Mike Bond’s Assassins is a political thriller with an attitude. But who would expect less from Bond, an author whose books are never afraid to take on the tough issues of the day while directly pointing fingers at those who pull the strings from the shadows?
This time around, Bond tackles the entire thirty-year history of the bloody war still being waged by radical Islam against the countries of the West. Each of the novel’s seven sections (Afghanistan, Pakistan, Lebanon, Paris, Desert Storm, Baghdad, and ISIS) covers a specific moment in the evolution and growth of the Islamist terrorism threat that is so familiar to the world today. And every step of the way, one man – a member of the “military ops” division of the Home Office – has been doing his best to limit the damage inflicted upon the West.
From the moment in the book’s opening pages when Jack and his men drop into a mountainous region of 1982 Afghanistan in order to offer support and weapons to the Afghani clans fighting the Russian invaders, to the book’s last pages describing the commando’s experience with ISIS terrorism in Paris, Assassins packs one thrilling punch after the other. But equally important in making the novel an especially memorable one, are the numerous supporting characters Jack encounters as he wages his one-man battle against radical Islam. Particularly intriguing are the French woman doctor working in Afghanistan and her Russian soldier lover; Jack’s Afghani blood brother and that man’s corrupt warlord brother; and the female British reporter who is much more than she seems at first glance to be.
Assassins dares to ask the hard questions about who and what provoked the rapid rise in radical Islamist terrorism, and some of the thought provoking answers expressed by the book’s main character and others may surprise some readers – and some others, I suspect, not so much. To what degree was the Saudi government involved in the planning and financing of the 9/11 murders? Did the Bush administration deliberately let Osama bin Laden escape from his Afghanistan hideout as part of the justification process for invading Iraq? Did President Obama’s pre-announcement of the exact day he would abandon Iraq to its fate spur the growth and worldwide success of ISIS?
And finally, we come full circle back to the book’s title, Assassins. Let’s just say that the “assassins” referenced by Bond in the title are not whom you might at first believe them to be.
Bottom Line: Assassins is a first-rate thriller that delivers a painless history lesson – and a whole lot to speculate and argue about over a beer or two with friends.