Act of War (Scot Harvath Series #13)

( 98 )

Overview

#1 New York Times bestselling author Brad Thor delivers his most frightening and pulse-pounding thriller ever!

After a CIA agent mysteriously dies overseas, his top asset surfaces with a startling and terrifying claim. There’s just one problem—no one knows if she can be trusted.

But when six exchange students go missing, two airplane passengers trade places, and one political-asylum seeker is arrested, a ...

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Act of War (Scot Harvath Series #13)

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Overview

#1 New York Times bestselling author Brad Thor delivers his most frightening and pulse-pounding thriller ever!

After a CIA agent mysteriously dies overseas, his top asset surfaces with a startling and terrifying claim. There’s just one problem—no one knows if she can be trusted.

But when six exchange students go missing, two airplane passengers trade places, and one political-asylum seeker is arrested, a deadly chain of events is set in motion.

With the United States facing an imminent and devastating attack, America’s new president must turn to covert counterterrorism operative Scot Harvath to help carry out two of the most dangerous operations in the country’s history.

Code-named "Gold Dust" and "Blackbird," they are shrouded in absolute secrecy as either of them, if discovered, will constitute an act of war.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

There is nothing unlucky about the thirteenth installment of Brad Thor's battle-ready Scott Horvath thriller. With its tales of an intelligence agent execution, mysterious disappearances, and ominous warnings, Act of War means business. An action-packed, adrenaline-driver espionage thriller for Brad Thor's many avid followers.

BookReporter.com
"ACT OF WAR will keep you up at night."
WCBS
“Fun to read.”
Charlie Daniels
“Rockin’ from cover to cover.”
WROK
“One of the best writers you are ever going to read.”
KCBQ
“Brad Thor continues to write like nobody else writes…Ain’t nothing else like it!”
Suspense Magazine
“From Hong Kong to America to China and North Korea, with Navy SEALS and Al Qaeda on board, the reader will never be able to take a breath while enjoying Brad Thor’s wild ride!”
The Day
“It's top-speed beach-read stuff – and the action is riveting.”
WBSM - Phil Paleologos
"The God of Thriller Writers"
Watch! Magazine
“Prepare for an all-nighter!”
Providence Journal
“Thor’s most ambitious, prescient and wondrously realized book yet reads like the best of James Bond sprinkled with just enough of a Vince Flynn’s Mitch Rapp-like edge…a thinking man’s thriller quilted in an action-adventure fabric that’s Thor at his very best.”
USA Today
“For those missing Jack Bauer and his 24 exploits, Harvath provides a page-turning alternative with a no-matter-what determination and ‘Heck yeah, America!’ patriotic machismo.”
BestThrillers.com
“With Act of War, Brad Thor has taken over the throne left vacant by Tom Clancy as the undisputed king of the military thriller.”
Library Journal
02/15/2014
I can tell you that this is the next Scot Harvath thriller from No. 1 New York Times best-selling author Thor, that there will be extensive publicity, and that there will be author appearances in Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Phoenix, San Antonio, and Washington, DC. I just can't tell you anything about the plot.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781442369900
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
  • Publication date: 7/8/2014
  • Series: Scot Harvath Series, #13
  • Format: CD
  • Edition description: Abridged
  • Sales rank: 772,865
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 5.90 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Brad Thor

Armand Schultz appeared on Broadway in The Herbal Bed, A View From The Bridge, and The Secret Rapture. He has performed extensively with The New York Shakespeare Festival and has been seen off-Broadway in the award winning Stuff Happens at The Public Theatre. His films include Vanilla Sky and Malcolm X.

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Read an Excerpt

Act of War


  • HONG KONG

ONE WEEK AGO

The air was thick with humidity. Oppressive. Typical for this time of year. It was monsoon season and stepping outside was like stepping into a steam room. Within half a block the man was sweating. By the intersection, his clothes were sticking to his body. The Glock tucked behind his right hip was slick with perspiration.

Guns, money, and a bunch of high-tech gear. Just like something out of a movie. Except it wasn’t. This was real.

Turning right, he headed into the large open-air market. It looked as if a car bomb packed with neon paint cans had detonated. Everything, even the luminous birds in their impossibly small cages, was aggressively vivid. The smells ran the gamut from ginger and garlic to the putrid “gutter oil” dredged up from restaurant sewers and grease traps by many street cooks.

