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The Athena Project – Brad Thor

August 3, 2012

Today’s Book: The Athena Project by Brad Thor
Published in 2010 by Pocket Star Books
Borrowed from: Strathmore Library

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Brad Thor has written a number of books, and I hadn’t even heard of him until a couple of weeks ago while perusing the Chapters website. He is said to have written books that Tom Clancy fans will really like. (And I figure I’m a Tom Clancy Fan – have all the books!) This is the second one of Brad Thor’s that I have read, and I’m not sure that I’ll be looking for another one.

Two really interesting basic premises in this book. First, the phrase “The Athena Project” refers to a fictitious Delta Force group made up entirely of women. Delta Force is of course an elite military team tasked with the toughest and most dangerous, and many times secret activities. The theory behind this all-female group is they might be able to get into places that men may not, they may blend in more, they may seem more innocuous, and so on. The second premise of the book is that back in the 1940’s, Hitler had some brilliant scientists working on various projects, and one of them was called the Kammler Device which was purported to be able to teleport objects and people to other places on the planet. Someone seems to have built a new Kammler Device and is planning on using it to teleport EMP bombs to various places in the United States.

So a very intriguing plotline. The book develops exceptionally well, and we are placed in the middle of a couple of seemingly unrelated plotlines. It takes place in the present age, and uses some interesting local things, like the construction of Denver International Airport as types of conspiracy theories.

It’s a spy/military special forces action book that is a real page turner. I raced through the first close to 80% of the book, and just couldn’t put it down. There’s lots of action, car chases, shooting, planning, corrupt people, conspiracy, government agencies working against each other, high tech weaponry, good character development, etc.

However I was disappointed because Thor seems to deviate from his skilled story telling a couple of times into descriptions of “interrogations” which I think actually took a lot away from the story. I enjoyed most of the book immensely, but in a few places he goes into graphic detail describing various interrogation techniques and doesn’t leave much to the imagination. I’m not going to go on, other than to say it has probably turned me off from reading another one of his books for a while. And frankly he could have used techniques like “Four hours later, she exited the room and told so and so to take in lots of ice, and send him to a doctor, she has the information she needed”

The majority of the book is quite fantastic. The technology described is close to real life, and that’s part of what intrigues me about these types of stories – they’re not quite as far in the future as you might think. Conspiracies, cover-ups, solving mysteries, team work – it’s excellent. The inclusion of a couple of “scenes” unfortunately really detracts from the overall book.

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