Countdown to Action by Joan Marie Verba

After his wife dies in a tragic accident, astronaut Jeff Tracy is left with five young sons to raise. But he turns his grief into a dream: to create an organization which will rescue people that no one else can reach. He builds a business which creates the new technology that the organization will require and earns the billions he needs to finance it. At last, he is ready to put it all together. He enlists the services of a genius to design aircraft and supporting machinery far beyond the standards of his time. Together, they find a South Pacific island to use as the base of their operations. Then he asks his five sons, now grown, to give up promising careers to build the base, operate the machines, and serve in his organization. But he finds that in order to make his dream a reality, it will require sacrifice, courage, and determination...far beyond what he, or his sons, ever expected. Can they make International Rescue a reality, and what will it take to make the fabulous Thunderbirds machines GO?

Midwest Book Review: Small Press Bookwatch

Tragedy does strange things to people, and it is not always negative. Countdown to Action! is a novel based on the beginnings of the old television program Thunderbirds. When faced with his wife's death, Jeff Tracy calls upon his sons to create an organization dedicated to rescuing those who need it. Creating such an organization, however, is much easier said than done. Countdown to Action! is highly recommended reading for science fiction enthusiasts in general and fans of the Thunderbirds television series in particular.

What readers say about Countdown to Action!

Daria (D.H.) Brooks, author of A Legacy of the Pacific

Countdown to Action! [is] a book to read and remember. It's also a thoroughly enjoyable, adventurous outing with characters who are beloved by fans around the world. The novel begins by filling in an element which has been largely neglected in Thunderbirds lore as it tells us about the relationship which brought those valiant Tracy brothers into our lives. My fascination with the series has always been more about what compels this amazing family to risk their lives time and time again, as well as about what in their collective background prepared them for their hazardous chosen task. Scott, Virgil, John, Gordon and Alan all had their own fields of study and interests outside of the family and were on their individual ways to gaining fame in their own right, away from their famous father's shadow. Countdown to Action! illustrates in seamless order how Jeff Tracy raised five such selfless and brave sons to maturity, gifting the world with young men who were willing to sacrifice their own personal lives and safety to save those in mortal peril time and time again. Countdown To Action successfully delves into the formation of the core of International Rescue and so much more, making it a very satisfying introduction to an exciting new series.

David Tremont, Model maker, Weta Workshop, New Zealand

Thunderbirds has been my inspiration since childhood. This has been an enjoyable read and reliving of the characters and their history. I look forward to new adventures ahead as should fans old and new, too.

Doug Pratt, owner, Pratt Hobbies, Herndon, VA

I encourage you to order copies—they are wonderful books. If you are new to Thunderbirds, they will be an excellent introduction. If they Tracy family are old friends, you will find these stories deepen your understanding and enrich your memories. That's what good books are supposed to do. I'm delighted to have the chance to spread this fine work around, and to share something that has been very important to me. Something in the program resonated. The idea of selfless, honorable people devoting their lives to rescuing strangers, maybe. Or maybe it was the technology; nothing in Thunderbirds is what it appears to be. Swimming pools are rocket hangars, cars have machine guns, watches and powder compacts communicate with satellites. And Joan, I have to tell you, I've given away 18 far. I'm getting emails back already about how much people are enjoying them. At least three parents told me they took the books out of the packages and read them before [giving them to their children to read].

Monica Ferris, USA Today bestselling author of Crewel World and other Needlecraft Mysteries St. Louis Park, MN

Verba has created a humane and human background for these characters, with foibles and weaknesses believably overcome, which makes their forming a brave, self-sacrificing force all the more credit-worthy. FAB!

Darlene J. McCurdy, Harrisburg, PA

I have read the 3 books from the Thunderbird series and can honestly say once I read the first page I couldn't put it down. It kept me wanting more and looking forward to the next book in the series. Anyone who loves action books, would love the Thunderbirds Books. They are great for kids and adults. I passed them on to my grandson and he loves them also.

Vickie Vanderpool, Indianola, IA

My grandson loved your second novel. It took him only a week to read through it. He wanted me to drop you a line and say "WELL DONE." After he finished I read it to his younger brothers and he sat in to listen again. Amazing; he doesn't sit still very often. I see that you'll have a new one coming in 2010. Fantastic!!!!!! We can't wait to read this one also.

Action Alert by Joan Marie Verba
Action Alert cover

All the Tracys are dedicated men of action, and Scott Tracy is no exception! The eldest of Jeff Tracy's sons, Scott pilots the rocket-reconnaissance aircraft, Thunderbird 1. First to arrive at any disaster scene, he evaluates the situation and coordinates the team's rescue strategy on site. Due to the importance of Thunderbird 1 to International Rescue's operation, Scott is present for nearly every rescue mission. Nonetheless, even Scott has his limitations, and in Action Alert, he stretches himself to those very limits. Can he do so without consequences to himself and International Rescue?

David Tremont, Model maker, Weta Workshop, New Zealand

I have watched Thunderbirds so many times that when I can see the characters in my mind as I read the story I know that I am enjoying the book. A great read with plenty of action and excitement. All the craft get to stretch their legs on the many rescues, definitely “action alert.”

