This time out, it’s the Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution against Gunnery Sgt. Kyle Swanson. Guess who wins?
Accountant Norman Haynes would have had plenty to tell Task Force Trident, the president’s personal team of intelligence troubleshooters, about the shadowy Palm Group, which he’d been auditing, if he hadn’t been assassinated. His death, and the attempted kidnapping of Swanson’s adopted mother, retired actress Lady Patricia Cornwell, make Trident’s antenna bristle so furiously that triggerman Swanson (Running the Maze, 2012, etc.) is soon on his way to Sharm el-Sheikh, partnered with Egyptian-born MI6 operative and Egyptologist Dr. Tianha Bialy, who doesn’t trust him any more than he trusts her. Their mission is to make contact with the Pharaoh, an agent who’s been passing on information about the Army of the Guardians. Bialy has her own agenda, but her clashes with Swanson are soon mooted by a series of terrorist attacks on Egypt’s national soccer team and an Iranian ship plying the Red Sea. The attacks, which look like the work of Egyptian terrorists determined to stabilize their emerging government, have actually been masterminded by Pharaoh, otherwise known as Col. Yahya Ali Naqdi. This high-ranking officer in the Army of the Guardians has hatched a plot to create a pretext for an Iranian invasion of Egypt. He plans to insert a slender military force into Sharm el-Sheikh, ostensibly at Egypt’s invitation, so that he can commandeer the city’s airport, cow the locals into submission and ultimately establish control over all shipping that passes through the Suez Canal. The Egyptian forces are so credulous, disorganized and ill-equipped that nothing can stop the Pharaoh’s plan except for Swanson, armed with his sniper’s eye, his talent for creating new alliances and whatever weaponry he can lay his hands on.
Swanson, who clearly thinks he’s an American James Bond, dishes out plenty of “plain old ass-kicking payback” for red-meat fans.