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The Second Ship: 07/07/09
The Second Ship by Richard Phillips is the first book in the Rho Agenda. As it was sent unsolicited and as it has such strong Christian undertones, I wasn't expecting to like it. Despite those two hits against it before I even opened the book, the first novel is pretty good.
The book follows three teens, Jennifer, Heather and Mark, who find a ship crashed in the hills just outside of the National Laboratory in Los Alamos, New Mexico. After their initial encounter the begin to bond with the ship and it reveals the secrets behind a sixty year cover up that started with the original Roswell crash in 1947.
Meanwhile things are heating up at the labs. Scientists close to the project are ending up dead and the conspiracy might go all the way to the top. Through some good luck and alien aided engineering the teens find a way to uncover the truth and expose the criminals.
While the book takes place in "present day" and modern technology is used and discussed at length in the novel, book's tone had a strong Nancy Drew or Hardy Boys feel to it. First of all, the teens can do no wrong and they are close with their families. Second, they above all others are able to find the clues that everyone else seems to have missed (including the big ship lying in the wilderness). Finally, their word choices make them sound much older than they are. It's not that they are using out of date slang; they hardly use any slang at all. Instead, their names for things are out of date. The one that jumped out at me most was "computer banks" instead of just "computer" but there is a more general older style of grammar and word choice for the teens much in the same way that Nancy Drew sounds like a teen out of the 1910s instead of the 1930s in the earliest books.