The Syndicate Spy by Brittany Butler: 3.75***

In her debut novel, The Syndicate Spy, former CIA officer Brittany Butler dives right into a future world of intrigue which features her protagonist Juliet Arroway. Juliet works for The Syndicate which is a conglomerate of allied intelligence agencies which are trying to eradicate energy terrorism. This book is set sometime in the not too distant future, at a time when oil has been depleted and the Middle East is actually leading the world in alternate energy production. But despite that, the leader of an Islamic terrorist group is dedicated to launching terrorist attacks worldwide and it is the job of Juliet and fellow agent Mariam, a progressive Saudi Princess,  to try and find the leader of the group and capture him if possible.

            This is a slam bang thriller from the get go, as the author a former CIA tracker, obviously knows lots of exciting things that can go on in the field and brings that experience to her writing. I found the plot to be realistic if you accept the premise that the world has run out of oil and that only alternate energy sources are available. In that case, it now is an opportunity for an eco-terrorist to try and radically change the world. Not only does the individual in charge of all these terrorist acts want to decimate western civilization, they also want to promote the rise of Islam so it will become the only religion in the world.

            There are bombings galore, but there were also long periods of romantic interludes as Juliet always seems to be distracted either by her boyfriend, a work colleague or just the thoughts of them. Juliet claims that she does not need anyone’s help, but then drifts off into romantic bliss in the middle of an assignment and almost gets killed. If we overlook the romance, the book is a very good first effort and it’s not usual to have a woman write an action adventure thriller of this sort. I think that the author, Brittany Butler, has a bright future and I can see that Juliet Arroway has many more adventures before her as this book ends without a completely conclusive resolution to the problem. But despite its romantic drawbacks, I look forward to more books in this series.

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