SPYMASTER: Five Questions with Brad Thor

Brad Thor


Get ready, because the fireworks start one day early this year when one of the thriller genre’s greatest heroes returns to action. Brad Thor’s Spymaster, the 17th book in his #1 New York Times bestselling Scot Harvath series, comes out everywhere tomorrow, Tuesday, July 3, 2018.

Since releasing his first novel (The Lions of Lucerne) in 2002, Brad Thor has dominated every best-sellers list there is on his way to becoming one of the greatest political thriller novelists of his time.

With his place in the genre’s history cemented alongside other greats such as John le Carre, Frederick Forsyth, Tom Clancy, Robert Ludlum, and Vince Flynn, Thor really has nothing left to prove. Neither does his protagonist, Scot Harvath, who has saved the world from a deadly plague, stopped countless terrorist attacks, thwarted an evil attempt to send America back to the Stone Age, single-handedly taken back New York City from the terrorists who successfully isolated Manhattan and cut it off from the rest of the world, and so on and so forth. And yet, year after year, both Thor and Harvath up their game, constantly pushing the limits and taking this series to new heights.

But as good as Brad Thor has been for the last fifteen years. . . you ain’t never seen him, or Harvath, quite like this. 

This time around, Scot faces insurmountable odds at every turn as he’s literally surrounded by conflict on all sides with nowhere to go. Some are personal, like the status of Reed Carlton (his boss and mentor), others have to do with national security. After a decade and a half of carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders, Harvath is starting to wear down — but don’t count him out just yet. Even a tired, aging, beat-up apex predator is still king of the jungle, and Thor treats readers to one heck of a story that shows just how tough Harvath is, both mentally and physically, while also delivering his most shocking ending yet. 

Just ahead of his scheduled book tour, Brad Thor went on the record for our Five Questions segment and I asked him about everything from his writing process to what’s next for Harvath moving forward. Check out his answers below, then click here to order your copy of Spymaster, this summer’s must-read thriller. 


Spymaster-cover-400x657px-400x657TRBS: Spymaster is insane, and I mean that in the best way possible. Seriously, how do you keep finding ways to one-up yourself, even after eighteen bestselling novels, and what is your writing process like? 

Thor: “With each new thriller I write, my job is to set the bar higher.  My readers have come to expect that and I am focused like a laser on giving them what they want.  They are the people I work for and I am all about keeping them happy.

“As far as a writing ‘process,’ I really don’t have one.  I get up, I work out, I watch the news while I make breakfast, then I get into the office, glue myself to my desk and write.  As Jack London once said – you can’t wait for inspiration, you have to go after it with a club!”

TRBS: You’re known for not only being able to read the tea leaves, as your books tend to have a habit of playing out in real-life, but you always nail even the smallest of details. Whether it’s weapons, the inner workings of various government agencies, or just accurately describing how operators like Harvath move and communicate, your attention to detail is obvious. What kind of research did you have to do for this book? 

Thor: “I read… a ton.  Spymaster is not only about international espionage, but it’s about the tectonic geopolitical plates that are grinding against each other just below the news cycle surface.  While all eyes are on Asia, half-a-world away we may be looking at ground zero for one of the most significant historic events in our lifetime.

“As per technical details, I spent a lot of time (as I always do with my novels) talking with Special Operations personnel and intelligence operatives.  I also spoke with multiple diplomats, as I wanted to make sure I captured all of the intriguing political angles this plot presented.”

TRBS: A lot of writers, especially this far into their careers, tend to start losing the magic that made them so successful. You’ve gone the opposite way, getting better each time out, but you also continue to develop Scot Harvath, who is now getting a little older and perhaps wiser after nearly two decades of kicking in doors and shooting bad guys. It seems like ever since Code of Conduct, you’ve shown readers another side of Harvath, on top of putting a number of characters around him, including some Tier One guys who were introduced in last year’s Use of Force. Did you plan for all that growth and development, and how much longer do you think Scot can keep doing what he does? 

Thor: “Part of my job is to keep revealing different parts of who Scot Harvath is and what drives him.  I believe that the deeper the dive, the more fascinating the read. He is going to continue kicking in doors and shooting bad guys in the face for a long, long time.”

TRBS: With the exception of The Athena Project, which is still set in Scot’s universe, all of your books have starred Harvath. Have you ever wanted to write something other than a Harvath thriller, and is there a chance that you might pen another ATHENA book in the future?  

Thor: “I love writing Harvath.  I get to experience his adventures as if I’m a reader – everything unfolds in front of me as I’m writing.  It’s like watching a movie in my mind.

“Per your second question, yes, I’d love to write another ATHENA thriller.  It’s all about balance, though. My number one goal is to take Harvath to new heights every year.  If I can do that, plus still have time to craft an ATHENA at that level, then I’ll absolutely do it.”

TRBS: Lastly, much like Full Black, this book ends on a hell of a cliffhanger. How much time do you take off after finishing one book before starting the other, and, without giving anything away, do you already know where things are headed in your next novel? 

Thor: “I’m already writing the new one and I know exactly where it’s going.  If you liked Spymaster, you’re going to love what’s coming next.”


Praised as “one of today’s finest book reviewers” by New York Times bestselling author Gayle Lynds, Ryan Steck (“The Godfather of the thriller genre” — Ben Coes) 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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