State of Terror
By Hillary Rodham Clinton
Today I am excited to reveal my review of this close to the bone, absorbingly good, chilling and terrifyingly realistic political thriller that is State Of Terror. Check out the blurb and the rest of my review to find out more about the book and my thoughts. Discover more about what Louise Penny and Hillary Rodham Clinton thought of writing together and a bit more about them, below as well as what I and 4 authors think of the fictional thriller that is – State Of Terror.
I thank Random T Tours for inviting me to review on my blog and Pan MacMillan for gifting me a hardback book.
When an ingenious #1 bestselling novelist, known for her rich themes, riveting plots, and empathetic characters, and one of the world’s most experienced leaders with inside knowledge on the global power players from top to bottom, team up to write a novel, the result is STATE OF TERROR, by Hillary Rodham Clinton and Louise Penny.
STATE OF TERROR is an explosive, never-seen-before thriller. Set in locations around the world, there is edge-of-your-seat suspense, breathtaking action, ride-or-die friendships, unlikely allies, even a blush of romance—plus all the heart and humanity you can expect in a Louise Penny novel. With a behind-the-scenes perspective that only an insider could know, STATE OF TERROR is a unique thriller that has a beating heart, plus plenty of female characters at the fore.
After a tumultuous period in American politics, a new administration has just been sworn in, and to everyone’s surprise the president chooses a political enemy for the vital position of secretary of state.
There is no love lost between the president of the United States and Ellen Adams, his new secretary of state. But it’s a canny move on the part of the president. With this appointment, he silences one of his harshest critics, since taking the job means Adams must step down as head of her multinational media conglomerate.
As the new president addresses Congress for the first time, with Secretary Adams in attendance, Anahita Dahir, a young foreign service officer (FSO) on the Pakistan desk at the State Department, receives a baffling text from an anonymous source.
Too late, she realizes the message was a hastily coded warning.
What begins as a series of apparent terrorist attacks is revealed to be the beginning of an international chess game involving the volatile and Byzantine politics of Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Iran; the race to develop nuclear weapons in the region; the Russian mob; a burgeoning rogue terrorist organization; and an American government set back on its heels in the international arena.
As the horrifying scale of the threat becomes clear, Secretary Adams and her team realize it has been carefully planned to take advantage of four years of an American government out of touch with international affairs, out of practice with diplomacy, and out of influence in the places where it counts the most.
To defeat such an intricate, carefully constructed conspiracy, it will take the skills of a unique team: a passionate young FSO; a dedicated journalist; and a smart, determined, but as yet untested new secretary of state and her best friend and counsellor.
A critically acclaimed author (Louise Penny) and Former First Lady in the US collaborating to write a book has worked even better than imagined. It’s pretty close to the bone at times and there are certain characters you may recognise the traits of with real life people, but it does then have a way of absorbing you, so you then concentrate on the actual characters as just that, fictional people. It’s the sort of book, I can only imagine, may have taken courage to write. It works so well because Louise Penny is critically acclaimed for writing thrillers and Hillary Rodham Clinton, although has the knowledge behind the story told in State Of Terror, she has also written books before. It turns out it seems a formidible collaboration and really hits the mark.
Ellen Adams is Madam Secretary and the fabulous thing is that it is refreshing that here is a high-powered ambitious woman who ends up rushing like so many people do to get ready for work and with moments of doubt. The authors have skillfully written a high-powered woman with some details that everyone the world over will be able to relate to. Then there is the gritty work of trying to build alliances and being strong to do such a job as Secretary of State.
The newly elected President is President Williams and has a dislike of Ellen. He’s also pretty full of himself with narcisstic tendencies, then there is also the Defence Secretary, Tim Beecham, a loyal supporter of the president, but at times sits between that and occasionally being okay in attitude towards the Secretary of State. It shows the quick-fire lines that have to be ready at any given moment to give back to colleagues after their rubukes, in the corridors and rooms of such immense power. There is also Betsy, who is quite the friend within this story. The working relationships may come across as relatable to many, wholly or partly and are also interesting in the way they are weaved into the book and you really get to know the pressures and their personalities.
The book is very gripping and most pages are a tense read, with terrorists and so much life at stake. There is also the question for Ellen to work out who she can trust within the world and within the political sphere, including the administration she works for. The book has smaller details of diplomacy within it, which gives this book something quite unique and something new to perhaps learn, after all, even fiction has a base of fact to it, to bring its believability, which this has lots of, as you think about what happens in the world and see the scenes (albeit fictional ones), playing out on the page. It does somehow feel like fiction and reality rapidly colliding, with readers pulled into different parts of the world where the Secretary of State sees where diplomacy is required and terrorists try to hide and plot their next attack with deadly weaponary. Behind the scenes of the locations always seems to be movement, more evidence found, coded messages to crack.
The book also digs really deep and not just into terrorism as such, but also whatelse threatens the world and its population, some of it far away from America, but some of it within the States and it shows some attitudes that are within them. The only thing is, there is a bit of repetition that goes on, which is a pity, but it keeps certain parts of the story fresh in people’s minds as it is so complex. This doesn’t detract too much for it being a fast-paced, breath-taking read.
It’s a chilling read and one that is so close to the bone, but one that all the way through you hope the White House team behind Ellen, wins through, as the clock ticks down, that makes you want to hold your breath…
I think readers who liked Homeland on TV would enjoy this book.
“When it was suggested my friend Hillary and I write a political thriller together, I could not say yes fast enough,” said Louise Penny. “What an incredible experience, to get inside the State Department. Inside the White House. Inside the mind of the Secretary of State as high stake crises explode. Before we started, we talked about her time as Secretary of State. What was her worst nightmare? STATE OF TERROR is the answer.”
Hillary Clinton added, “Writing a thriller with Louise is a dream come true. I’ve relished every one of her books and their characters as well as her friendship. Now we’re joining our experiences to explore the complex world of high stakes diplomacy and treachery. All is not as it first appears.”
Filled with real-life international figures, unforgettable characters, as well as wonderful cameos that will thrill the most ardent Louise Penny fans, STATE OF TERROR is a unique and utterly compelling international thriller co-written by Hillary Rodham Clinton, the 67th Secretary of State, and Louise Penny, a multiple award-winning #1 New York Times bestselling novelist.
About the authors:
Hillary Rodham Clinton is the first woman in US history to become the presidential nominee of a major political party. She served as the 67th Secretary of State after nearly four decades in public service advocating on behalf of children and families as an attorney, First Lady, and US Senator. She is a wife, mother, grandmother, and No 1 Sunday Times bestselling author of seven previous books, all published by Simon & Schuster.
Louise Penny is an international award winning and bestselling author whose books have hit #1 on the New York Times, USA Today, and Globe and Mail lists. Her Chief Inspector Armand Gamache novels, published by Minotaur Books, an imprint of the St. Martin’s Publishing Group, have been translated into 31 languages. In 2017, she received the Order of Canada for her contributions to Canadian culture. Louise Penny lives in a village south of Montréal.