Top positive review
America's Secret Weapon Against Terror!
Reviewed in the United States on July 24, 2016
In his third offering of the Scot Harvath saga, Brad Thor finally gets around to placing Harvath in his element: counter-terrorism. In the first offering, "The Lions of Lucerne," the former Navy Seal is featured in his role of Secret Service agent. In "Path of the Assassin," he ties up loose ends from book one and transitions away from Secret Service work and into the field he was so obviously made for. Harvath has to be one of the most highly trained individuals in history, and in "State of the Union," he will need every bit to make it out alive and save millions of innocent lives.
The story really starts in the early 1980's when the Cold War was at its peak. Both the Soviets and Americans had placed sleeper agents with suitcase nukes in position to detonate them in major cities. However, mutually assured destruction (MAD) was keeping both countries at bay. Fast forward 20 years to the present (this book was published in 2004) and we meet General Sergei Stavropol. The General has waited patiently for his plan to come together, and with the completion of the Soviet missile defense system, the concept of mutually assured destruction no longer applies. The first thing Stavropol does is try to eliminate the US sleeper agents with their suitcase nukes. Almost all are killed and Gary Lawlor, formerly of the FBI and currently Scot's boss at the Office of International Investigative Assistance (OIIA), the counter-terrorism branch of the government, has gone missing.
Stavropol, operating from a position of dominance, holds the US president hostage. His ultimatum: either the US retreats from the world stage both financially and militarily and the President announces this during his state of the union address, or his sleeper agents will set off the nearly two dozen suitcase nukes spread around the country in strategic cities. Even one of the nukes could kill millions, and leaving the world stage would be devastating for the US economy. Things look bleak for President Jack Rutledge and Stavropol seems to be holding all of the cards, but Rutledge has an ace in the hole - Scot Harvath. With only one week to work miracles, Harvath sets out to do the improbable. With help from some of the CIA operatives from the previous book, as well as beautiful but deadly Soviet agent Alexandra Ivanova, who's loyalty is in question, Harvath must disable the missile defense system and find the suitcase nukes before it's too late.If one reads enough of these books, the outcome is not in question. The interesting thing is to see how Harvath goes about accomplishing his task. With equal part skill and luck, Harvath doesn't have a moment to spare when we finally reach the climax.
This book is full of action and the scenario is definitely plausible. Just like the James Bond books, Scot Harvath has a tendency to get into tight spots, and also an uncanny ability to get out of them. I enjoyed this book more than the previous two, as counter-terrorism is Harvath's niche. I liked his involvement with Meg Cassidy from the last book, but she barely makes an appearance in this one. I guess Scot's career doesn't leave much room for a personal life. Nevertheless, I rate this 5-stars as the action kept the pages turning for me. I am looking forward to book 4 in the series.