of War by
Sean Parnell is an exciting and action-packed thriller. He
is able to draw upon his past experiences as a combat veteran
to create a realistic storyline. It is a warning of sorts
on what could happen if a terrorist is able to get their hands
on a nuclear bomb.
Parnell is a retired Army Infantry officer who served in Afghanistan.
After receiving a medical retirement, he wrote his memoir,
Outlaw Platoon, recounting the battles he and his troops participated
in. Now, Parnell has turned to fiction and has done a very
good job with this first novel. A book quote, “In combat
there is no prize for second place,” and with this debut
it appears he will take on all comers with a gripping plot.
He came up with the idea, “The inspiration came from
my time in the army. We felt like we had our hands tied. For
example, we knew the location of a high value target, but
could not go out and capture him. It took three days to get
approval from someone 3000 miles away in Washington DC. By
that time, he was tipped off and escaped. I thought if only
there was a Special Forces unit that is clandestine, without
bureaucratic red tape that could go after the enemy without
any rules to tie their hands. Thus, The Program was born.”
He also uses military terminology and acronyms. It is obvious
Parnell is able to use his own experiences when it comes to
the military and how Special Forces operators walk, talk,
and handle themselves on and off the battlefield. The battle
scenes are intense and authentic.
Readers are introduced to Eric Steele, a tough as nails combat
veteran who becomes part of a clandestine organization, known
as “The Program” that answers only to the President
of the US. Operators combine their combat experiences with
actionable intelligence to root out and neutralize the enemy.
This allows the commander-in-chief a third option instead
of diplomacy and a lengthy war. Steele’s former mentor,
Nathaniel West, has become his adversary, after going rogue
and stealing a suitcase nuke to get revenge on the United
States. His journey takes him all over the world, from Algiers
to Europe to America. Steele is assisted with thwarting this
deadly threat by Meg Harden, a CIA analyst, his co-worker/buddy,
Demo, and the Vice-President. But he is also thwarted by a
President dying of cancer and a traitor within the national
Parnell noted, “Steele is a selfless American warrior
with of a code of honor. He understands we are still in the
fight against the terrorists. I wanted him to have the ethos
of our nation’s warfighters, lethal but also compassionate.
Those two traits make Eric Steele who he is. Yes, he destroys
America’s enemies with extreme prejudice, but he will
deviate from the mission if he thinks he can save even one
innocent life. He sees America as a shining city on the hill.
A true believer who wants to protect, save, and defend his
“I wrote Nathaniel West, the antagonist, as a former
Alpha who everyone thought was killed in an explosion. He
is taking the fight to America because he felt let down by
his superiors and those in Washington since no one came to
rescue him or his family. West is hell bent on revenge on
those who left him there. He is a guy wronged by his country.
He was betrayed and lost everything while fighting for his
This novel has it all: conspiracies, larger than life characters,
with a good dose of intrigue, deceit, power, and treason.
Anyone who wants a book where patriotism looms large will
enjoy this story.