High risk spy missions, beautiful girls, and vile acts of terrorism lead to a wildly entertaining novel from thriller author Brad Thor. Thor returns with another action packed thrill ride in his latest book, Foreign Agent, the next book in Thor’s award winning Scot Harvath series, and the ex-Navy SEAL turned Secret Service agent returns in this ISIS influenced thriller.
The book begins with a terrorist attack on a lightly defended American base in the Middle East, setting the tone for what is to come in the rest of the book. The book attempts to gain the interest of the reader by throwing him/her right into the action; this approach offers excitement, but if you don’t know the backstory you might be confused.
I myself am new to the Scot Harvath series, so the beginning was a bit complex as I navigated different point-of-view chapters from characters old and new. However, the book smoothens out and becomes quite thrilling and enjoyable as the story progresses.
One of the book’s central themes is the dangers of Islamic terrorism. While the book has a surprising twist about ISIS’s plan(which I won’t spoil here) they are seen by all the characters in the book as wholeheartedly evil.
In one of the books many memorable scenes, an ISIS suicide bomber is sent to blow up part of the White House. She ultimately succeeds in her task because the security on staff is too afraid to shoot her because she is a young Arabic woman — and if she was shot it would cause a PC uproar.
Thor shows the stupidity of the modern PC culture, one that refuses to admit that radical Islamic culture exists, while also being wary to shoot someone even if they have hopped the White House fence while carrying an ISIS flag because of the backlash that will ensure because of gender and ethnicity.
The best non-action sequences to the book are Harvath’s interactions with other main protagonists, both old and new. Thor manages to make these new characters relatable, enough that you feel for them emotionally when the plot places them in harm’s way. The two best new characters in the novel are a Syrian truck driver named Yusuf who assists Harvath in entering ISIS’ stronghold and Anna Strobl, a policewoman from Germany who helps Harvath capture a mob boss who has information about one of the lead terrorists.
Foreign Agent hints at what could come to happen if we continue to ignore the very real threats of some of the terrorist organizations today. As we have seen just recently with the Orlando bombings (something eerily similar to one of the terrorist attacks in the book) the threat of radical Islamic terrorism is real and needs to be defended against.
The fact that Thor can deliver such a strong message while having the book be so entertaining and thrilling make Foreign Agent a must read novel.
Original CBC review by Auberon Crocker