A Book Spy Review: ‘Nomad’ by James Swallow

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Nomad.jpgIn his latest high-octane thriller, James Swallow introduces readers to Marc Dane, a reluctant new hero who is forced to step up when the world needs him most. 

Working for a fictional MI6 unit that’s essentially the equivalent of America’s CIA Special Activities Division, Marc Dane spends his days behind a computer screen. An analyst by trade, Dane is quickly thrust into the field when his team, codenamed NOMAD, is ambushed while tracking a terrorist cell responsible for carrying out a devastating attack in Barcelona — killing everyone but him. 

Continuing on as the group’s lone survivor, Dane carries Samantha Green’s dying words with him. Green, who was more than just a teammate, used her final breaths to warn Marc that only someone inside of MI6 could have betrayed them. The traitorous revelation shakes Dane to his core, as does losing his entire team, and he vows to carry on with their mission. Rather quickly, Marc discovers that another attack is in the works, one that’s rumored to be on par with 9/11, but before he’s able to key in on the terrorists plotting the mayhem, someone frames him for the deaths of his teammates, setting him up to take the fall and forcing him to go on the run. 

Forced to look outside of the government for help, both because he’s not sure whom he can trust and because his former colleagues are all attempting to hunt him down, Dane turns to a powerful private security group for help outrunning those chasing after him. Among those hot on his heels is Lucy Keyes, originally the first woman to make DELTA, who is now lending her sharp-shooting ability to another private security firm in the States. Though she was initially sent to terminate Dane, Lucy inadvertently walked into a trap for Marc. The two team up long enough to survive the assault, forcing them into an unlikely alliance that eventually leads to the duo uncovering a shocking conspiracy . . . kicking off a chain of events that puts them up against a powerful cabal with murderous intentions. 

To stop one of the biggest terrorist attacks in recent memory, Marc Dane must first sidestep those trying to bring him down and find a way to stay alive long enough to see things through to the end. The clock’s running, and even with help, the analyst turned operator has zero room for error if he has any hopes of saving the day before it’s too late. 

James Swallow brings the tension with this one, dialing up a nail-biting story with enough suspense and high-pressure situations for multiple books. Deftly plotted and full of action, Swallow still finds time to develop his characters, and Marc Dane is one of the more exciting new characters in the genre. Seeing him rise to the occasion is compelling, as it’s made clear numerous times that Dane doesn’t want to be the hero — he simply knows he needs to be because there’s nobody else to get the job done. There’s a message in there that readers can relate to, and plenty of qualities borrowed from other genre superstars like Jack Ryan, Jason Bourne, and even a little James Bond. 

From start to finish, Swallow brings his A-game with Nomad, a rapid-fire thriller that’s not to be missed. 

Book Details

Author: James Swallow
Series: Marc Dane #1
Pages: 464 (Hardcover)
ISBN: 0765395118
Publisher: Forge Books 
Release Date: September 11, 2018
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 (“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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