The Ragnarok Conspiracy Paperback – 15 Nov 2012
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"Fans of the Vince Flynn books will enjoy Stebbins' take on terrorism with a twist."
"Fortify your shelf of Armageddon thrillers with this promising newcomer."
"Stebbins has his finger on the pulse of greed, disillusionment and the search for redemption in this pulse-pounding debut."
-RT Book Reviews, Four Stars (Compelling-Page-turner)
"The Ragnarok Conspiracy is truly an excellent read even for those, such as myself, who do not normally read the thriller genre. It is thought-provoking as much as it is readable. And I highly recommend it."
"Meticulously researched and beautifully written, The Ragnarok Conspiracy turns the traditional terrorist thriller on its head. Erec Stebbins's debut novel signals the arrival of a monster new talent in the thriller genre."
-Allan Leverone, author of The Lonely Mile
"This timely thriller is filled with exciting events from beginning to end, engaging characters, great conflicts, profound thoughts, and lots of suspense. The fury seldom stops, with twists and turns around every corner."
-William Greenleaf, author of Bloodright and The Tartarus Incident
"A sweeping, gripping tale of terror. John Savas is a believable character, and his race to stop the madman is heart stopping."
-Jack King, author of WikiJustice"
About the Author
Erec Stebbins (New York, NY) is associate professor and head of the Laboratory of Structural Microbiology at the Rockefeller University in New York. "The Ragnarok Conspiracy" is his first novel. For more about the book and Erec Stebbins, visit www.ragnarokconspiracy.com and www.erecstebbins.com."
Top Customer Reviews
John Savas himself fuels the momentum as he is the most intense character I've come across in a while. With each chapter more of Savas' background and personality is revealed to the reader. The elements that make up John Savas are revealed at a pace that is almost- but not quite, as fast as the plot.
First impressions are that it is well written, there's good and interesting dialogue between the characters, the geographical location can be hard to pin down at times, mostly due to the fast pace- but I was able to keep better track of the characters as they were introduced and their relationship to Savas. Stebbins has clearly put a lot of time and effort into creating believable backgrounds for his characters.
As the plot thickens and Stebbins introduces Norse mythology into the mix and my interest was certainly piqued- the first mention of Thor and his hammer Mjolnir, and you've got me hooked. As the reader learns more about the Norse legends and their connections to the anti-Islamic attacks you can't help but be sucked into the novel even further.
For sensitive readers, the scenes depicting the brutal and destructive bombings might remind them all too much of the events of 9/11. But in truth this would also only liken them towards Savas and his team. For readers with a love of conspiracy theories this definitely a novel for them, but any reader with an ounce of curiosity would enjoy delving into the chapters of The Ragnarok Conspiracy.Read more ›
When an unknown cell starts targeting Muslims the FBI have an urgent task to find out the perpetrators and bring them to justice. The very strong message that I got from the storyline is no matter what your beliefs are, killing and revenge are not the answer, there is more strength in forgiveness. The novels title says it all, taken from Norse Mythology Ragnarok was the Armageddon of Norse legend a final battle between good and evil to settle the stewardship of the world.
I found this book very hard to put down and from page 1 to the end there was a lot of action, mystery and suspense to keep anyone interested. As already stated above this novel will make you think about your convictions and beliefs whilst portraying the message that there is good and evil on both sides of the coin,people from the different cultures are fighting for peace and harmony and not just looking to dominate the world through terror. The text language and short chapters make it a leisurely read and the only disappointment is when the story finishes.,,..more please!!!
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Stebbins' characters struggle with the losses they have suffered as a result of the actions of individual madmen who happen to be killing in the name of Islam. At the same time, they are confronted with the possibility that they, too, could be considered by the Islamic world to be terrorists acting in the name of Christianity.
It's a high-pitched ride that takes us all over the world, with only a few moments to catch our breath before we're flung over to another part of the world and then back again, always wondering how the final encounter will play out.
There are a few moments when I asked myself why the protagonists' superiors are so reluctant to see what are obvious connections to me the reader, but I was able to write these off as either a portrayal of how the bureautocracy is slow to understand what a handful of smart individuals are able to see or as something that my power to suspend disbelief should just quickly wipe away so that I could enjoy the rest of the story. In these parts of the book I believe that Stebbins is probably venting his frustration with the large and somewhat clumsy organizational structures that tend to make governments so slow to react to problems that are pressing and can't wait for the approval of five or ten higher-ups for action. As the parent of a kindergartener, I can completely sympathize with this point of view given the struggles that we have already had with the public school system in this country!
If you are about to step on a plane or live through a major climate event such as a hurricane (like I did), then I recommend you pick this book up beforehand. It's a quick read and it will be hard for you to put it down.
So the book sat on the coffee table until two nights ago. When I picked it up I wanted to see if I could toss it in the recycle bin easily. Opening it, I came to a page with two quotes on it including this part of one attributed to bin Laden: "In today's wars, there are no morals." Just reading that left me uneasy. This might be a book I could toss after the first paragraph ("oh yes, let it be boring") or I knew I was going to get hooked big time.
Well . . . two days and two very late nights later I am not just hooked on this author's writing and storytelling capabilities but on a story that captured me so fully I might as well be lying on the dock, flopping helplessly in the web of intrigues and nightmares he wove around me, his reader. He does this very well, but what made this book different from a routine thriller was the author's underlying pleas for the realization of what escalation, revenge, and perhaps forgiveness are capable of producing.