Deadly Danger by Joan Marie Verba
moms choice award scribe award nominee
Virgil Tracy, the second of Jeff Tracy's sons, pilots the heavy-rescue craft, Thunderbird 2, which carries the specialized rescue equipment to the danger zone. In addition to his expertise as a pilot and engineer, Virgil is also a talented pianist and artist. Virgil's calm disposition serves him well in the extreme hazards that he faces as a member of International Rescue. In Deadly Danger, Virgil will have to draw on all of these skills to meet the challenges he faces: a California wildfire, a mine disaster in South Africa, a volcano eruption in the Pacific, an airliner in trouble, a town in Peru in danger of vanishing into a sinkhole, a bridge collapse in India, explorers in danger of grinding ice in the Antarctic. Most of all Virgil and his brothers and associates must find a warped genius who will stop at nothing to build and deploy a fleet of advanced machines to prove he is the greatest rocket scientist of the 2060s.

Midwest Book Review: Small Press Bookwatch

"Thunderbirds: Deadly Danger" is another novel of science fiction based on the famous television series as the Tracy family is again faced off with evil as a mad rocket scientist threatens the world to prove he is the most skilled at his trade the world has ever known. Jeff Tracy must stop this madman before he threatens lives even further, making International Rescue's job ever more difficult. "Thunderbirds: Deadly Danger" is a choice pick for fans of the series or simply young science fiction fans.

David Tremont, Model maker, Weta Workshop, New Zealand

The third in the series, this story is just as fresh and exciting as the first two. The rescues, situations, and characters all include new things while remaining true to the feel of the Thunderbirds we remember. Read this book to your children, then show them the original: they, too, will become fans.

Situation: Critical by Joan Marie Verba
moms choice award scribe award nominee

John Tracy, the third of Jeff Tracy's sons, coordinates communications for International Rescue on the space satellite Thunderbird 5, in addition to piloting the rocket ship Thunderbird 3 and assisting with Earth-based rescues. An experienced astronomer, John discovers a new planetary system and realizes its gravity has sent meteors and comets hurtling toward Earth. John and the rest of the International Rescue team find that this is only the beginning of the disasters they must handle, which affect them as well as the rest of the world. Can they save the Earth, and themselves, from catastrophe?

David Lee Summers, author of The Solar Sea

In Situation: Critical, Joan Marie Verba pits International Rescue against a plausible natural disaster—meteor and comet fragments careening toward Earth—and delivers an exciting and suspense-filled yarn that stands alongside the best episodes from the classic Thunderbirds TV series. 

Midwest Book Review: Children's Bookwatch

The Thunderbirds captured the imaginations of many young television viewers decades ago, and now they can once more for a new generation. "Thunderbirds: Situation: Critical" follows John Tracy and Thunderbird 5 as he finds a planetary system that is hurtling meteors towards earth and may be a sampling of the disasters that are to come. Another exciting short novel for young adult readers following the adventures of International Rescue, "Thunderbirds: Situation: Critical" is a choice pick for science fiction collections.

David Tremont, Model maker, Weta Workshop, New Zealand

This is an exciting adventure and close to my heart, having plenty of astronomy—a story that could carry on into further books. It is great to see John getting a more prominent part. These stories continue to get more and more exciting and further expand the Thunderbirds universe. I look forward to new adventures.

Extreme Hazard by Joan Marie Verba
Extreme Hazard cover
moms choice award scribe award winner

Gordon Tracy, aquanaut, weapons expert, and fun-loving fourth son of Jeff Tracy, learns of a missile that can destroy an International Rescue aircraft. While working on a way to defeat that, the team discovers an even greater menace: plans for a bomb that could destroy the Earth have been lost. Unless International Rescue finds those plans, they could fall into the hands of criminals, who could build such a device and use it for their own ends. Can International Rescue retrieve the plans and save the planet from certain destruction?

Daria (D.H.) Brooks, author of A Legacy of the Pacific

Join the Tracy family as International Rescue again enters the fray from land, sea and air.

David Tremont, Model maker, Weta Workshop, New Zealand

This series continues to expand the world of International Rescue with a new exciting story concerning global security and espionage, and paints wonderful imaginative imagery that fits in so well with the TV series. It also delves more into the past lives of the characters, as well as giving them greater abilities only now being realized. This time it is the people, and more of their story - showing a great respect in the writing of those characters.

Danger Zone by Joan Marie Verba
Danger Zone cover

Alan Tracy, the youngest of the Tracy sons, has always worked to distinguish himself as a member of the International Rescue team. Now his goals are put to the test as he faces challenges that cause him to evaluate his role in the organization, and at the same time, strengthen his relationship with the love of his life, Tin-Tin. Can Alan maintain his balance with home, job, romance, and race car driving? And what about the mysterious golden aircraft that seems to have appeared out of nowhere and captured the team’s attention?

David Tremont, Model maker, Weta Workshop, New Zealand

Even being part of a distinguished organization does not take away normal dreams and passions, and thus in defying his father, Alan takes Tin-Tin and the rest of the team on an adventure they believe in enough to risk all with International Rescue. For Alan and Tin-Tin the challenges are great, but the personal gains will become far greater. This is another unique adventure with International Rescue, addressing a few of their personal issues only lightly hinted at in the TV series and revealing a more serious side of this dedicated family.

Daria (D.H.) Brooks, author of A Legacy of the Pacific

For his entire life, Alan Tracy has been the 'baby brother' of the Tracy clan. In Danger Zone, he is forced to take on a more mature role on the valiant International Rescue team. In the process, a series of exciting events give Alan pause to ponder his future as a rescue hero and race car driver. Will the future he dreams of also include Tin-Tin, IR's talented engineer...?