Patriot Games meets The Fourth Protocol in this riveting story of modern-day nuclear terrorism.
In 2003, the world watched as coalition forces toppled Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, then searched—unsuccessfully—for the weapons of mass destruction they were certain existed.
None were ever found, but they do exist. On the eve of the invasion, a handful of nuclear weapons was smuggled out of Iraq and hidden in the most unlikely of places—Iran.
Now, as the threat of WMDs fades into a late-night punch line, a shadowy Iranian faction waits for the perfect moment to unleash Saddam Hussein’s nuclear legacy on the West.
Brendan McHugh, a Navy SEAL, meets a mysterious Iranian diplomat on a raid in Iraq. His former girlfriend and FBI linguist discovers a link to Iran among a group of captured jihadis. And pulling it all together is a CIA analyst who can’t forget about Saddam Hussein’s WMDs—even if it costs him his career.
[Note: I received an ARC of this novel from the authors in exchange for an honest review.]
Weapons of Mass Deception, a collaborative effort between two Navy guys, is a top-notch military thriller and one that I hope is only the beginning of a new series.
The book is filled with as much heart as it is technical know-how and first-hand experience from the authors in the realm of naval operations and military intelligence.
There is a lot of depth and many moving pieces to the narrative, which concerns Iraq's fabled weapons of mass destruction. In the story, Saddam's nuclear arms were very much real and smuggled out of Iraq and into Iran just days before the US invasion in 2003. What follows is a sprawling narrative involving a trio of Naval Academy graduates that the writers track across more than a decade as they settle into their various career paths and remain united by the central terrorist operations of a rogue Iranian Quds Force agent.
Co-authors Bruns and Olson bring a lot of knowledge to the table, having operated in the trenches of the US Navy and Commander Olson's twenty-one years as a naval intelligence officer and U.S. Naval Attaché to Finland. There's definitely an "insiders" feel to the level of detail and machinations in both the US Armed Forces and intelligence community, as well as the global operations of a terrorist network hellbent on achieving nuclear Armageddon.
There is also an added layer of heart thanks to the interpersonal relationships between the trio of US Naval Academy graduates and the rocky on-again, off-again love story between Brendan and Liz, the former a SEAL and the latter now working for the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force. As the authors chart the lives of these two, as well as fellow Academy classmate turned CIA analyst Don Riley, over more than a decade of their careers, we really get to know each of them very well. The authors also spend a considerable amount of time developing their terrorists as well, particular Rafiq, which helps prevent the bad guys from being overly-simplistic, one dimensional stock villains. There's a great amount of character development and depth across the board, along with a healthy dose of honor and mission-driven purpose on both sides of the aisle.
Fans of Tom Clancy, Vince Flynn, or Nelson DeMille should feel right at home with this story of lost nukes, Navy SEALS, intelligence agency operatives, and up-to-minute global politics. This is a terrific addition to the line-up of military thrillers and should not be missed. Highly recommended.