Transfer of Power

Transfer of Power kicks off in Iran, where CIA counterterrorist operative Mitch Rapp, 31, posing as an elderly homeless man, leads a team of Navy SEALS on a covert operation to capture a terrorist named Fara Harut.

Fara Harut is one of the leaders of the Islamic terrorist group, Hezbollah, and has ties to a man named Rafique Aziz.

Aziz, the terrorist responsible for planning the attack on Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland that resulted in the death of everyone on board, is the man Rapp really wants. In fact, he’s the reason Rapp chose the career path he’s currently working in.

There were thirty-five students on Pan Am flight 103, classmates of Rapp, all returning from a semester abroad. Among them was Maureen Elliot, Rapp’s high school sweetheart, and the reason he chose a lacrosse scholarship to Syracuse over the University of North Carolina.

The terrorist attack left Rapp with a deep desire for revenge and that, along with his gifted athletic abilities, made him a the perfect candidate for the CIA.

From the moment Maureen died, Rapp’s goal was to hunt Aziz down and kill him. Just six months prior to grabbing Harut, Rapp had closed in on his target, but a brief moment of hesitation allowed Aziz to escape.

Rapp was left with a long scar on his face, curtsey of the Palestinian terrorist, which served as a reminder for just how dangerous he was, and just how badly Rapp wanted to kill him.

After tracking Aziz through North Africa, the Middle East and parts of Europe, the terrorist seemed to vanish. Harut is Rapp’s connection to finding Aziz, but first they have to get him to talk. On a plane back to Washington, after a quick pit-stop in Germany, Dr. Hornig, one of the Central Intelligence Agency’s best interrogators, goes to work on him.

Eventually Harut breaks, and Dr. Hornig tells Rapp that he confessed to knowing of an “assault” that Aziz has planned which is suppose to happen that day.

Short on details Rapp scrambles to let the appropriate people know about the threat. Unfortunately, the terrorist was already executing his plan, and couldn’t be stopped in time.

A disguised Rafique Aziz managed entry into the White House with the intent to kill America’s leader. Just before he was able to murder the president, Secret Service agents burst in the door and narrowly escaped with their Commander-in-Chief. Under attack, and unable to fully assess the situation, the President is taken to his secure, underground bunker.

Meanwhile, a group of terrorists gain access via a secret tunnel into the White House, and join Aziz in taking everyone hostage. While the president is safe for now, along with a few members of his Secret Service detail, a communications jamming device blocks the them from contacting anyone in the outside world, including anyone in his administration.

With the White House in control of the terrorists, and the President unreachable in his bunker, Vice President Baxter begins leading the response efforts. But when questionable decision making worsens the situation, CIA director Thomas Stansfield, and General Flood, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, decide to take matters into their own hands. Or, more specifically, put matters into Rapp’s hands.

A secret plan is hatched. The objective, insert Mitch Rapp and his personal tour guide, Milt Adams, into the White House to do some recon work. Using a small ventilation shaft that runs to the basement, Rapp and Adams are able to slip in undetected.

Once inside, Rapp learns that the President, thought to be safely out of Aziz’s reach, is actually on borrowed time. Aziz, anticipating that the Commander-in-Chief could retreat to his underground safe haven, brought with him a contingency plan in the form of a world class safe cracker.

Unsure how long it will take Aziz’s man to drill into the bunker and manually open the heavy blast door, a military operation is conjured up to take back the White House, with Rapp leading the charge from inside.

This book is a world-class thriller that, in my opinion, is one of the greatest ever written. Transfer of Power catapulted Vince Flynn’s name straight to the top, placing him among the likes of Tom Clancy, Robert Ludlum and Ian Flemming.

Sadly, Hollywood ripped of Vince’s original idea, twice. First the movie Olympus has Fallen came out, and then White House Down, both featuring plots very similar to Flynn’s Transfer of Power. If you’re a fan of either of those movies, you will absolutely love this novel.

While this book introduced Mitch Rapp, it’s actually set in the same universe Flynn established in his first book, Term Limits. Many of the same characters are back in secondary roles, including Kennedy and Stansfield.

One of the things that makes Vince Flynn’s writing so special is his ability to develop strong secondary and supporting characters. Many of the characters you meet in this novel pop back up in later installments of the Rapp franchise. None more significant than Anna Reilly, who appears here as a newly hired White House correspondent for NBC.

Without giving away any major details, this book chronicles the beginning of Rapp and Reilly’s relationship. Anna becomes a major character later on, and it’s interesting to see how the events of Transfer of Power, effect them later on.

While American Assassin goes back in time to tell Rapp’s origin story, Transfer of Power established him as one of the best characters to ever be created, by any author, ever. It’s a must-read for fans of espionage or political thrillers.

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