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Coup d’ Etat
Dewey Andreas Series, No 2
Ben Coes

St Martins Press
September 30th, 2011 / ISBN 9780312580766
Political Thriller

Reviewed by Elise Cooper

Ben Coes’ latest political thriller, Coup ‘d Etat, is an insightful book about third world nations possessing nuclear weapons. The story line can be taken from today’s headlines. Imagine Pakistan and India, both nuclear countries, squaring off against each other with America in the middle. Unfortunately, this scenario is far too real.

The book begins with main character Dewey Andreas, while living in Australia’s Outback, being confronted by a group of Arab assassins hired by Aswan Fortuna, whose terrorist son was killed by Andreas. He is able to turn the table on the assassins because Jessica Tanzer, the U.S. national security advisor, is able to alert him.

Andreas has no time to reflect because he is asked by the US government to eliminate Pakistan’s leader, a radical cleric named Omar El-Khayab, who is determined to spread Islam throughout the world by any means necessary. Just as World War I was started by small incidents, a series of minor events between India and Pakistan escalate, culminating with Pakistan dropping a nuclear bomb on an Indian city. To avoid World War III, America decides to resolve this conflict by having Andreas lead a commando team to assassinate El-Khaya and to replace him with someone acceptable to America.

An interesting scenario is that Coes changed the rules of engagement by outright killing a country’s leader and replacing him. Coes commented, “There is no area of the world that we should be more worried about. Since Pakistan is 97% Muslim, there is a strong possibility that at some point they will elect a radical Islamist. We spend a lot of time worrying about Iran getting a nuclear weapon; yet, imagine with one election in Pakistan you could have an Islamist in control of approximately 200. The US could be dragged into a war between Pakistan and India. They hate each other and are bitter enemies, making Red Sox and Yankee fans look like best friends.”

Except for the male and female main characters, the players of the book are nations. The characters are symbols representing the ideas and policies of countries. Coes artfully does this, allowing readers to be put into the cockpit of a drone where they are viewing the behind-the-scenes negotiations.

Dewey Andreas, the main character, is a former Army Delta Ranger. He is a patriot who will do anything for his country. Coes was going to make Andreas a Navy Seal but was told by his G-d-father, a former Seal, the characteristics of Dewey were more like a Delta who “can do an operation alone, an individualist that is tough as cement.”

The female lead is Jessica Tanzer. There is a great scene in the novel where she gets both personal and professional revenge. Her character plays many roles in the book, including assisting Dewey in overcoming his robotic attitude. By encouraging him to fight and risk his life for his country as well as allowing him to have romantic feelings with her, Jessica brings him back into society.

In all his books Coes wants to get into the mind of the soldier. A great quote in the book exemplifies this: “Being a soldier means you care about something bigger than yourself. It means you care about your country.” He commented, “They fight for what WE believe in, something that is bigger than themselves. They are the true heroes, putting their lives at risk for the country. It’s the most honorable profession out there. In my mind, they are the best.”

Since he views Israel as a true ally, Coes’ next book, The Last Refuge, which will be released in June, has Dewey attempting to rescue an Israeli comrade who was abducted by Iranian agents. Jessica will also be back, and her relationship with Dewey will move forward.

Coup d’ Etat is a fascinating thriller that delves into the Pakistan-India conflict. The reader will be on the edge of their seat with a fast-paced, griping plot. The theme of the novel has a clear message, which is that America does what is necessary, including changing the rules of engagement. Once again Ben Coes has shown that he can write a riveting book with a very believable plot.

Dewey Andreas Series

Power Down, No 1       [review]
Coup d’ Etat, No 2       [review]


Reviewed 2011
© 2011