See the Cover Art and Plot Details for David Bruns and J.R. Olsen’s ‘Rules of Engagement’

Last October, we announced that David Bruns and J.R. Olsen, both graduates of the U.S. Naval Academy, had signed a two-book deal with St. Martin’s Press to kick off a new series written in the vein of Tom Clancy and Rick Campbell.

Now, the details and cover art for their first book, Rules of Engagement, have finally been released, and Book Spy readers are getting a first look at both.


Rules of EngagementRafiq Roshed is one of the most wanted men in the world. A terrorist with a virulent grudge against the West, he’s disappeared into North Korea where he quietly launches cyber sneak attacks in service of Kim Jong-un. But now he’s about to unleash his virtual masterpiece—a computer virus that, once inserted into the command systems of a military, not only takes over, but also learns the art of war. First penetrating the Chinese, he has their war machine launch a series of attacks on the U.S. Pacific forces

Don Riley, head of U.S. Cyber Command, discovers that not only have the Chinese lost control of their military, but the same virus has infected the American network. It’s only a matter of time before the U.S. loses control of its own military. His secret weapon in this war is a trio of supremely talented midshipman from the U.S. Naval Academy, who uncover the infiltration, and are working to track down the elusive terrorist.

But time is running out. China and Japan have lost control of their military and the U.S. is in danger of doing the same. The weapons are hot and the result is an ever-larger real-world conflict where casualties continue to mount. The only remaining hope is to find and stop the attack at its source—before time runs out.


David Bruns was an officer in the submarine force before leaving the Navy for corporate life. J. R. Olson spent more than 20 years in the Navy, retiring as a commander. He now teaches college courses in intelligence and counterterrorism. Both currently live in Minnesota.

Just looking at the cover, it’s impossible not to note the blurb from Mark Greaney, who actually wrote a number of books in the Jack Ryan Universe, comparing Bruns and Olson’s new novel to Tom Clancy’s work. For what it’s worth, having read an early copy several months ago, I couldn’t agree more. I’ll save most of my thoughts for my official review, which will go live in the coming months, but their style is very Clancy-esque for a number of reasons. If you enjoy military and techno-thrillers, keep an eye out for this one. 

Rules of Engagement is slated to come out on June 25, 2019, and is currently available for pre-order here or anywhere else books are sold. 

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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