There were rusted pails of live crabs, buckets of eels, and shallow bowls of water filled with fish. Men and women haggled over oranges and peppers, raw pork and chicken.

Like the first spring snowmelt snaking along a dry, rock-strewn riverbed, Ken Harmon moved through the market. He focused on nothing, but saw everything—every cigarette lit, every newspaper raised, every cell phone dialed. The sounds of the neighborhood poured into his ears as a cacophony and were identified, analyzed, sorted, and stored.

The movements of his body, the functioning of his senses, were all conducted with calm, professional economy. The Central Intelligence Agency hadn’t sent him to Hong Kong to panic. In fact, it had sent him to Hong Kong precisely because he didn’t panic. There was enough of that back in Washington already; and along with it, the repatriated body of David Cahill.

Cahill had been an Agency NOC based in Shanghai. An Ivy League blueblood type, who knew all the right people and went to all the right parties. He saw things in black and white. Gray areas were for professional liars, like diplomats and men who lacked the testicular fortitude to call evil by its name when they saw it. For Cahill, there was a lot of evil in the world, especially in China. That was why he had learned to speak the language and requested his posting there.

As a NOC, or more specifically an agent operating under “nonofficial cover,” he wasn’t afforded the diplomatic immunity enjoyed by other CIA operatives working out of an embassy or consulate. Cahill had been a spy, a true “secret” agent. And he had been very good at his job. He had built a strong human network in China, with assets in the Chinese Communist Party, the People’s Liberation Army, and even the Chinese intelligence services.

Via his contacts, Cahill had been on to something, something with serious national security implications for the United States. Then, one night, while meeting with one of his top assets, he dropped dead of a heart attack right in front of her.

The asset was a DJ out of Shanghai named Mingxia. Her parties were some of the best in China. Celebrities, drugs, beautiful women—they had everything. And it was those parties that had propelled her into the circles of China’s rich and powerful.

She was not without her share of troubles, though, and that had made her ripe for recruitment by Cahill. But when he died, Mingxia dropped off the face of the earth. The CIA couldn’t find her anywhere. They wanted answers and they had turned over every stone looking for her. Then, two weeks later, she had reappeared.

It was via an emergency communications channel Cahill had established for her—a message board in an obscure forum monitored by Langley. But since her disappearance, speculation at the CIA had gone into overdrive. Did the Chinese have her? Had Cahill been burned? Had the woman been involved in his death? Was this a trap?

She allegedly had information about a crippling attack being planned against the United States, but nobody knew if they could trust her. The Agency was desperate for information. And so it had called Ken Harmon.

Harmon wasn’t a polished Ivy Leaguer like Cahill. He was tall, built like a brick shithouse, and he didn’t attend fancy parties. He usually drank alone in the decrepit back-alley bars of some of the worst hellholes in the world. He was a rough man with few attachments and only one purpose. When someone somewhere pushed the panic button, Harmon was what showed up.

He had decided to meet the asset in Hong Kong. It made more sense than Shanghai and was much safer than Beijing, especially for a white guy.

Harmon had chosen the coffee shop. A Starbucks knockoff. It was busy, with the right mix of Chinese and Anglos. People chatted on cell phones and pecked away at keyboards. They had buds in their ears and listened to music or watched videos on their devices. Whatever happened to a cup of coffee and a newspaper? Hell, he thought, whatever happened to newspapers?

There was a front door and a back door, which meant two ways out, three if you counted kicking out the window in the women’s bathroom leading to a narrow ventilation shaft. The men’s bathroom was a death box. There was no escape if you got trapped back there. Harmon didn’t plan on getting trapped.

A net of human surveillance had been thrown over the neighborhood. He’d picked out a couple of them. Men who were too fit and too clean-cut. They were Agency muscle, ex–special operations types. They were excellent with a gun and terrific to have on your team if things went sideways, but they were too visible and Harmon had requested no babysitters. His request, though, had been ignored.

He had also asked that they buy the woman a plane ticket so he could conduct the meeting in a nice, anonymous airline lounge out at Hong Kong International. It was a controlled environment. Much harder to bring weapons in. Easier to spot trouble before it happened. Tradecraft 101. That request had also been ignored.

Langley felt the airport was too controlled and therefore too easy for the Chinese to tilt in their favor. The CIA wanted a public location with multiple evacuation routes. They had cars, safe houses, changes of clothes, medical equipment, fake passports, and even a high-speed boat on standby. They had thought of every contingency and had built plans for each. That was how worried they were.

