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by Andy McNab
Ballantine, August 2001
416 pages
ISBN: 0345428080

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Crisis Four is probably one of the scariest current affair novels in print today. Andy McNab uses his knowledge in intelligence matters and security for her Majesty’s service. This novel involves a scheme masterminded by Osama bin Laden targeting U.S. President Bill Clinton, Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu, and Palestinian Leader Yassir Arafat. The three world leaders are going to be in Washington for a peace summit but several radical groups do not want this meeting to take place. Sarah Greenwood, liaison to the United Kingdom’s Counter Terrorism Center, alleges that she has information on the possible attack. The problem is that there are few people who can trust her.

What makes this scenario so frightening is that this book was published prior to the September 11 terrorist attacks that devastated many people around the world. Would this book have made a difference had we paid closer attention? Probably not, however it will make people reflect on the freedoms they take for granted.

The story introduces us to Nick Stone, a mushroom for the United Kingdom’s Special Air Service. When he goes on a secret mission for his country, he is always kept in the dark and fed manure. He is aware that is the way it always is, but it does not mean he has to like it. He does his job and he does it well. His next mission is to track down Sarah Greenwood, who has gone missing for a long period of time, and to inform them of her current whereabouts. Details will follow. Stone has mixed feelings about the assignment. Sarah compromised a mission that he participated in Syria and she rebuffed him after he confessed his love for her. It will no be a happy reunion, but it might help him find closure.

When he finds her in North Carolina with several middle-eastern men, he is stunned. His bosses sanction him to perform a T104 on Sarah without hesitation. This means that he is supposed to kill her and leave absolutely no trace of her existence. Nick knows that there is more to the story and he is right. Sarah is aware of a terrorist plot in Washington and is willing to help Nick to stop it. The question is, can he trust her? Who is she working for? Time will be their enemy and they need to act fast if they want to stop a major catastrophe that might cripple the world.

Andy McNab’s knowledge and experience in military and intelligence matters are evident throughout the entire book. The book is filled with lot of action and suspense as well as death and betrayal. Nick is more of an action hero than a regular character. The character development is relatively weak and we do not get to know much about Sarah and Nick. We only see what they want us to know, their true confessions seemed forced. Other than that, it is a good thriller for anyone. No previous knowledge of acronyms required. It is unfortunate the timing of this book, but with this climate one never knows. McNab’s books are for entertainment purposes only but it now gives one an opportunity to think about the world around us. Let us hope that this story continues to remain a work of fiction.

Reviewed by Angel L. Soto, December 2002

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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