VanOps "Solstice Shadows". Our dear Maddy finds her home invaded and the ancient map she owned in previous adventure stolen by the Russian who are working on a new Evil plan to invade The United States and rule the world. Assisted by VanOps team that include her brother Will childhood friend now boyfriend Bear, who is awesome history geak, and other new members Jags Anu and Quinn, they travel around the world hunted by the Russian A new thriller and the adventure continue in the latest series of VanOps "Solstice Shadows". Our dear Maddy finds her home invaded and the ancient map she owned in previous adventure stolen by the Russian who are working on a new Evil plan to invade The United States and rule the world. Assisted by VanOps team that include her brother Will childhood friend now boyfriend Bear, who is awesome history geak, and other new members Jags Anu and Quinn, they travel around the world hunted by the Russian and Spaniard and they only have till the end of the winter solstice "aka Chrismas". I really loved the exploring of ancient places they visited. The stunts kept me high and at the edge of my seat I related to Maddy, her fears fighting guilt and uncertainty is a part of every woman, and by overcome them she found her trueself which enabled her to unlock the mystery save everyone and finally find her path. I also found the team work was so impressive. Thanks for the writer for this amazing journey and cannot wait for the next one

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jean Kolinofsky

    From Mexico to Morocco, Turkey, Egypt and Jordan, Solstice Shadows is a non-stop thriller. Avanti Centrae offers a mix of history, science and mystery that come together in an explosive ending. Maggie Marshall is a black belt in Aikido and recently started a computer company. She and her twin brother Will are descended from Spanish royalty. In possession of an ancient star chart, they were previously involved in a search that revealed artifacts with strange hieroglyphics. When a Russian agent ste From Mexico to Morocco, Turkey, Egypt and Jordan, Solstice Shadows is a non-stop thriller. Avanti Centrae offers a mix of history, science and mystery that come together in an explosive ending. Maggie Marshall is a black belt in Aikido and recently started a computer company. She and her twin brother Will are descended from Spanish royalty. In possession of an ancient star chart, they were previously involved in a search that revealed artifacts with strange hieroglyphics. When a Russian agent steals the star chart, it sets off a race to decipher the artifacts and discover the location of a meteorite that contains immense power. Will and Maggie’s boyfriend Bear are members of VanOps, a government agency. While Maggie has been pressured to join the team, she has resisted. Now she must work with the VanOps team to prevent an attack by the Russians. They have developed a program that would use the meteorite to disrupt power and cause chaos, enabling them to invade the United States. Avanti Centrae is an author to watch if you are a true thriller fan. I would like to thank NetGalley and Thunder Creek Press for providing this book for my review.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jean Kolinofsky

    From Mexico to Morocco, Turkey, Egypt and Jordan, Solstice Shadows is a non-stop thriller. Avanti Centrae offers a mix of history, science and mystery that come together in an explosive ending. Maggie Marshall is a black belt in Aikido and recently started a computer company. She and her twin brother Will are descended from Spanish royalty. In possession of an ancient star chart, they were previously involved in a search that revealed artifacts with strange hieroglyphics. When a Russian agent ste From Mexico to Morocco, Turkey, Egypt and Jordan, Solstice Shadows is a non-stop thriller. Avanti Centrae offers a mix of history, science and mystery that come together in an explosive ending. Maggie Marshall is a black belt in Aikido and recently started a computer company. She and her twin brother Will are descended from Spanish royalty. In possession of an ancient star chart, they were previously involved in a search that revealed artifacts with strange hieroglyphics. When a Russian agent steals the star chart, it sets off a race to decipher the artifacts and discover the location of a meteorite that contains immense power. Will and Maggie’s boyfriend Bear are members of VanOps, a government agency. While Maggie has been pressured to join the team, she has resisted. Now she must work with the VanOps team to prevent an attack by the Russians. They have developed a program that would use the meteorite to disrupt power and cause chaos, enabling them to invade the United States. Avanti Centrae is an author to watch if you are a true thriller fan. I would like to thank NetGalley and Thunder Creek Press for providing this book for my review.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Sheri

    I really enjoyed the audiobook version of Solstice Shadows, by Avanti Centrae.This was a wonderfully fast paced novel that will appeal to lovers of thrillers and intrigue. Imagine a Tom Clancy novel with a bit of Dan Brown thrown in. I absolutely loved the exotic settings and historical references the author used. This author really did their research! The characters are well developed and the plot is great. Avanti Centrae is now on my must read list. Excellent, excellent read. I definitely reco I really enjoyed the audiobook version of Solstice Shadows, by Avanti Centrae.This was a wonderfully fast paced novel that will appeal to lovers of thrillers and intrigue. Imagine a Tom Clancy novel with a bit of Dan Brown thrown in. I absolutely loved the exotic settings and historical references the author used. This author really did their research! The characters are well developed and the plot is great. Avanti Centrae is now on my must read list. Excellent, excellent read. I definitely recommend it. I would like to think Avanti Centrae, Thunder Creek Press and Netgalley for the opportunity to listen to this audiobook in exchange for a fair and honest review.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Kerry Baker

