Brad Thor is a patriot. He’s against President Obama. He’s against Hillary Clinton. He’s against Donald Trump. His allegiances are not in doubt; he’s in it for the Constitution, conservatism, and America.
With that said, his latest book, “Foreign Agent,” is much more of a political piece that goes into details about how to truly handle the rise of radical Islamic terrorism, Russia, and the Islamic State than it is a thriller. Don’t get me wrong; this is intended to be a thriller. Unfortunately, it’s not the most thrilling political thriller I’ve ever read.
It’s good. It has enough twists and turns to keep the reader engaged and his grasp of the problems the United States faces with its foes is superb. It’s gripping in the way that it weaves in geopolitics, but the risks to the protagonist, his assets, and the political figures in Washington DC are low. We never get the feeling that this isn’t going to end well for them.
Here’s the problem that any patriotic novelist faces. In the real world, it’s often incompetence that creates situations where the outcome is in doubt. Thor chose to have a skilled operative who is reporting to a competent Director of Central Intelligence who is reporting to a competent President. The world that he created can only lead to a positive outcome because there’s nobody who can truly muck it up. When the American military and covert operations machines are solid from top to bottom, the result is invariably victory.
One might think that this means I wouldn’t recommend the book. On the contrary, I give it my full-blown endorsement. This is an important book to read because it gets the reader thinking about the problems and solutions in ways that can only be delivered through fiction. At this point I’d have to go into spoilers to truly explain why and I don’t believe in spoiling any story, so you’ll have to have faith that this is a thinking-person’s type of fiction. It’s not an edge-of-your-seat read. It’s designed to put your mind in a place where real-world problems can be understood. The fact that it’s all presented within a fictional world of espionage and terrorism brings enough entertainment to keep the pages turning.