Stepping inside, Harmon scanned the café. The air-conditioning felt like being hooked up to a bottle of pure, crisp oxygen. He grabbed a paper napkin and starting at the top of his shaved head, wiped all the way down the back of his thick neck. He ordered a Coke in a can, no ice. He had learned the hard way about ice in foreign countries.

Paying in cash, he took his can over to the service station where he gathered up a few items, and then found a table. It was set back from the window, but not so far back that he couldn’t watch the door and what was happening outside on the street.

He carried no electronics. No laptop, no cell phone, no walkie-talkie. He carried no ID. Beside his large-caliber Glock, spare magazines, and a knife, there was nothing on his person that could connect him to anything, anyone, or anywhere. That was how professionals worked.

Removing a small bill from his pocket, he folded it into the shape Mingxia had been told to look for. A heart. He could do swans, too, but everybody did swans. It was the first thing you learned. He normally did hearts when meeting female assets. It was something different. Some of them liked it. Some didn’t. He didn’t care. A heart was just a heart.

When it was finished, he set it atop a white napkin. It was unique, but low-key, nothing that could be noticed from the street. In fact, you might only notice it as you walked by the table on the way to the ladies’ room—and even then, only if you were looking for it.

An hour later, the woman arrived and slowed as she passed the table. It wasn’t much, but it was enough to tell him that she had seen it.

While Mingxia was in the bathroom, Harmon scanned the café and the street outside. He sipped his second Coke and flipped through one of the free tourist magazines that littered every café and fast-food restaurant in Hong Kong.

When Mingxia left the bathroom and passed his table again, she found the heart sitting by itself. The napkin had been removed. All clear. She hadn’t been followed inside. It was safe to sit down. Ordering herself a tea from the counter, she took the table next to his.

She was attractive. Better looking than the photo Cahill had included in her file. He could see why he had recruited her. According to the dossier, she had family somewhere that needed the money. They always did. Harmon didn’t want to know about it. He wasn’t here to date her, just to debrief her, and if necessary, help smuggle her out of China. He was glad she spoke English.

Reaching into her purse, Mingxia removed the glasses Cahill had given her and placed them on the bench between them.

Harmon had been shown how to use them before leaving the United States. He wasn’t a fan, though they were better than the earlier versions Google had developed for the Agency. The Lego-brick-sized projector had been replaced with one about the size of a staple. Even so, the glasses were still too sci-fi for his taste.

It was a better method of sharing information, though, than trading briefcases under the table or being passed an envelope full of reports and surveillance photos. The glasses also had a one-button delete function that scrubbed all the data if it looked like they were about to fall into the wrong hands.

Slipping them on, Harmon turned his attention back to his magazine and pretended to read it.

As the information scrolled across the inside of the lens, his mind began connecting the dots.

“Are you positive about all of this?” he asked.

“Yes,” Mingxia replied.

They would, of course, need more than just her word for it. But if this was true, the United States was in trouble. Big trouble.

“What’s this bit in Chinese that keeps popping up?” he said. “Xuĕ Lóng?”

“It’s the codename for the operation.”

“What does it mean?”

“Xuĕ Lóng is a mythical Chinese creature said to bring darkness, cold, and death.”

“What’s the translation?”

“In English, it would be called a snow dragon.”

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 98 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(63)

4 Star

(17)

3 Star

(6)

2 Star

(3)

1 Star

(9)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 98 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 13, 2014

    I have read all of Brad Thor's books and loved them. In this bo

    I have read all of Brad Thor's books and loved them. In this book, he writes about the possibility of using electromagnetic energy to bring down the US. This is downright scary. Thor always writes about possibilities of events happening and you find yourself asking if this could really happen. Once I started reading, I could not put the book down and finished it in two days. Now, I'll have to wait for the next Scot Harvath novel!

    11 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 10, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Brad Thor is an outstanding writer, whose writing style captivat

    Brad Thor is an outstanding writer, whose writing style captivates and drives the reader in such a way that it makes it really difficult to put one of his books down before finishing it. He is most definitely one of my favorite writers and I make it a point to order his books as they come out.


    11 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 12, 2014

    I Also Recommend:

    Scott Horvath is one of the best characters I have ever read.

    Scott Horvath is one of the best characters I have ever read.

