Review: The First Commandment – Brad Thor

Scot Harvath 6

My version: Hardback
Genre: Fiction, USA, terrorism
Atria Books
First published: 2007
ISBN: 9781416543794
Pages: 404

From the cover:
Covert counterterrorism agent Scot Harvath awakens find a sadistic assassin with a personal vendetta unleashes horrors on those closest to him. Ordered by the president to stay out of the investigation, Harvath mounts his own operation to uncover the conspiracy and exact revenge. When he discovers a connection between the attacks and a group of prisoners secretly released from Guantanamo, Harvath must ask himself previously unthinkable questions about the organisations and the nation he has spent his life serving.

For some reason Mr Thor goes through a reasonably extensive recap of what happened in the last book. OK, The First Commandment is the ‘to be continued’ from the one before (Take Down), but I don’t think quite so much is needed, not a new readers start here which is just irritating for us non-new readers. Especially those who started this one pretty much immediately after finishing Take Down. I suppose, knowing Mr Thor, that there are rock-solid marketing reasons for doing so.
There’s also, for some (other unfathomable) reason, a run through of Scott Harvath’s life and career so far. Why? They obviously don’t want to shut out people who buy a Scot Harvath/Brad Thor book mid way through the series, just to see what they’re like, and don’t see the series and decide I better start at the beginning (like me). But to include it in the story, I’m not sure. A few pages at the front maybe, to get any new readers up-to-speed, but inside the story itself says to me he hadn’t got much put together when it came time to get another Scot Harvath on those bookshelves.

All that aside and as short as consequently the actual story is, The First Commandment is a very good book in many ways. It’s got the excitement and tension there – Brad Thor’s books have got better and better, fitting the Thriller jacket more and more each time – then this time, there is a really interesting look at the character’s motivations. As Scot Harvath is meant (?) to be representative of a lot of US Intelligence and whathaveyou employees, and I’m guessing Brad Thor himself wanted to get some ideas out there and have people both pumping their fists in the air shouting “USA, USA!” while also questioning at the same time why they are doing it. Sneaky, that.

He also gives Islam and it’s background, a fair hearing, he has done all the way from the start really. There’s not escaping that the radical Islam side of things is the enemy here, though there is a great understanding of the situation behind the radicalising coming through as well. I learned plenty that I didn’t expect to while reading The First Commandment. Maybe that First Commandment for me should be, don’t think you’ve learned it all.

You can buy The First Commandment from The Book Depository

Photo by Kiwihug on Unsplash

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