The Apostle by Brad Thor

Scott Harvath, #8


A new administration and a new approach to dealing with America's enemies have left covert counterterrorism operative Scot Harvath without a job. But when American doctor Julia Gallo is kidnapped in Afghanistan, the terms of her ransom leave the president with only one course of action.
In a dangerous assignment that the United States government will deny any knowledge of, Scot Harvath must secretly infiltrate Kabul's notorious Policharki Prison and free the man the kidnappers demand as ransom - al-Qaeda mastermind, Mustafa Khan.

But when Harvath arrives, he quickly learns that there is more to the kidnapping than anyone dares to admit. And as the subterfuge is laid bare, Harvath must examine his own career of hunting down and killing terrorists, and ask himself if he has what it takes to help one of the world's worst go free.

Brimming with the kind of ripped-from-the-headlines authenticity Brad Thor's internationally bestselling novels are known for, The Apostle doubles down on the blockbuster success of The Last Patriot and reaffirms Thor's status as the master of the political thriller.

Surprisingly good for a full-fledged action "manly" book since I'm not used to them. A friend gave me boxes of books from her husband's library when he was downsizing, so I now possess a decent supply of "man" books to get into. By man books I mean the action adventure stuff where there is a bad-ass type who is able to be top CIA or top military and is chosen to complete top secret and top notch missions, similar to James Bond type stuff.

Thankfully the main character wasn't as wooden as James Bond - he was likable enough with his insight and personality for the most part. The story is fast moving and Brad Thor uses a simple writing style to keep things smooth. Action scenes are present but it's not a constant battle fest. There's plenty of planning, dialogue and down moments that work to make it an actual story instead of just a long fighting show-off deal. It's not even fully unrealistic compared to other action stories.

The base plot was good - go in and get the girl, free the big bad terrorist for exchange, but the book is sadly weighed down with the subplot of the president's secret and the people who come out of the woodwork for page time while they carry on about uncovering the dirt. I ended up starting to skim those scenes since it was unnecessary. I couldn't care less about the president's secret other than that it was a driving force in the first place that got him to agree to send the special op against national security's benefit.

The story isn't without holes and isn't fully plausible, but that an be excused with its genre. The side story buried the rating a bit since it took over so much later on, but overall it's a decent read if you're warning a thriller such as this. In my case it was bumped up on my reading list because I had to find a book set in Afghanistan which is surprisingly difficult to do if you're not in the mood for a downer drama, human rights nonfiction memoir, or straight-out war piece.

   Book Quotes:

“There aren’t many honest men or women in Washington anymore. Politicians get where they are by the sheer force of their egos, not their convictions. And you know what? It’s our fault as voters. We don’t demand better candidates, so we end up getting what we deserve—on both sides of the aisle.”