John Savas is a bitter, lonely yet complex and thoughtful man, a former NYPD officer who, after the death of his son on 9/11, his subsequent divorce, and his crawl into then back out of a bottle, joined the FBI and was assigned to Intel 1, an experimental anti-terrorism division. When his contact, an Arab ambassador in league with terrorists, is killed by an unusual bullet, one available only to government and the military and fired from a high-powered rifle by a skilled sniper, Savas undertakes, with the help of the division's computer expert, a search for an answer.
That answer seems not to be a who (a common killer or killers) but rather a what (the method, the weapon, and the extraordinary ammunition) in a series of previously unconnected worldwide killings of suspected terrorists or terrorist supporters who hold high positions in the political and business world. The link among them is so tenuous and an idea that the U.S. government has death squads for just this sort of thing is so unacceptable that Savas finds himself ridiculed for even suggesting it as a possibility, though his boss, Kanter, reluctantly agrees to let the group continue its investigation while he is in Washington for a summit.
But when Kanter, still skeptical, is summoned to a secret midnight meeting with several people who comprise some of the highest levels in government, he is told that there does in fact appear to be a group of "essentially rogue CIA hit squads that are not only bringing down Islamic radicals around the world but are also outgunning our best marines in the mountains of Asia" and that his group along with CIA liaisons are being encouraged to pursue it. And he is handed a drive of audio files that had been recorded in Afghanistan over the last several weeks, files that no linguist had yet been able to decipher.
But before Intel 1 can begin work on the files, events explode--literally. A UN office building in New York, housing, among others, the Saudi General Consulate, and the Saudi Arabian embassy in Washington are blown up with deadly expertise and a ferociousness similar to 9/11.
Enter Husaam Jordan, a former Los Angeles street thug, prison convict and Columbia University graduate who converted to Islam, joined the CIA to infiltrate the weapons underground traffic around the world. His disconcerting appearance and, worse to Savas, his commitment to Islam makes his new assignment to Intel 1 distasteful. Yet it is Jordan with his professionalism and knowledge who, through an exceedingly dangerous underground weapons purchase in Sharjah, recovers records relating to the sale and distribution of the unusual explosives material found in the bullets of the killings.
But even as pieces of the deadly puzzle begin to fall into place the killings continue. The Martyrs Monument in Algeria, the Baitual Futuh Mosque in England and two more bombings in Nigeria and Finland are destroyed and along with them thousands of people. As tensions rise, international threats by both Islamic nations and OPEC against the U.S. increase. The race to find the killers and their leader becomes more desperate, and Savas and his partner and now lover, Rebecca Cohen, take a dangerous risk in an impromptu meeting with the man they believe to be the leader behind the killings.
But one more surprise awaits. The ultimate target, the one that will set the world aflame with war and hate begins slowly but builds up, adding layer upon layer of small and large horrors and discoveries. It's a heart-pounding traverse through more killings, stupid mistakes, hidden truths, and desperate moves until it reaches a startling termination that leaves behind a shattering sadness.
Despite the excellence, there are two primary flaws. The first is that the Norse mythology upon which the premise hinges is not explored as well as it could be, making it difficult to see the violent actions taken as much more than revenge. The second and perhaps even more important is that while a few of the characters are well fleshed out others are not; one that should have been much more so falls in the latter group. All we see is the evilness and other than a reference or two to its cause there is nothing that explores the reasons behind it. As a result a major character is missing his humanness, and this makes it hard to understand why he made the choices he did. It also is the most puzzling as the author's underlying theme revolving around the uncertainty between villains and heroes, the differences between the war on terrorism and the terrorism itself, and the attendant moral and ethical questions he raises are natural progressions from the reasons for the choices made in this story. Stebbins misses a genuine opportunity here to pursue, within the bounds of the story, issues he raises that are excellent. (A book club geared to serious discussions would benefit very well from this book.)
Yet . . . maybe there is a reason, beyond the pace of the book that the author did not do this. Leaving the questions vague, almost imperceptible, allows readers to pursue them in their own minds should they be so disposed. (And they should be.) Reading all-too-real scenarios in the form of thrillers can be mere entertainment. But they can also be much more in the hands of someone who has obviously done meticulous research, written a compelling story, and thought a great deal about the larger underlying issues.
The Ragnarök Conspiracy is truly an excellent read even for those, such as myself, who do not normally read the thriller genre. It is thought-provoking--where is the actual line between security and liberty?--as much as it is readable. And I recommend it. If I could I would have given it 4.5 stars, excellent with a couple of flaws.
An unknown cabal using runes of Norse code to communicate is assassinating and bombing Muslims around the world. John has an affinity with the unknown anti-Muslim killers who take the war on terrorism back to the source. Still he tries to do his job right as he keeps reminding himself terrorism is terrorism. When Muslim-American agent Husaam Jordan joins the unit, Savas and others resent him initially until he proves himself worthy of their respect and support.
This is an entertaining thriller in which the protagonist must overcome his prejudice to not just work with a Muslim-American, but to end the assaults on innocent Muslims. The fast-paced storyline strongly pushes tolerance though he recognizes how difficult that can be to someone who lost a loved one due to intolerance. Although some of the key life changing events lack depth to persuade readers of their authenticity, fans will enjoy this unique global war on terrorism thriller as we get inside the head of an emotionally hurting counter agent.