Lord Alex Hawke has it all. He’s rich, British (which women always seem to love) and one of the top agents in the MI6. He even has a fireman’s pole leading from his bedroom straight down into the ocean, which is something I’m personally jealous of!
Patriot was my very first Alex Hawke adventure and a book I was really excited about. I’m happy to report that it surpassed every expectation I had going into it, and then some. I was completely blown away. Of all the great new books this year, this is one of the best. It’s right up there my other favorites: The Survivor, Code of Conduct and Clear by Fire.
To start with, I just cannot get enough of Ted Bell, the wonderful author who has penned nine Hawke novels and a plethora of other books during his brilliant career. In Hawke, Bell has created a character that reads like equal parts James Bond and Dirk Pit mixed – or shaken, not stirred– together.
I was afraid that I might not get a good feel for the characters and their chemistry without reading the other books in the series first. Surprisingly, that wasn’t the case at all. Bell does a good job recapping things in a fresh manner, getting new readers like myself up to speed right away.
The book opens with random people dying on opposite ends of the globe from what appears to be natural causes. Hawke quickly learns two things: First, the victims aren’t random; they both have ties to the CIA. Second, their deaths weren’t from natural causes. They were murdered, and Alex quickly zeroed in on suspect number one – Spider Payne.
Spider is also a former operative of the CIA, and he has a serious axe to grind with members of the agency whom he believes hung him out to dry when he needed them most. But more on him in a minute…
Bell might very well be the most talented author in the genre today. Some writers make a living because of their ability to craft action scenes, while others specialize in accurately describing locations and settings. Bell is well rounded and able to do both at an expert level – while also developing his characters and plot at blazing speeds. You’ll be turning pages faster than Hawke drives his luxury sports cars!
Back to Spider who, like I said, has a real bone to pick with some people that work for the world’s most notorious spy agency. Hawke develops a plan to lure him out of hiding, though it’s less of a plan and more making himself bait for the killer to come after. Either way, I found the following chapters riveting and some of the book’s best.
As it turns out, Hawke has much bigger problems than Spider. An old friend named Vladimir Putin (yes, that Putin) tells him about a new type of explosive that Russia has developed. Without giving away too much, Russia’s new weapon has the ability to cause incomprehensible devastation and destruction. While the entire planet is terrified of the Russian President, Hawke goes toe-to-toe with him.
Alex Hawke is a fascinating character, and Bell has added some very compelling secondary characters to go along with him. One of my favorites is Crystal, a smokin’ hot chick who is as dangerous as she is beautiful. For longtime fans of the series, I’m sure you’ll recognize more than a few names and faces along the way.
Why I loved this book
Ted Bell paints such a beautiful picture with his words that I almost felt as though I was traveling the world with Lord Hawke. For instance, several scenes take place on board a sailboat in Maine. I’ve never been sailing a day in my life, but after reading those chapters the location struck me as so beautiful that I told my wife we should plan a vacation there. I want to breathe the crisp air Mr. Bell described, and experience the beautiful colors in person.
I really cannot adequately describe just how impressed I am with Bell’s talent. Reading his books is like watching Michael Jordan play basketball in his prime. I’ve always enjoyed watching people who are the best in the world at their profession, and Bell is without question one of the most talented writers on the planet.
Hawke, a British intelligence officer and former Royal Navy combat pilot, is a deliciously wonderful character. He’s one of the richest men in all of England, and he’s handsome, witty and pretty much everything else men want to be – and that women wish their men were. However, Hawke is also flawed, beyond just his penchant for Bermudian rum and American cigarettes. For all his larger than life tendencies, he still has a human element to him that I really enjoyed.
With most books, I can predict the ending well before the final chapters, but not with this one. Patriot had me guessing until the very end. In a day when most authors seem to just recycle the same ideas over and over again, Bell delivered a fresh plot that will stun readers and keep them awake, happily reading until the thrilling conclusion.
About the Author
Ted Bell’s resume is stuffed full of numerous accomplishments and accolades. Here’s a portion from his official website:
Ted Bell, now a bestselling novelist, was one of the leading talents in advertising, having won every award the industry offers, including numerous Clios and Cannes Gold Lions, and, as Worldwide Creative Director of Y&R, the Grand Prix at the prestigious Cannes Festival. A native Floridian, Bell graduated from Randolph-Macon College in Virginia and is a former member of the college’s Board of Trustees. Bell began his advertising career at Doyle Dane Bernbach, New York, as a junior copywriter in the early seventies.
Bell holds an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree from Kendall College in Michigan. Ted is an Adjunct Professor of English Literature at Florida Southern College in Lakeland, Florida. He is a former Trustee of Randolph-Macon College. He is also a member of DOCA, a program run by the Department of Defense in support of America’s military. He served on the Board at General Washington’s Home at Mt. Vernon, a group chaired by former Secretary of the Army, Togo West. He also served for a time as an advisor to the Undersecretary for Domestic Relations at the U.S. Department of State
In 2011, he was elected a Writer In Residence and Visiting Scholar at Cambridge University (UK). He studied at the Political and International Relations Department of the University.
Release Date: September 15, 2015
Series: Alex Hawke Novels (Book 9)
Hardcover: 544 pages
Publisher: William Morrow (September 15, 2015)
I want to thank Ted Bell for sending me an early copy of Patriot to review, I can’t recommend it enough to fans of thrillers. You can get it wherever books are sold on Tuesday, or pre-order it here.
Because I always love to end things on a quote, I took this from Mr. Bell’s Goodreads page. When asked where he got the idea for Patriot, Bell responded: “Putin’s bad behavior. I dealt with him in TSAR and cut him a lot of slack. Now, I took my slack back.”
Trust me, he did indeed take that slack back!