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There are times when you read a particular book that your mind gets filled with possibilities. You see the central character become comfortable with his abilities, find their footing, and take a stand against their foes. The drama becomes more gripping, the stakes rise, and the reader’s investment becomes complete. You remember other times you’ve made similar journeys with fictional heroes and you sense that a book series is coming into its own. This was the case with Thorn, the sequel to Red Sword by Norman Wood. It continues the intriguing Red Sword book series as a single Special Agent Tony Davis, slowly unravels a plot to assassinate Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev. The most interesting thing about a book series like these, when the author clearly has full creative freedom to tell his story and allow it to unfold at his own pace, is that the world feels more fully formed and not created by a committee. The world has been built by the first book, the characters are all here, the vision is solely the author’s and it’s time for the story to kick into high gear.

The story revolves around the dangerous inner politics taking place during the final years of the Soviet Union when a group of KGB and military leaders, known as the Red Sword, seek financing to plot and carry out an assassination and coup of Leader Gorbachev. This is largely based on real events as there was eventually a coup in the country during its last year of existence, and the book does an excellent job documenting the political drama taking place within that crumbling empire. The author manages to avoid one of the most common pitfalls of these kinds of books in that Thorn never feels like a sequel or episodic. It is allowed room to breathe, tell its own story, and serve rather as a continuation. This makes it easier for a reader not yet familiar with the story to quickly become engrossed non the less. This book as in its older sibling is aided by the fact that it features dynamic and fully formed characters and the adventure never feels forced or mere filler. It is organic and allows this flashback of cold war mystery to become consuming during key moments. This must have been what it felt like the first time a reader cracked open Thunderball after finishing Casino Royale, or when they first read as Dirk Pitt attempted to raise the Titanic. The sense that you were about to take part on one hell of an adventure and just maybe come out of it the other end with your hero intact.

Reviewed By:

Author Norman Wood
Star Count /5
Format Trade
Page Count 395 pages
Publisher Bookhouse
Publish Date 11-Jan-2022
ISBN 9781952483370 Buy this Book
Issue April 2022
Category Historical Fiction