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Book Review- The Lion by Nelson DeMille

Elise Cooper for BLACKFIVE

Nelson DeMille once again shows why he is America’s prolific political thriller author with his latest book, The Lion, a sequel to his best selling novel, The Lion’s Game.  The reader will have a hard time deciphering fact from fiction since the plots in both books are based on reality blended with believable terrorism scenarios. 

The Lion’s Game tells the story of a Libyan terrorist, Asad Khalil, who seeks revenge for the 1986 Libyan bombings ordered by President Reagan. Khalil enters America on a mission to kill each of the bomber pilots as well as President Reagan.  Fast-forward 18 months (although the sequel was actually written ten years later.) Khalil has come back to America to finish off his enemies.  DeMille commented that when writing a sequel “you have to structure something that moves forward at the same time as looking back. It’s very challenging. Also, when you write about current events you are not quite sure if the events are going to overtake the book.”

The protagonists in the books are John Corey (a special agent of the Anti-Terrorism Task Force) and his partner/wife, FBI agent Kate Mayfield. In the sequel John is just as sarcastic but his comments are more tempered. Kate influences him to THINK the outrageous comments but not to say them out loud anymore.  What makes the book interesting is the culture clash he created between NYPD Corey and FBI Mayfield. DeMille noted that, “I created a clash of cultures between the agencies with two people who are married to each other. They must make real choices, career compromises. They are heroic because they have other considerations and still make the right choices. I wanted to point out the FBI is like the army mentality; they have to follow orders.”

The Lion according to DeMille “is a cautionary tale, a wake-up call. The War on Terror is still going on and I wanted John Corey to have closure. These novels are exploring the issues more than the mainstream media.”  It is obvious throughout the book that he wants Americans to realize that the War on Terror is still on going.  In the book, Corey comments that, “this lack of official involvement in private flights (no paperwork or pilot statements about flight plans) had amazed Khalil the first time he was here three years ago.  Even more amazing, he thought, was that a year and a half after the martyrdom of his fellow Jihadists on September 11th, it was still possible to fly around the country in private aircraft and leave little or no evidence of the journey, or of the passenger on board.”

Both books are riveting, suspenseful, and a fast read.  Make sure you have the time to read them because you won’t want to put them down. Blending a realistic and gripping plot with vivid and believable characters that use sardonic humor DeMille has once again hit a home run.