Members of an elite, covert anti-terrorist squad reunite to rescue one of their own from the world’s deadliest terrorist in this thriller.
English nobleman Harrington Lloyd-Creighton assembles the far-flung members of his InterOps team to rescue Stewart Savage, a former colleague who’s been captured by Alexander Shaitan, head of the International Organization for Terrorist Aggression, “an organization of vast proportions, larger than most international conglomerates, spread across the globe and into everything.” Shaitan is holding Savage prisoner in a labyrinthine, subterranean island fortress that features a giant, carnivorous lizard that’s unleashed on unfortunate prisoners. Lloyd-Creighton’s initially all-male international team includes an Australian, an Asian, a Scot, a Frenchman, a German, and an American whose surname is a German word for “avenger.” Shaitan had previously shattered each of their lives by sponsoring attacks that claimed loved ones. Even as they mount their rescue, they expect that their nemesis is using Savage as bait to trap them. Lambert’s debut novel is the literary equivalent of a 1980s direct-to-video action-adventure, which is not necessarily a bad thing. Those films were rife with clichés, bad acting, and ham-handed dialogue, but they were also lively fun. This story similarly hits the ground running as Savage tries to elude his pursuers through “miles upon miles of tunnels, cool corridors.” Shaitan is an urbane, suitably hissable villain, even if the banter Lambert writes for him isn’t very strong (“Go to hell,” says Savage. “All in due time, I’m sure,” responds Shaitan). Other terrorists tend to speak in stereotypical ways: “That was the wrong answer, infidel,” says one Iranian assassin. “Where are your pig-friends?” The book’s exposition can also be clunky and repetitive, as in the opening scene: “LABYRINTH. An entire terrorist organization built into a labyrinth that was more than two thousand years old….It was a labyrinth beneath the tiny island’s jungle surface.” That said, Lambert effectively propels the story forward, staging outrageous action set pieces that may be absurd, but are never boring.
An improbable tale that delivers cheesy action-adventure fun, despite its drawbacks.