In this action-packed thriller, a charismatic American president with a secret agenda sets in play a global war against radical Islamists.
The year is 2017, and President Paterson Winters has a plan to ensure that the United States becomes the single economic powerhouse on the planet. To achieve this, he must present a common enemy, for which the unified opposition will help drive international investment to America’s shores. The perfect target is militant Islam. He chooses as his henchman Assistant Chief of Staff Col. Ryder Graham, a man whose background is remarkably similar to his own, with a deep-seated, personal hatred of radical Islam. But not even Graham knows Winters’ ultimate goal. Together they embark on a mission to provoke Muslim radicals into actions that will require Western democracies to retaliate in massive attacks on Islamist strongholds. Jacobs’ first novel is replete with echoes of current headlines—economic instability, cultural clashes and terrorist attacks. In an envelope-pushing twist, the two main protagonists have mothers of Muslim upbringing with Saudi connections, and each has his own reasons for bitterly resenting Islam as it’s practiced by the extremists. Through well-inserted flashbacks, Jacobs gradually and successfully builds up Ryder, a man suffering from occasional moral conflict as the patriotic commander of three teams of special forces. Winters, however, comes across as rather flat—an intelligent, wealthy, confident member of the social elite, lacking any sense of moral conflict or compunction. The action veers over the top, but the behind-the-scenes political manipulations and deceptions ring true. Jacobs is a solid, literate storyteller, although his work would have benefited from more scrupulous copy editing.
An engaging, conspiracy-laden tale with a frightening premise.