A Book Spy Review: ‘Crusader One’ by Andrews & Wilson

Crusader OneFormer Navy SEAL and Tier One operator John Dempsey, now part of an elite, ultra-secret unit known as Ember, returns for the third book in Brian Andrews and Jeffrey Wilson’s explosive series. 

Early on in this one, John Dempsey once again faces the decision he made to leave his old life, back when he was a Navy SEAL named Jack Kemper, behind. It wasn’t easy by any means, especially considering that he had a wife, Kate, and son, Jacob. Dempsey knew his family, friends, and loved ones all mourned his death and struggled to move on…

The harsh reality is that Jack, who is still secretly alive, had to give up everything he knew and loved to take on the persona of John Dempsey. As Dempsey, a vital member of Ember, a top-secret program that operates without any bureaucratic red tape and answers directly to the Director of National Intelligence, John has the freedom to live completely and totally in the shadows.

That is, after all, where the bad guys–in this case, terrorists–dwell. And while the rest of the world fears evil men, evil men fear Dempsey. 

To round out his Ember team, Dempsey pays a visit to Dan “Doc” Munn, a former frogman whom John was close with in his previous life. There’s no question that Munn’s surgical and trauma experience would be an added asset to Dempsey’s team, along with his battlefield-proven combat skills, but recruiting his old friend–who now spends more time in bars than operating rooms–proves to be a sizable challenge. 

Like everyone, Munn thought his friend had died during Operation Crusader, which ended in a total tragedy, as all of Kemper/Dempsey’s teammates were slaughtered. Shocked to learn he’s still alive and going by the name John, Munn listens to Dempsey explain that Ember has quickly become “the best frontline defense against the universe of threats” trying to bring America to her knees. 

After initially putting up a fight, Munn can’t help but jump at the chance to get revenge on the men who killed his fellow SEALs. He joins Ember, who is hot on the trail of the Iranian terrorist mastermind behind the Operation Crusader attack. 

As the story evolves, Dempsey realizes there’s a lot more at stake than just revenge and retribution. As he embarks on a dangerous globe-trotting mission, John accepts the reality that failure, on his part, could very likely mean pushing multiple countries into a third World War. 

Nobody is doing things like the dynamic writing duo of Andrews and Wilson, who’ve been building and growing multiple plot threads over the previous two novels. The Crusader story comes to a close here, answering questions readers have been asking since Dempsey first burst onto the scene last fall. The authors go out of their way to make sure their readers aren’t short-changed after all the buildup from Tier One and War Shadows (2016), treating diehard fans to a heart-wrenching experience that caps off a stunning story arc in high-powered fashion. 

Buckle up tight, Crusader One is an intense, emotionally-charged military thriller that pops with authenticity and operations know-how. 

Book Details

Author: Brian Andrews and Jeffery Wilson 
Series: Tier One #3
Pages: 414 (Paperback)
ISBN: 1477809058
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Release Date: December 5, 2017 
Book Spy Rating: 7.5/10
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Praised as “one of today’s finest book reviewers” by New York Times bestselling author Gayle Lynds, Ryan Steck has “quickly established himself as the authority on mysteries and thrillers” (Author A.J. Tata). He currently lives in Southwest Michigan with his wife and their six children.

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