Maden’s debut novel, Drone, is a very fascinating exploration,
combining the War on Terror and the War on Drugs. Through
captivating characters Maden examines how the techniques used
in fighting terrorists can be used to fight the drug cartels.
Drones and their related technology have given the President
the ability to identify, locate, and surgically strike enemies
of the US, and to actively engage in warfare that poses an
existential threat to peace and stability in the region.
The most interesting character that the readers will wish
was real is President Margaret Myers. She is someone who does
not look at the political polls when making decisions and
her convictions lead her to do what is necessary to protect
Americans. Maden told blackfive.net that he based this character
on Margaret Thatcher and Golda Meir whose married name was
Meyerson. “I made Myers a President that I hope people
will admire. I based her on Thatcher and Meir because they
were tough, visionary, and moralistic leaders. I also wanted
Myers to be an accomplished woman with executive experience
in the technical field. I see these women as practical, efficient,
and economical in their thinking and how to find a solution.”
The male lead is Troy Pearce, the CEO of Pearce Systems, a
private security firm whose expertise is drone technologies.
A former CIA SOG operative in Iraq, Pearce decided to leave
the clandestine field after seeing many of his colleagues
sacrificed for political correctness. Maden described him
as “a Patriot, a premier warrior, and the first libertarian
action hero. He is also fierce, loyal, brave, cynical, angry,
and frustrated. He sees his challenge as wanting to serve
honorably in a noble government that should be willing to
use an Old West type of mentality: brutal and bloody justice.”
As with all military thrillers, technology also becomes a
character. In this novel, there are the spy cameras, robots,
and different types of drones from the mosquito to the RHEX.
Maden wanted to use these because he found them fascinating
with their many capabilities.
The plot has a pair of drug cartel hit men assaulting and
killing a group of American students in El Paso, Texas. As
the violence escalates, President Myers is determined to use
force combined with economic strategies to support the rule
of law. She recruits Pearce to locate and destroy the drug
cartel leaders while she uses economic means to promote Mexican
leaders who want peace and security for their nation. Maden
explained, “President Myers deployed drones to decapitate
Mexican cartel leadership and supported the removal of a corrupt
Mexican presidency. She wanted to promote meaningful, democratic
change rather than ignore the emerging narco-state that was
destroying Mexican society and poisoning America's youth.
I see them as a terrorist threat since the drug war has killed
1000s of America’s young people literally and figuratively.
Remember the Iranians tried to hire a Mexican drug cartel
assassin to kill the Saudi Ambassador here in the US. We need
leaders who are not going to be gutless politicians but are
willing to do the right thing which is always harder and more
complicated than doing nothing.”
Maden transfers this mindset to his characters allowing for
a very riveting and thought provoking plot. Drone has an interesting
mix of current US dangers, geopolitics, and how technology
can be used in modern warfare. The readers will find themselves
wondering how issues can be settled while the book is only
half finished. That is because there are a number of twists
and turns as well as an escalation of actions taken to ensure
Americans’ safety. Drone is a riveting thriller that
is a definite page-turner.