The Athena Project, by Brad Thor
Publisher: Atria Books
Release Date: November 23, 2010
Synopsis: "Tucked away in a remote corner of North Carolina’s Fort Bragg, behind rows of razor wire and heavily armed guards, lies the headquarters of the nation’s most elite counter-terrorism unit - the United States Army’s 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment Delta. Here, a brilliant new approach to combating terrorism has just been born. Its codename: The Athena Project.
The novels will follow an elite team of female warriors from their recruitment as top-level athletes, through their training, to their deployment on some of the most exciting and dangerous international assignments the fiction world has ever seen."
Review: Quite the thrilling read. Just the idea itself: of having a special forces/black ops team of female operators doing the same kick-butt stuff that male operators do is awesome. Then coupled with Brad Thor's incredibly improved writing skills, that just made it better.
On that subject, with this book, I also finished reading all of Brad Thor's novels. I had read Path of the Assassin (his second novel) a while ago (somewhere around Christmas), and then I decided to go back to his first, skip PotA, and then read the rest in order. His first was really lacking (Lions of Lucerne). It wasn't bad, not at all, but it wasn't great either. However, that just shows what an amazing author Brad Thor is. If there was an award for "most improved author" it'd be him. I absolutely loved State of the Union (his third novel), as well as all of his following novels (and I enjoyed PotA, too). He is definitely one of my favorite authors.
Anyway, back to The Athena Project. First introduced in the previous novel, Foreign Influence, I was immediately captivated by the idea. I mean, all those thrillers you read are about mostly guys. Having this Delta-born group of females is just a cool new idea, and I think Brad wrote it well.
Starting off with a flashback at the end of World War II, the novel dives you in to an intricate plot with which four women operatives complete their mission in several European locations. Which is another thing I liked about this. For some reason, I just like novels set in Europe, though not to say that ones set in the Middle East or Asia or wherever are bad. I also really liked a twist that was given near the end of the novel.
The one thing that I think could be improved would be the characters themselves. I just didn't feel like I knew them well enough. Maybe that's just because it was four people, rather than the usual one guy (like Scot Harvath or Mitch Rapp, from Vince Flynn). But it wasn't bad enough to distract from the novel, and the characters were still very enjoyable.
Definitely a compelling novel with a gripping plot and characters.
So yeah, I'd definitely recommend The Athena Project as well as any other of Brad Thor's books (just know that if you've only read The Lions of Lucerne, or read that first if you like reading things in order as I do, they will get better, and you should keep reading).