Transfer of Power by Vince Flynn
reviewed by Maria Kruger
Office of Career Services
When asked to contribute to the Summer Reading List, I was very honored. Then the realization that I would have to make a decision on just one book seemed daunting. It was the kiss of death for an avid reader, choosing just one book to share with someone. Similar to the potato chip commercial, you can’t pick just one.
Much of what I read is fiction by authors such as Nora Roberts, James Patterson, John Grisham and, yes, Danielle Steele. I also love biographies. So I agonized over which book to choose. I narrowed it down to three choices. One choice included James Patterson’sSuzanne’s Diary for Nicholas, a complete opposite of what he normally writes. It was touching, hopeful and had me so glued to every page that I stayed up all night to finish reading it. Another choice was the new autobiography by Bob Schieffer titled This Just In: What I Could Not Tell You on TV about his experiences in the world of journalism. Bob Schieffer is currently well-known as the host for Face the Nation on CBS but has a long history as one of America’s most respected newspersons. Instead, I chose to review an author that has embarked on a series of political thrillers that have grabbed my interest primarily because of current world events. Surprisingly, I first read two from the series before the United States had entered the War on Terror.
The author is Vince Flynn. He has written a total of five books, four of them part of a political thriller series, much like Tom Clancy’s work with character Jack Ryan. Instead of the Cold War, Flynn focuses on the Middle East, specifically Iraq, and the connections with the United States, the CIA, and terrorists. The first book of the series is titled Transfer of Power and is a page-turning fictional account of a terrorist takeover of the White House funded by Saddam Hussein. I first read this book in 1999 and was fascinated with the detailed information Flynn created on secret passageways and the technological innovations created to ensure the safety of the U.S. President. He also does an unbelievable job of providing a great amount of technical information without losing the reader. The primary character of Flynn’s stories is a super agent named Mitch Rapp, code named “Iron Man.” Rapp is one of the CIA’s top counterterrorism specialists and the head of a group known to a select few as the Orion Team. The book follows Rapp through the political bureaucracy, power struggles between Congress and the Executive Branch, and the decision-making of covert operations. Much of what Rapp must accomplish means saving the lives of several hostages and the President before terrorists extricate him from his new underground bunker. The mastermind of the White House takeover is Rafique Aziz, a character well known to Rapp. As he faces both the mental and physical challenge of trying to outwit Aziz, Rapp must deal with his own values of human life and making choices about when humanity supercedes his job. The story moves quickly and keeps you guessing as to what will happen next and how it will be resolved.
The remaining three books in the series, while able to be read out of sequence, follow each other by weeks of time with regards to the storylines. Flynn provides enough detail from the previous account to give you a historical and contextual perspective for much of what happens throughout Rapp’s missions. In addition, Flynn has included a romantic element created in Transfer of Power that creates an intriguing inner conflict between Rapp’s desire to serve his country and his desire to leave the dangerous setting of field operations to begin a family.
Following Transfer of Power comes The Third Option, then Separation of Power and the recently released Executive Power. I have read all but the most recent book. Separation of Power is perhaps most relevant considering world events because it focuses on both the plot to derail the confirmation of the first woman to be named Director of the CIA and the need to rid Saddam Hussein of nuclear weapons.
If you love suspenseful books as I do, you will not be disappointed with this series, especially the first one. Flynn has developed strong characters that engage the reader and keep you wanting more. He does a great job of weaving an intricate tale where everything is not always what it seems.