Cameron, Christian 1962-
CAMERON, Christian 1962-
Born 1962; son of Kenneth M. Cameron (a retired U.S. Navy officer). Education: Graduated from University of Rochester; Navy OCS, 1988. Hobbies and other interests: Historical reenactments, fly fishing, camping.
Home—Baltimore, MD. Agent—c/o Author Mail, Random House, 1745 Broadway, New York, NY 10019.
Author and freelance writer, 1999—; military historian. U.S. Navy, 1987-99, became pilot and received Naval Observer Wings, served in Persian Gulf during Operation Desert Storm, as well as in North Norwegian Sea, central Atlantic, and Mediterranean; also served in Naval Criminal Investigative Service.
Company of Select Marksmen.
Washington and Caesar (historical novel), Delacorte Press (New York, NY), 2004.
MILITARY SUSPENSE NOVELS; WITH FATHER, KENNETH M. CAMERON UNDER JOINT PSEUDONYM GORDON KENT
Night Trap, HarperCollins (London, England), 1998, published as Rules of Engagement, Putnam's Sons (New York, NY), 1999.
Peacemaker, Putnam's Sons (New York, NY), 2001.
Top Hook, Delacorte Press (New York, NY), 2002.
Hostile Contact, Delacorte Press (New York, NY), 2003.
Force Protection, Delacorte Press (New York, NY), 2004.
After twelve years serving in the U.S. Navy, Christian Cameron followed his ex-Navy father's footsteps a second time by proposing they write novels together. Cameron's father, Kenneth M. Cameron, had already written poetry, plays, novels, and even a textbook, but had stopped writing in 1980 after his publisher went bankrupt. When his son suggested they write military thrillers together, however, the elder Cameron thought it would be fun. Under the joint pseudonym Gordon Kent, father and son completed Night Trap, which was published in England in 1998 and released in the United States under the title Rules of Engagement.
Drawing on their shared experiences flying airplanes and working in intelligence in the U.S. Navy, the Camerons created the character Alan Craik, a military intelligence officer in the U.S. Navy. Lieutenant Craik, who is later joined by his spouse, Rose, fights terrorists and other bad guys in a series of suspense novels that include Peacemaker, Top Hook, Hostile Contact, and Force Protection.
Rules of Engagement begins tragically when Craik's father, a navy pilot, is shot down over the Persian Gulf. Craik is on another navy vessel when he witnesses a missile hit his father's jet fighter; however, knowing the capabilities of the Iranian forces, he does not believe the official story that the Iranians were responsible for his father's death. Suspecting foul play, he begins an investigation that leads him to a spy within naval ranks, and the chase is on. While critics praised the authors' accurate depiction of military life and combat, a Publishers Weekly contributor complained of characters that "aren't always smoothly conceived."
Other reviewers found the early "Craik" novels, including Rules of Engagement, and Peacemaker, to be thrilling reads; for example, a Publishers Weekly critic dubbed the first two books "dynamos." Peacemaker takes readers all across the world as Craik attempts to rescue a CIA agent who has been kidnapped by Hutu rebels. Meanwhile, Craik's wife, Lieutenant Commander Rose Craik, is working on the top-secret launch of the Peacemaker satellite. "A tour de force with near hypnotic pull, Kent's second outing scores a bulls-eye," commented one Publishers Weekly reviewer. Booklist writer George Cohen similarly felt that Peacemaker "is a rousing sequel to Rules of Engagement."
Top Hook, the third "Craik" novel, was received somewhat less warmly by critics. As Rose prepares to join NASA's astronaut program and Craik gets a plumb CIA assignment, a mole infiltrating the military is discovered passing information about the Peacemaker to China. A problem for some reviewers is that readers learn the identity of the mole in the first chapter, thus removing suspense from the plot. Also, according to a Kirkus Reviews contributor, "incidents strain belief" as too many plot conveniences invade the story.
Despite the lukewarm reception accorded Top Hook, several reviewers felt the Camerons redeem themselves with Hostile Contact, in which Craik finds himself involved in unexpected danger while on assignment in Jakarta. While some critics found the plot unnecessarily complicated, they lauded the writing and characterization. For example, a Kirkus Reviews contributor wrote that, "Longer than it should be and convoluted, [the book is] … redeemed by some brilliant scenes and a thoroughly agreeable cast." A Publishers Weekly writer noted that the overly busy plot "is a relatively minor flaw" compared to the book's "superbly drawn" characters.
According to reviewers, characterization has become one of the strong points of the "Craik" books, and this helps make the complicated spy stories convincing and entertaining. In Force Protection, Craik's wife, Rose, has left NASA to return to the Navy, while Craik travels to Kenya, where he becomes a hero for taking out a dangerous sniper before heading out to nab another terrorist. "What really makes this series go," asserted a Kirkus Reviews critic in a review of Force Protection, "is a core conviction that thrillers thrill when they're character driven."
Cameron completed his first solo work, Washington and Caesar, the same year Force Protection was published. In this historical novel set during the American Revolution, the author follows the story of one of George Washington's slaves, a former Ashanti named Cese Mwakale who is renamed Caesar when he is brought to the colonies. When Caesar is caught laughing at his master's expense, he is banished to live in a swamp. Outraged by this treatment, Caesar organizes a group of slaves to work for the British against Washington, leading to an inevitable confrontation between Washington and his former slave. Critics praised the historical accuracy of Washington and Caesar, as well as appreciating Cameron's realistic portrayal of the famous revolutionary general, giving him both admirable and flawed characteristics. Although a Publishers Weekly writer felt that Caesar's "near savant precociousness … strains credibility," the reviewer found Washington's characterization "compelling." A Kirkus Reviews contributor praised the plotting of the novel, concluding that Washington and Caesar will be a "treat for Revolutionary War buffs."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, March 1, 2001, George Cohen, review of Peacemaker, p. 1231; November 15, 2003, Margaret Flanagan, review of Washington and Caesar, p. 571.
Kirkus Reviews, April 15, 2002, review of Top Hook, p. 517; June 1, 2003, review of Hostile Contact, p. 772; October 15, 2003, review of Washington and Caesar, p. 1238; August 1, 2004, review of Force Protection, p. 706.
Publishers Weekly, September 27, 1999, review of Rules of Engagement, p. 74; February 5, 2001, review of Peacemaker, p. 64; April 29, 2002, review of Top Hook, p. 40; April 28, 2003, review of Hostile Contact, p. 43; November 24, 2003, review of Washington and Caesar, p. 43.
United States Naval Institute. Proceedings, June, 2002, Richard Seamon, review of Top Hook, p. 101.
USA Today, November 24, 1999, William F. Nicholson, "War Thrills Know No Bounds. By Sea and Air, Espionage Invades Families, Asian Battles," p. D13.
Gordon Kent Home Page,http://www.navnov.com (August 26, 2004), "Christian Cameron."*