The Wolf Bites
by Ron Gordon
BookVenture Publishing LLC

"'You bloody secretive British bastards, why did you not include your American ally in your plans for God’s sake!'"

From the very first page of this book, you are thrust into the heat of battle and consumed with a hornet’s nest of hidden agendas, divided loyalties, an exploding cast of characters, and non-stop grammatical aberrations. There is a particularly sliced and diced quality to the plot, the principals, and the prose in this novel. The narrative combines both real and manufactured events, the participants are plucked from the news as well as the author’s imagination, and the structure demands intense concentration if you’re committed to keeping up with the continuing twists and turns of this fevered tale.

As each chapter races from one end of the world to the other, we follow secretive terrorist organizations, government agencies intent on countering them, a mind-bending array of incredibly technical surveillance mechanisms, and lethal weaponry both offensive and defensive. Individual characters pop up, vanish for a bit, then return at various dramatic high points. Some of the more interesting folk include: Boris, a badly wounded Russian sniper intent upon returning to his chosen profession; Anje, a German soldier who undergoes reconstructive genital surgery; Greg, an Aussie engineer who builds things in Afghanistan that actually have nothing to do with killing people; Omar, a Somali who may or may not be a terrorist, brigand, or something else entirely; plus an unnamed, left-handed Chechen assassin.

Once you’ve navigated the multiple international subplots, you arrive at the heart of the matter, which is a Russian missile-carrying train that’s been hijacked by terrorists intent on detonating a nuclear device. As you might expect, things get very hairy very quickly. Before you know it, you’ve got the presidents of Russia and the United States having conversations that are reminiscent of what one would find in Eugene Burdick’s novel Fail Safe or Stanley Kubrick’s film Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb. While the former was played for high drama and the latter for black comedy, author Gordon keeps his potential Armageddon moment strictly action-adventure.

Gordon constructs short, crisp chapters that speed the pace and induce a feeling of overall urgency. He displays a virtually encyclopedic knowledge of all things technical, creating an aura of authenticity one often finds in the novels of Tom Clancy. Violence, frequently a key part of any international thriller, is delivered with savage impact. Some of the characters found in this book were actually introduced in Gordon's previous novel, The Kremlin Wolf. Prior knowledge of their escapades is worthwhile but not a prerequisite to understanding their involvement in this tale as the author provides adequate backstory.

The book's dénouement includes a rather labored account of Englishmen who wound up spying for the Russians a number of decades ago. While the sequence provides some historical context that ties into behavior and motivation, it does tend to slacken the pace toward the novel’s end. Be that as it may, if your particular literary tastes run toward high-powered adventure that could literally be plucked from today’s headlines, you just might find a lot to snack on in this tale of the world on the brink of World War III.

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