The Profession

( 21 )

Overview

The ?master storyteller? (Publishers Weekly) and bestselling author of Gates of Fire, The Afghan Campaign, and Killing Rommel returns with a stunning, chillingly plausible near-future thriller about the rise of a privately financed and global military industrial complex.
 
The year is 2032. The third Iran-Iraq war is over; the 11/11 dirty bomb attack on the port of Long Beach, California is receding into memory; Saudi Arabia has recently ...
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Overview

The “master storyteller” (Publishers Weekly) and bestselling author of Gates of Fire, The Afghan Campaign, and Killing Rommel returns with a stunning, chillingly plausible near-future thriller about the rise of a privately financed and global military industrial complex.
 
The year is 2032. The third Iran-Iraq war is over; the 11/11 dirty bomb attack on the port of Long Beach, California is receding into memory; Saudi Arabia has recently quelled a coup; Russians and Turks are clashing in the Caspian Basin; Iranian armored units, supported by the satellite and drone power of their Chinese allies, have emerged from their enclaves in Tehran and are sweeping south attempting to recapture the resource rich territory that had been stolen from them, in their view, by Lukoil, BP, and ExxonMobil and their privately-funded armies. Everywhere military force is for hire.  Oil companies, multi-national corporations and banks employ powerful, cutting-edge mercenary armies to control global chaos and protect their riches.  Even nation states enlist mercenary forces to suppress internal insurrections, hunt terrorists, and do the black bag jobs necessary to maintain the new New World Order.
 
Force Insertion is the world's merc monopoly. Its leader is the disgraced former United States Marine General James Salter, stripped of his command by the president for nuclear saber-rattling with the Chinese and banished to the Far East.  A grandmaster military and political strategist, Salter deftly seizes huge oil and gas fields, ultimately making himself the most powerful man in the world.  Salter's endgame is to take vengeance on those responsible for his exile and then come home...as Commander in Chief. The only man who can stop him is the novel's narrator, Gilbert "Gent" Gentilhomme, Salter's most loyal foot soldier and as close to him as the son Salter lost. As this action-jammed, lightning fast, and brutally realistic novel builds to its heart-stopping climax Gent launches his personally and professionally most desperate mission: to take out his mentor and save the United States from self destruction.
 
Infused by a staggering breadth of research in military tactics and steeped in the timeless themes of the honor and valor of men at war that distinguish all of Pressfield’s fiction, The Profession is that rare novel that informs and challenges the reader almost as much as it entertains.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Set in 2032, Pressfield's entertaining, thought-provoking thriller looks at an America past its apogee of moral power as it continues to face opponents whose barbarism threatens to make civilized conduct impossible. Old soldier James Salter, a Marine general fired because he dared to stand up for the people of a failed African state against the wishes of U.S. diplomats, refuses to fade away. Instead, Salter becomes the field commander of Force Insertion, a mercenary outfit that makes Blackwater look like mall rent-a-cops. Based in the Middle East, Salter wields the world's ninth largest (and perhaps best trained) army and the fifth largest economy. The old power structure maneuvers to neutralize Salter, but the American people—and his own troops—"think it's about time we had an American commander who wasn't afraid to kick the world in the ass." Evoking Roman history, in particular the friction between republic and empire, Pressfield (Gates of Fire) draws uncomfortable conclusions about the United States' current plight. (June)
From the Publisher
"Gripping. . . provocative. . . a thinking person's techno-thriller."-Wall Street Journal

"'The Profession' is a compelling mix of modern weaponry, modern communications, modern politics and the warrior's ancient ethos of honor and loyalty. It moves quickly and with deadly precision ... This is the modern world taken to its logical and frightening extreme." - Los Angeles Times

"Steven Pressfield, in "The Profession", has written a novel of the near future that is as good and in some cases better than anything Tom Clancy ever wrote in his day."
-Mark Whittington, Yahoo!

