[Chose this after reading an Audible Editor's review.] Drew Chapman is a TV writer turned author, and this debut book reads like a political/cyber/fi..Show More »nancial thriller that could almost be extrapolated from our current headlines: cyber espionage, high finance and international terrorism, the virtual world colliding with the real world. Chapman refrains from using the esoteric lexicon of computers and finances, writing a book that appeals to those of us that are not computer geeks or financial wizards.
In the author's own words, Ascendant antagonist Garrett Reilly is "me, a bunch of years and many bong hits ago...Deeply patriotic and at the same time prone to spasms of anti-Americanism." Garrett Diego Reilly is a 'half Mexican, half Irish surfer from Long Beach' with a boulder-sized chip on his shoulder against the US military, which he blames for the death of his brother in Iraq. Cocky, irreverent, and fast-living, he drops out of Yale and becomes a successful Wall Street bonds trader. He also is a wiz with numbers and computers-- a beautiful mind that sees patterns and predictions in those numbers. When he notices that hundreds of billions of U.S. Treasury Bonds are being sold off and thousands of properties are being dumped for fractions of their worth, he knows this is big -- he is about to become unimaginably wealthy. When the US nuclear plant control programs are invaded by a virus that he connects to China -- he knows this is bigger than just fortuitous economic panic.
The US government has also seen a pattern, an ominous global gauntlet throw-down, and sends Army Captain Alexis Truffant to recruit the government-hating wunderkind Reilly to head up a secret military project, *Ascendant*. But it takes more than Capt. Truffant's curves and seduction to erase the grudge harbored by Reilly (even when he has half-heartedly signed on, he is still irascible enough to pick a fight with a bar full of marines).
As you'd expect, there is domestic opposition high in the ranks to handing the military forces over to a 26 yr old hot shot with no regard for military status or international protocols, armed insurgents protecting their foreign interests, and a parallel story involving a Chinese woman leading an uprising against government corruption in China...all in stark contrast to Reilly and his computer gaming geeks downing Red Bulls and junk food while they launch their unorthodox counter attack. Chapman ties the whole circus together neatly.
Chapman gives a strong debut, a novel along the lines of - but not yet on the level of - Clancy, Ludlum, or Child. But, I couldn't help compare to another strong espionage thriller debut from Jason Matthews (Red Sparrow), and that had me knocking off some stars. There's a lot of suspending logic and some clichéd characters (right out of a TV plot), a few times the story slackened and my mind wandered, but Chapman has created a charismatic quasi-hero that you can't help but like in spite of himself. Word is that though Chapman has already written half of the sequel to Ascendant, he has sold the rights to 20th Century Fox TV...so, we just may be tuning in to a series about the *new breed* of Joshua/Gecko/Snowden warriors. A basic, fun, entertaining thriller fix I recommend. This is an author that I think will just get better with each book.
After reading Drew Chapman's first book, The Ascendant, I had eagerly awaited the sequel. Well, I could not have been more disappointed. The first fe..Show More »w minutes say it all (not a spoiler, really, since it's the first thing that happens): a prominent figure is murdered and the murderer blurts out that our protagonist made her do it right before taking her own life. FOR SOME BIZARRE REASON, this is deemed enough reason for an FBI agent to risk her career by warning our protagonist to RUN because they're coming to arrest him. And run he does. ARREST HIM??? Seriously? Because a deranged woman blurted out his name?!!! Wouldn't they merely want to QUESTION him?....But, no, our protagonist runs. So crazy, lazy plotting! I figured I'd ignore this stupid start because I had full faith that Mr. Chapman would get the story going ANY MINUTE NOW. But, no, the book continued with the crazy plot full of coincidences and with NONE of the inventiveness that made you ignore the few holes in the plot of The Ascendant. (Here, the holes overwhelm the story.) There is absolutely no character development either. The author assumes you know the characters from the first novel...and adds nothing to them as people in King Fear. In fact, the characters act out of character in many instances. A total fail, as far as I am concerned. IF there is a third novel in this series, I'll make sure to wait and read other people's reviews first. I gave King Fear two starts simply because I finished it (although I probably would not have done so had I not read the author's first book...I kept hoping this one would get better right up to the end).