The Secret Soldier

Alex Berenson, Putnam, $25.95 (416p) ISBN 978-0-399-15708-0
Those who can't get enough post-9/11 novels about a maverick intelligence operative trying to foil yet another Islamic terrorist group bent on cataclysmic mayhem will welcome Berenson's fifth thriller featuring John Wells (after The Midnight House). No longer with the CIA, Wells flies to France to meet a prospective employer, who turns out to be Saudi Arabia's king, Abdullah bin Abdul-Aziz. The king fears that his brother Saaed, the Saudi defense minister, is plotting against him to insure that Saaed's 48-year-old son, Mansour, succeeds to the throne. Saaed's scheming has extended to supporting the gunmen who just shot up a bar in Bahrain popular with Americans. Unable to trust his own people, the monarch asks Wells to find out who's behind the terrorists, a hazardous mission that action-hero Wells readily accepts. The plot unfolds along predictable lines in a story arc that Tom Clancy readers or viewers of TV's 24 will find old hat. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 01/03/2011
Release date: 02/01/2011
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