A political thriller that pits a disgraced serviceman and a political rebel against a corrupt government administration.
In Michael’s (Fire War III: Uprising, 2016, etc.) rousing, densely plotted thrill ride, prideful U.S. Navy Capt. Kelvin Hanson, at the helm of the USS Brandyn, suddenly experiences a crisis of conscience when he defies a superior’s direct order to destroy another seafaring vessel that’s supposedly harboring a terrorist leader. His initial hesitancy and subsequent refusal to comply result in a dishonorable discharge from the armed forces even though, at a subsequent trial, it’s found that the targeted ship was not, in fact, a threat. But Hanson, who’s lost his livelihood and his true passion in life, can’t allow the issue to drop. Determined to uncover the truth behind the misguided executive order that sunk his career (as well as an innocent vessel), he teams up with Ashlee Townsend, the ultraliberal head of the Freedom Group, a government watchdog agency dedicated to monitoring political activity and holding those in power accountable for their actions. Her present focus is on U.S. President Diego Silva: “despite promises of lowering carbon emissions and better healthcare and all kinds of things, things that she herself believed deeply in, there was something wrong,” she thinks. Believing Silva was “not all he was set up to be,” Townsend follows her intuition and sets out to discredit him—but then she learns of Hanson’s troubles and decides to dig into the secrets behind them instead.
The author cleverly reveals early on that the president is indeed a conniving, corrupt politician with key government players in his pocket—a man who crushes those people who dare challenge his authority. But there are even more nefarious villains in this tale for the main characters to encounter. Together, Hanson and Townsend investigate the details of the naval incident, including who was actually aboard the civilian ship, and pool their discoveries with the dirt that Hanson’s wife, Kishanna, has managed to dig up on President Silva. (She’s a dogged, hard-nosed Washington Post journalist with a score to settle against unscrupulous government operatives.) But as Hanson gets more and more desperate, a violent twist brings even more mystery, intrigue, and lethal danger into the mix. A military dictatorship attempts to assume control of the country, California secedes from the Union, and imminent war and a looming assassination plot galvanize Hanson and Townsend to spearhead a revolution and save the country from ruin. Michael delivers an ambitious, fast-paced plot and a well-drawn, compelling cast of supporting characters that includes Silva’s doting wife, Min-Seo, whose inside knowledge of her husband’s machinations could prove fatal. Headliners Hanson and Townsend, meanwhile, are intelligent, unstoppable, and wonderfully relatable characters with good hearts and adventurous minds. Readers will recognize many of the novel’s themes and character motivations in today’s real-life political climate. The book’s mysteries are dutifully solved by the heart-stopping conclusion, but readers may hope for potential future installments.
A briskly paced, action-packed suspense novel featuring two heroes who take on the world.