The First Commandment
Atria, August 2007, $25.95
President Jack Rutledge authorizes a deal with terrorists. Although the American government leaders always insist they will never negotiate with terrorists even for the release of hostages, he secretly releases five hardcore known terrorists locked away at Guantomino as part of a deal to protect at risk children. In fairness his advisors told them they can keep this quintet under control with monitoring of the isotope they put in the blood of these killers.
The President’s advisors missed another slammed dunk when they lose sight of the fearsome five. Just under six months later, an assassin shoots Homeland Security agent Scot Harvath’s girlfriend Tracy Hastings (see TAKEDOWN), leaving her comatose and he furious as isotopic blood is found at the crime scene. Soon afterward, his mother is attacked by locusts and some friends of Harvath murdered. He knows someone is coming for him, through his loved ones. Harvath begins to make inquiries, but is told to stay out of it. Even before these incidents he knew the leadership saw him as an expendable renegade so he ignores the order to take no action against the person methodically destroying his loved ones.
TAKEDOWN is an exciting action-packed frightening thriller; THE FIRST COMMANDMENT is as exhilarating and action-packed, but even more frightening as the plausibility of the plot will not be questioned. Harvath is at his anguished best in this often violent tale as he is ordered to do nothing although his counter terrorist instincts are screaming to go on the offense. The return of several characters from previous books enhances the feel of the long term concept of the war against terrorism as Brad Thor raises the adrenalin with this terrific thriller.