    5 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 15, 2014

    On a continuum with Ludlum at one end and Marvel Comics at the o

    On a continuum with Ludlum at one end and Marvel Comics at the other, Thor falls in about the middle for plot line and writing.

    He uses characters to deliver right wing screeds reminiscent of Ayn Rand only without the fines.

    4 out of 19 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 5, 2014

    My first and last Brad Thor book. A hot mess. Absolutely outra

    My first and last Brad Thor book. A hot mess. Absolutely outrageous terrorist plot which defies logic. Too many subplots and characters to keep track of or make a cohesive narrative.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 4, 2014

    When did it become absolutely fine to promote racial hatred in o

    When did it become absolutely fine to promote racial hatred in our country? And do we American’s not notice this anymore? Am I the only one who hurts when he hears such flagrant promotion of racial hatred and divide? Is my Middle Eastern racial background the reason why I am incensed by what I am hearing the narrator say here in this book, on behalf of the author, and the way Arabs are being portrayed in such a disgustingly hateful image. 

    Mr. Thor, how can I explain to my children the fact that a beautiful highly sophisticated source of education such as literature have fallen into the hands of authors who have such poisonous feelings and ideas in their hearts and minds, yet feel so comfortable sharing it with us, completely unconcerned about even the mere possibility of criticism. How can I talk to them about the values America stands for in light of what they may read in this book defiling such values so nonchalantly, then to add insult to injury it becomes acceptable by their fellow countrymen and women.

    The slander would have been acceptable if the author directed his hateful words towards the characters in his novel identified as terrorists, but this was not the case as he made it clear once and again. It is Islam that is being attacked, not Muslim terrorists. It is the Arabs and their culture that are the subject of scorn not Arab Terrorists. The examples in the book are countless and so obvious I find unnecessary to point them out. 

    If this is not hate speech, what is? 

    I pray for you who may come to read my words to stop and think about them. About the dangerous influence of allowing such rhetoric to go unnoticed and unpunished. Please speak out your opinion, with or against what I am saying here.

    The story could have been a good one and I may have enjoyed the book thoroughly if I was not so appalled by the racially hateful rhetoric.

    Art, and specially literature, is another school one attends in his life to learn. At times it is even more influential and much more enduring type of education. Perhaps the fact that we are enjoying while we are learning through art that makes this fact true. It is however, a great privilege that artists have to be the educators of a nation and the shapers of its culture. It is however, our responsibility as citizens in a free country to weed out the unhealthy and the poor of taste from having unimpeded access to us and especially to our children.

    2 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 15, 2014

    Great book as usual!!!

    Brad Thor never disappoints me with his book writing. Very intense and hard to put down.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 13, 2014

    Another great entry in the Scot Harvath series; each one better

    Another great entry in the Scot Harvath series; each one better than the last. I can't wait for his next book

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 7, 2015

    Entertaining


    A good book that is worth the time it takes to read, but I would get it from the library or Overdrive

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 26, 2015

    Interesting, fast moving, not too realistic. Another decent &qu

    Interesting, fast moving, not too realistic.

    Another decent "airport or airplane" book.  It keeps you reading, even though the outcome is predictable.  But who thinks China would really want to destroy the USA?  After all, who would then buy all the stuff they manufacture?

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 11, 2015

    I LOVE THE WAY THOR THINKS!

    I LOVE THE WAY THOR THINKS!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 18, 2014

    GOOD READ

    NOT AS EXCITING AS OTHER BOOKS BY BRAD THOR. I WAS SOMEWHAT DISAPPOINTED IN THIS BOOK.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 18, 2014

    Awesome

    .

    1 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 2, 2014

    WOW

    Scott just seems to get better with age. Brad Thor does it again. Fantastic book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 21, 2014

    Best

    Awesome

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 20, 2014

    Another excellent read.

    Another excellent read.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 14, 2015

    AAAAAWSAAsSSSSAuzszohywaxassuug,l7wwsSuias

    Lwkauazlwoslafsaaaaa

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 22, 2014

    Enjoy "Act of War"

    Interesting story and very well told.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 19, 2014

    I loved it! Great writer! have enjoyed all I've read. Recommend

    I loved it! Great writer! have enjoyed all I've read. Recommend it!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 19, 2014

    STOP#4@nook

    Stop nook abuse now!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 98 Customer Reviews

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