Friday, January 7, 2011
The Apostle by Brad Thor
Scott Harvath rides again. Though he's retired from the Secret Service after the new administraton has gutted the agency, in favor of inclusiveness, diversity and affirmative action, he still answers the call of country when a doctor, Julia Gallo, is kidnapped in Afghanistan. Stephanie Gallo, Julia's mother, a wealthy supporter of the current president, hires Scott to effect her rescue.
Most of the action takes place in-country, but there is a side plot weaving in and out of the whole book regarding a Secret Service agent who overhears Stephanie Gallo threaten to blackmail President Aden. She can't let it go, and doggedly digs into the past, trying to understand what happened in the accidental death of a campaign aide.
Harvath contacts old friends from his Seal team days in Afghanistan, and they piece together a plan on the fly. First, to abduct a high value Al Qaeda target, Mustafa Khan, from an Afghan prison so they can trade him for Dr. Gallo. When they realize that it would be foolish to give Khan back to the Taliban, they decide to go after the Taliban leaders who hold the doctor, and make a trip into the rugged interior to attempt a rescue, instead. And that's when things really go pear-shaped.
As always, in Thor's books, there's plenty of action and adventure. The story's background also seems to be pretty well researched, with lots of details about Afghan and Pashtun culture and customs. Just good ole military action adventure fiction, with the return of Thor's favorite character. Fun stuff, but not a lot of thought provocation.