First and foremost, a large thank you to NetGalley, Joel C. Rosenberg, and Tyndall House Publishers for providing me with a copy of this publication, which allows me to provide you with an unbiased review.
Joel C. Rosenberg, thought to be one of the great prognosticators of Middle East political goings-on, is back with another novel in his Marcus Ryker series. Filled with wonderful geopolitical drama and on point writing, Rosenberg dazzles readers with his detailed stories that have a way of turning into newspaper headlines, while never skimping on action or extrapolating out of the realm of possibility. With a great deal left up in the air when the previous novel ended, Rosenberg offers series fans something intense and full of answers, while layering on more questions to ponder. Fantastic reading for those who have the time and inclination!
After locating one of the world’s more nefarious terrorist—Abu Nakba—Marcus Ryker is ready to make his move. He outlines his proof regarding the location of a man responsible for horrible bombings both within and outside the US, letting POTUS and the National Security Team decide to strike with a powerful drone. When the strike is done, all seems to be right in the world, until a news report shows that the intel was flawed and a number of disabled children in hospital ended up being killed when the strike took place.
While Ryker has been tasked with getting rid of the remaining members of Kairos, the most ruthless terrorist group with strong Middle Eastern ties, he soon becomes persona non grata as details of the drone strike surface. He is immediately suspended by POTUS, just before the Leader of the Free World is struck down by a horrible medical emergency, leaving the country in a political quagmire. What can Ryker do but face the music and remain sidelined, as he tries to understand how he must have been so wrong?
In response to the strike, Kairos is preparing for a retaliatory strike against the Great Satan, with a plan that will surely have reverberations all over the world. Keeping news of the president’s illness from the press, the vice-president must assume a role he never expected would be his, under the 25th Amendment. As new intelligence suggests that Kairos could not only be targeting America but be inside its borders, it is a scramble to crack the code before all is lost.
All the major players will have to make decisions well outside their comfort zones, in an effort to save the free world and keep the country safe from terrorist harm. With the clock ticking and a major event planned in the heart of the country, action must be taken. Will Marcus Ryder remain a benchwarmer, even with that major gaffe on his record? Rosenberg spins a story like no other and kept me begging to know more as I pushed through this book whenever time permitted.
Whatever the reader’s politics, Joel C. Rosenberg makes reading this book both enjoyable and thrilling. He has an insider’s view of the Middle East situation and uses it effectively with a strong narrative. There are so many moving parts to follow that Rosenberg relies on his key cast of characters to push things along before reaching the climactic moment. Mostly in the moment revelations, Rosenberg allows some of his characters to develop their backstories and progress, which is sure to appease series fans. Plot twists emerge repeatedly, with a number of events building on one another until the final event pits two opposing forces together. One cannot get enough of this, particularly as Rosenberg has a knack for predicting events in geopolitical spheres, unlike any other author I have read. With a number of threads left to dangle, the next in this series is sure to be even more impactful and I await its release.
Kudos, Mr. Rosenberg, for a stellar piece of writing and proof that political thrillers can be multi-dimensional.