Simon & Shuster, $25.00, 388 pages, ISBN 978-1-4767-2588-8
Anyone who’s watched television lately knows that the most interesting man in the world is busy selling Mexican beer . . . but have you ever wondered just what the smartest man in the world is up to? Well, wonder no more . . . the MBR has the answer for you . . . he’s the protagonist in a dandy new, just published thriller that redefines the genre!
So, if you’re a fan of Robert Ludlum’s Jason Bourne, love reading Steven Coonts, Brad Thor and Vince Flynn . . . well, you can just fuhgettaboutem! The international thriller has been rewritten and updated for the twenty-first century and the internet cognoscenti by a fresh, hot and compelling debut author named Drew Chapman. His first novel, The Ascendant, is a thriller on steroids, fueled with massive amounts of Red Bull, snack food and quarts of adrenaline. Reading The Ascendant almost feels like you’re reading the headlines from some future news source with absolute clarity. In it, we meet Garrett Reilly, a brilliant, but cynical, disaffected young man who abuses alcohol, pot, and his body, binge drinking and street fighting with any and all comers as he tries to exorcise his main demon: the death of his only brother in a US Marine combat unit fighting in Afghanistan. Garrett Reilly is a mathematical genius who can see patterns emerging from huge amounts of empirical data before anyone else is even aware of them. That’s why he’s making tons of money for himself, and the Wall Street Bond Trading firm he works for, which was started by Reilly’s math professor at Yale, the person who recognized the young man’s brilliance. When Garrett’s talent for memorizing complex numbers allows him to spot the Chinese Government surreptitiously selling trillions of dollars worth of US ten-year treasury bonds, he understands the implications of their actions, then executes a series of trades which make his firm a ton of money . . . and attracts the attention of a shadowy arm of the US Defense Intelligence Agency. They want to use him for a secret project involving National Security. At the same time however, Garrett Reilly’s genius has come to the attention of certain foreign governments with agendas of their own . . . agendas requiring Reilly’s cooperation . . . or his death. Garrett Reilly is the first person in the world to recognize the opening shots of World War III. His life will never be the same! If you’re an aficionado, as I am, of the international thriller genre, YOU. DO. NOT. WANT. TO. MISS. THIS. ONE! It’s a provocative, well-written, fresh and prescient look at a situation we could be dealing with in the future . . . perhaps the very near future.