Thor displays embarrassing prejudices against Muslims, and gives the book an annoying political slant (especially the female senator from the northeast with initials HRC -- gee, who could that be? -- subtlety certainly isn't his style). He also has some serious limits as a writer -- many of the characters' thoughts and decisions are rendered not through their actions or dialogue (even inner dialogue), but by the reader just being told what a character has done, and thinks, and believes, and why. Even though this is the unabridged version, a lot of these passages read like the "bridge" narration in the shorter versions to fill in the stuff that's been left out. A lot of the dialogue, sadly, also reads like narrative -- long passages that will engender a lot of eye-rolling. Conversely, he lovingly describes every gun with more detail than he describes the characters, and he has an annoying habit of repeating the full names of each firearm, down to the caliber, over and over and over . . . .
Moreover, despite Thor's political biases, a lot of the political narrative ironically reads as if it were taken from a "how to" manual read by someone with no first-hand knowledge of American politics. For instance, no one -- no one -- "runs" for the vice-presidency. At least for the past century or so, the vice-president has always been a personal choice made by the presidential candidate, often from among the runners-up for the presidential nomination. (It's how we ended up with dark horses like Dan Quayle or Sarah Palin.) Yet here we're supposed to believe the V.P. can be "awarded" by the party chair, in an off-election year -- before there's even a nominee!
It's too bad, because the plot has some promise -- the tie-in to Hannibal's cross-Alpine expedition and the ancient toxins-text is kind of an interesting notion. In the hands of a better writer, those elements could have formed part of a worthwhile narrative. But based on this experience, I've read my last Thor novel.
The pace is quick enough, and there is just (just) enough tech and gimmickry to make the story interesting. The character of the protagonist, Harvath, is a little flat, but tolerable. Overall, the story kept me interested. On the flip side, there were some irritants. For one, the author seems to have made a determined effort to write something that can easily be converted into a movie. It read like a sort of James Bond story, where the same person carries out every bit of action in the book. He fights a terrorist, goes mountain climbing, storms castles, the works. For another, at the very core of the story is the terrorist plot to combine a venom with a virus. I was reminded of a comic story in which Superman, in order to look behind him, intensifies his telescopic vision so that he can see all around the earth. Artistic license should have limits. You can combine viral genes with other genes, to modify the properties of the virus, but you cannot combine a venom with a virus to give the virus the additional properties of the venom. The word "ridiculous" isn't strong enough. You may as well inject ink into the womb of a pregnant woman in the hope of having a blue-eyed baby. The female lead, Jilian Alcott, has little do. She accompanies Harvath on every hair-raising event without the need to actually be there. The history sessions are extensive, and I suspect that ancient history is among Brad Thor's special interests. Overall an implausible, loosely woven plot. George Guidall is very good. Will I read Brad Thor again? Maybe, maybe not.
I have no doubt terrorist grougs would love to use some type of biological weapon in the U.S.A, but Rabies combined with Snake venom? Just not believeable. And dragging this woman around with him just didnt make any sense at all. She is a scientist not an agent from any clandestine agency. Mr Thor is going to have to do better than this to keep me as a fan. The only thing I liked about the book was G. Guidal's narration. To me he has a very soothing voice so I used this book to let Mr G. read me to sleep.
I could not wait for this to end. What a ridiculous plot. Terrorists discover a mystery weapon that was being transported across the Alps by Hannibal and his Elephants. Missing for 2000 years they discover this mystery weapon and unleash it on the world. The plot made no sense and Horvath was boring as usual. This was my second Thor book and it will be my last.
Thor uses this book as a forum to call a former first lady a bitch, ball buster, and then have the climax of the book including her being video taped giving someone a BJ. It's a bummer to pay for a book for entertainment and then get some guy's mean spirited political views, even if you suspect they're the same party as yours.