"Pressfield’s military thriller stands out from the crowd by speculating on what the next generation of warfare will be like and then dropping the reader right into the action. Clancy fans should give this a shot." -Booklist

"When I read a novel, I want to go someplace, with somebody who's been there.  In THE PROFESSION, Pressfield takes us into the heart of combat—and even deeper than heat of the action: he takes us into the soul of the warrior. This is all the more remarkable because the world he leads us into hasn't happened yet—though we see its possibilities, its unfolding reality, all around us. To give us this book, Pressfield went to the places were soldiers and ideologies are colliding, and he sifted the thoughts, motives and skills of the men at the cutting edge of those conflicts. But best of all, for me, is that he seems to have looked into my heart too."
–Randall Wallace, screenwriter of the Academy Award winner Braveheart

“From owner-operated Apache gunships to The New York Google Times, THE PROFESSION is chilling because it rhymes just enough with today to make us wonder whether this future will be, or only might be. Pressfield's trademark lessons in honor and loyalty are here, woven into the classical tradition of the warrior's way. It's a ripping read.”
Nathaniel Fick, author of the NYT bestseller ONE BULLET AWAY, and CEO of the Center for a New American Security

“Pressfield imagines a world in which private military forces have all the power…When the commander of the largest force around decides to take control of the United states, his top commando—Gilbert “Gent” Gentilhomme—opts to wipe out his commander. Pressfield dominates the military thriller genre, and his works are realistic enough that military colleges like West Point assign them." Library Journal

"Pressfield's impressive research shows throughout this novel.... a book that paints an all-too-plausible future in which American outsources its dirtiest jobs."
Kirkus Reviews

From the Hardcover edition.

Library Journal
Pressfield made his name with novels about ancient Greece (Gates of Fire), then wrote about World War II in Killing Rommel. Now he writes of war in the near future. It is 2032, and the United States no longer has a military presence in the Middle East. It is up to large, well-equipped mercenary armies to maintain a fragile peace. A new war between Iran and Iraq explodes, and the world's economies collapse. There is fear that a fundamentalist Islamic regime will take over the region. Disgraced Marine general James Salter commands a large and devoted mercenary army. He has his own agenda as he takes on his enemies and attempts to redeem himself. VERDICT Some might think that the premise of mercenary armies is a little over-the-top, but is it? This military thriller is thought-provoking and unrelentingly grim. It is filled with multiple treacheries and brutal, depraved, and even barbaric actions from some who allege to be our friends. Purchase for demand. [See Prepub Alert, 12/6/10.]—Robert Conroy, Warren, MI
Kirkus Reviews

This military thriller, which begins in 2032, concerns "Gent" Gentilhomme, a mercenary whose honor and bravery are severely tested.

America contracts its overseas combat to Force Insertion, the "military-contracting superfirm" run by James Salter, an ex-General who has the love and loyalty of men like Gent. A conventional military still operates America's aircraft, drones and satellites, but "the dirt belongs to the mercs." At issue—aside from oil—are the mutual respect and growing conflict between Salter and Gent as their diverging values become evident. Is there an "intersection of Necessity and Free Will," as Salter believes? Is there a line a mercenary cannot cross, as Gent believes? Can America's democracy continue to exist without gasoline costing $40 per gallon? These are fundamental questions in this dystopian thriller. Though a mercenary, Gent is a loyal American who wants to do right by his country. Powerful interests take exception to his actions, so he faces towering and mortal odds. Meanwhile, the men are tough and the women, including Gent's journalist wife, are sexy and tough. She has her own agenda, which is to write a story about Force Insertion with or without Gent's help. It's a recipe for marital strain. Pressfield's impressive research shows throughout this novel, whether in describing weapons systems and military transports or in placing the reader inside Dubai's 2,800-foot-tall Burj Khalifa. References to consolidated news firms such as Trump/CNN convey a sense of the not-too-distant future.

A book that paints an all-too-plausible future in which America outsources its dirtiest jobs. Let's hope Pressfield's research tools didn't include a crystal ball.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780594494652
  • Publisher: Crown Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 6/14/2011
  • Pages: 336
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Steven Pressfield is the author of Gates of Fire, The Legend of Bagger Vance, Killing Rommel and The War of Art.  His books are in the curriculum at West Point, Annapolis and the Naval War College, as well as being on the Commandant's Reading List for the Marine Corps. He has an international following for his online series, including 'It's the Tribes, Stupid,' and 'Writing Wednesdays.' He is a graduate of Duke University and lives in Los Angeles.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 21 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 22 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 26, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Another Pressfield winner!

    THE PROFESSION is a well written, fast moving book about the use of mercenaries in warfare. It has all the heroic characters and gripping combat one expects out of Pressfield, and should not be missed by action/thriller fans.

