And Into the Fire, by Robert Gleason ISBN 9780765379160
Four out of five stars
Given their prominence in recent history, it is no surprise that terrorists and terrorist acts are one of the primary plot devices of modern novels. While there are many different ways that a terrorist act can be committed, there are only two that can plausibly lead to mass deaths.
They are the bio-engineered pandemic and the use of a nuclear device. It would seem that both are extremely difficult to carry out. Engineering a deadly virus and then spreading it around the world requires a lab with extremely skilled technicians. Exploding a nuclear device requires a significant supply of fissile material and the engineering materials and knowledge to trigger the bomb.
Gleason uses the nuclear scenario to put forward his version of the apocalyptic terrorist act and it is clear that he has done the requisite due diligence to make the intelligent reader fearful of the possibility. Using plausible circumstances, Gleason puts forward a realistic chain of events where the United States suffers a significant nuclear attack, carried out within the United States and requiring no importation of the nuclear material.
Gleason also is more realistic than other novelists regarding the government of Saudi Arabia. Despite their extremely repressive internal policies and a known supporter of terrorists, there is a strong alliance between the United States and Saudi Arabia. Gleason explains the questionable value of this alliance while acknowledging the reason for it, “crude oil.”
The weakness of the novel is due to the adverse portrayal of high U. S. government officials and how they so easily violate their oaths to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States” as well as to keep the citizenry safe from harm.
Novels based on an apocalyptic scenario are stronger when the event is not only plausible but has a probability of occurring that is not very close to zero. Gleason uses such a situation and explains why the probability is higher than what the non-expert would think.