    Solstice Shadows: A VanOps Thriller by Avanti Centrae is a fast paced book that will keep you turning the pages. This book is the second book of the series however it can be read as a standalone. Personally I would advise readying them in order just so you get that background and build up before this story, although it is not a requirement. I thought the book was quite fast paced and exciting. I expected it to be a little dense and confusing given the high-tech theme but it was a pleasant surpris Solstice Shadows: A VanOps Thriller by Avanti Centrae is a fast paced book that will keep you turning the pages. This book is the second book of the series however it can be read as a standalone. Personally I would advise readying them in order just so you get that background and build up before this story, although it is not a requirement. I thought the book was quite fast paced and exciting. I expected it to be a little dense and confusing given the high-tech theme but it was a pleasant surprise to find that it wasn’t like that at all. I found it to be very easy to understand and a good book to get into. The characters were interesting and I found myself rooting for them throughout the story. IT was well paced and the author did a great job of layering the story so it built up gradually and kept you interested. This was a great book and one I would certainly recommend.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Gary Hart

    On the tail of a meteor! A good read with lots of action, but I thought, a few too many coincidences. Maddy teaming up with her brother against the bad guys - one her uncle, the other a cousin? A key helper in the case is the niece of the Indian Consul to Russia, and has an affair with Maddy’s uncle’s mother. In fact, many of the maincharacters have family links. The travel and adventures are right out there, and international travel is a snap. Lots of things come together to complete this fantast On the tail of a meteor! A good read with lots of action, but I thought, a few too many coincidences. Maddy teaming up with her brother against the bad guys - one her uncle, the other a cousin? A key helper in the case is the niece of the Indian Consul to Russia, and has an affair with Maddy’s uncle’s mother. In fact, many of the maincharacters have family links. The travel and adventures are right out there, and international travel is a snap. Lots of things come together to complete this fantastic tale, when in reality, they would not. And, what about Professor Crookbottom? Really, who came up with that name? I as saddened to hear of the destruction of the Monastery at Petra, and probably much of the valley. Having spent a day there, riding a donkey up the mountain, walking to the very top, and then coming back down to enter the monastery, I am sad to hear of so much destruction to what is a fantastic historical and archeological site. Fortunately, the book is fiction. I think that there are things in the plot which are a bit weak, or hard to believe, but it is a novel, with the aim of entertaining. It works, and I have enjoyed the ride. Pity I started with VANoPS book 2, but now I will have to read book #1. Recommended for a good read of fantasy and adventure.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Lisa Henderson-Farr

    Thank you to Thunder Creek Press and NetGalley for an advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I'm glad that I gave this series another chance. The first installment of this series, The Lost Power, felt very jarring to me. There wasn't a very smooth transition between some scenes which, for me, made the storyline a little confusing at times. I also found the characters to be a little flat. This isn't the case for this second installment, Solstice Shadows. The storyline flows ve Thank you to Thunder Creek Press and NetGalley for an advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I'm glad that I gave this series another chance. The first installment of this series, The Lost Power, felt very jarring to me. There wasn't a very smooth transition between some scenes which, for me, made the storyline a little confusing at times. I also found the characters to be a little flat. This isn't the case for this second installment, Solstice Shadows. The storyline flows very smoothly in this narrative with characters that are more fleshed out and likeable. I'm a huge fan of secret societies in search of ancient artifacts so this book was right up my alley. You are taken on a whirlwind quest with non-stop action that will have you holding your breath in anticipation. All future books in this series will go straight to my TBR list!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jenni Bishop

    Solstice Shadows: A VanOps Thriller by Avanti Centrae is a fast paced historical mystery/thriller that will keep you on your toes. Avanti puts you through your paces just like the characters. It is an intriguing read with lots of twists and turns. It is a little like Indiana Jones meets Da Vinci Code and entertains us with mythology, and other powers. I did find it a little bit slow in the beginning but this is the second book and I have not read the first, so I am guessing I was missing some vi Solstice Shadows: A VanOps Thriller by Avanti Centrae is a fast paced historical mystery/thriller that will keep you on your toes. Avanti puts you through your paces just like the characters. It is an intriguing read with lots of twists and turns. It is a little like Indiana Jones meets Da Vinci Code and entertains us with mythology, and other powers. I did find it a little bit slow in the beginning but this is the second book and I have not read the first, so I am guessing I was missing some vital information. I liked the characters but found they were a little underdeveloped. Having said that it is my first read by this author and I will be looking into more of her work. 3.5 stars

  30. 5 out of 5

    Margaret

    This is a fast paced story that keeps you guessing till the very end. Maddie, Will, Bear and Jags have a very short time to solve the mystery and save the world. The short chapters keeps the story moving and the twists just keep coming. Another great read.

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