State of Terror by Hillary Clinton & Louise Penny

Author: Hillary Clinton & Louise Penny
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Format: Paperback
Genre: Political Thriller

Back Cover Blurb

After a tumultuous period in American politics, a new administration has just been sworn in, and to everyone’s surprise the president chooses a political enemy for the vital position of secretary of state.

There is no love lost between the president of the United States and Ellen Adams, his new secretary of state. But it’s a canny move on the part of the president. With this appointment, he silences one of his harshest critics, since taking the job means Adams must step down as head of her multinational media conglomerate.

As the new president addresses Congress for the first time, with Secretary Adams in attendance, Anahita Dahir, a young foreign service officer (FSO) on the Pakistan desk at the State Department, receives a baffling text from an anonymous source.

Too late, she realizes the message was a hastily coded warning.

What begins as a series of apparent terrorist attacks is revealed to be the beginning of an international chess game involving the volatile and Byzantine politics of Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Iran; the race to develop nuclear weapons in the region; the Russian mob; a burgeoning rogue terrorist organization; and an American government set back on its heels in the international arena.

As the horrifying scale of the threat becomes clear, Secretary Adams and her team realize it has been carefully planned to take advantage of four years of an American government out of touch with international affairs, out of practice with diplomacy, and out of power in the places where it counts the most.

To defeat such an intricate, carefully constructed conspiracy, it will take the skills of a unique team: a passionate young FSO; a dedicated journalist; and a smart, determined, but as yet untested new secretary of state.

What I Thought

State of Terror, a taut, tense, whiplash-inducing thriller, is so up to the minute in world events it seems like the authors, Hillary Clinton and crime fiction author, Louise Penny, had a crystal ball to look into scrying possible scenarios … no, wait … they did. In the form of Ms. Clintons and her years as Secretary of State. Her experience and skill, among other things, provide the backdrop to this immensely addictive thriller.

From the well delineated characters, including the secondary characters who are just as pivotal in the plot, through to the non-stop and relentless pace. We are whisked along by the unfolding events all the while chewing the inside of our cheeks, fretting along with Secretary of State, Ellen Adams, and her closest confident and Counsellor, Betsy Jameson. 

These two women whose bond throughout was a joy and a surprise, never mind the clever wit and snark. I also love that relationships play a large part in events, decision, and actions throughout. Which makes the stakes all the more threatening when they’re seen intimately, up-close and personal with frightening consequences.

Political intrigue, high-stakes espionage, traitors, misdirects, subterfuge, and the ultimate terror of a radical terrorist group laying hands on not one nuclear weapon, but three, set the stage and scope for this well-plotted emotional roller coaster ride of a  thriller. That, in the end, had real bite. 

Grab a large glass of your favourite wine, curl up on the sofa and get ready for Ellen and Betsy to get it done—two truly iconic women!

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