    I admit I was skeptical about reading this. Pressfield's GATES OF FIRE is one of my all time favorite books, and I have read it at least four times. However, TIDES OF WAR was an incredible disappointment, as it was way more political than thrilling. However, THE PROFESSION is an excellent blend of action and political intrigue, and strikes a balance between the two that TIDES OF WAR absolutely missed.

    Gilbert "Gent" Gentilhomme was once a proud US Marine, serving under General Salter, one of the greatest military minds in the US since Patton. Salter runs afoul of the political administration and is court-martialed, and Gent feels like he loves the fight more than any cause, so both of them end up as mercenaries. But this is 2032, and unlike today, mercenaries are now organized into full-blown professional armies, hired by nations, mega-million dollar corporations, and big energy companies all over the world. Soon Salter's tactical savvy changes the balance of power in the middle east, and he has the world by the throat. The US can either welcome him home with open arms, or go into an economic meltdown not seen since the Great Depression. The US prepares to welcome back Salter as its savior and abandon its status as a Republic, and Gent has to choose between a commander he loves and the ideals of the country he once-upon-a-time swore to defend.

    The story has more double-crosses than I can count, but it's intriguing, exciting, and full of non-stop action. Pressfield did a lot of research into weapons and tactics (I'm career military; he knows what he's talking about), and the result is a story that is as believable as it is exciting. And don't bother trying to predict the end; it's from way out in left field.

    Action and techno-thriller fans will truly enjoy this. I'm back on the Pressfield band wagon.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 27, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    It is the year 2032, employing elite military mercenaries is how

    It is the year 2032, employing elite military mercenaries is how the powerful (oil companies, governments, mega corporations and financial institutions) stay in power. The mercenary armies are a well oiled team made for keeping power. The Profession is what happens when just such a mercenary army leader takes the power for himself.

    Marine General James Salter is a military master mind who is discharged from the army after a court martial.

    Gilbert “Gent” Gentilhomme is a proud marine, serving in the US army. Gent decides he loves the “brotherhood” of fighting more than the political machinations, so he joins Salter in his mercenary endeavors. Gent doesn’t know Salter’s end game, take control of power to gain revenge on those responsible for his exile and return home as Commander in Chief. Very quickly Salter’s maneuvers the balance of power in the middle east. The US must either welcome Salter back or welcome economic disaster. The only person that might be able to stop Salter is Gilbert “Gent” Gentilhomme. Gent realizes he must decide between Salter, a man he loves like a father, and US the country he once swore to defend.

    The Profession is action packed, gritty and lots of mind boggling double crosses. This book is filled with lots of twist and turns and power games galore. Pressfield is extremely descriptive and technical with the mechanics of war and equipment which is great for the war techno enthusiasts out there. This being my first military thriller, I found the beginning of this book a little difficult to follow and confusing. The real action and meat of the story started about ½ in for me. That being said, once I got past the technical details, I was hooked into this action packed thrill ride. The plausibility of this story is extremely scary and not farfetched.

    This copy was given to me by Goodreads First Reads and Crown Publishing in exchange for an honest review.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 2, 2012

    good book with a interesting spin..

    very interesting look at the future of modern warfare... fast pace book... lots of interesting aspect in to the inside of a mercenary army.. keeps u thing about if it could work at all. well written and entertaining... also puts u in the mind of a warrior and what they must over come.. the thoughts of right vs wrong.. that every soldier must face in his military career...

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 19, 2013

    Awesome

    I think this was excellent!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 5, 2012

    Danny

    Mw

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 12, 2011

    The Profession

    In the not too distant future, Gent Gentilhomme is a soldier.er, mercenary. He is a former marine who is loyal to his men and his leader, General Salter who is no longer a General, but the leader of Gent's mercenary army. In this future, mercenary armies are the way to deal with international issues and Gent is one of the best.
    General Salter has his own agenda in this game. Gent has always been loyal and is considered almost a son to him. He trusts Gent to see to situations he doesn't believe anyone else can handle. Salter knows his men and weapons and has a keen mind for strategies. His current "situation" is to exact his revenge on the men who exiled him and took his title.
    Gent doesn't understand several things about his beloved General but is-as always-a loyal soldier. But should there be a limit to loyalty? As Gent realizes the depths of Salter's objectives, he will have to answer that question himself.
    Scarily realistic version of how the Nation could go! This book will entertain and scare you with its action and realism.

    Reviewed by Ashley Wintters, author of "Shadows of Suspicion" (Ashley Dawn) published by Suspense Publishing an imprint of Suspense Magazine

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