A Lila Review: Enemy Within (The Executive Office #3) by Tal Bauer

Standard

Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

The White House, infiltrated.
The president, running for his life.
A traitorous general, intent on burning the world to the ground.

When everything falls apart, who do you trust?

President Jack Spiers fled Washington DC on the heels of a devastating attack on CIA headquarters, masterminded by one of America’s own, former General Porter Madigan. While the world believes Jack was killed in the bombing, he embarks on a wild infiltration mission, smuggling himself into occupied Russia to rescue the love of his life: former Secret Service Agent and First Gentleman Ethan Reichenbach.

Reunited, Jack, Ethan, and deposed Russian president Sergey Puchkov, along with President Elizabeth Wall—the only person left in Washington DC who Jack trusts—must work together. They piece together a desperate plan, hunting Madigan to the ends of the earth and the bitter frigidity of the Arctic, where Madigan’s world-shattering doomsday plan comes together.

Outnumbered, outmaneuvered, and outgunned, Jack, Ethan, Sergey, and the rest of the team struggle to put a stop to Madigan and his army. In the desolate extremes of the Arctic, their resolve, their strength, and even their love is tested, pushed to the absolute limits as choices must be made: choices that pit the fate of the world against the love in their hearts, and the loves of their life.

As the world crumbles around them, Jack and Ethan find themselves waging a war on two fronts—against an enemy they can see, and another, hiding within their ranks.

Who can be trusted when the enemy is within you?

Enemy Within is more than one book. It’s a romance series following three couples. A political thriller, studying the tights between two former enemy countries. A history lesson with a speculative edge. It’s filled with intrigue, angst, hope, policies, friendships, psychological profiles. All, wrapped up to bring a coherent story with a single purpose, entertainment.

I normally read the whole book before I start writing the review, but in this case, it’s not possible. I’m thirty percent into the story and it feels as if I had read several books. We started shortly after the end of Enemy of my Enemy, without losing a step. Within the first pages, the major players are introduced, and the plot arcs set.

The changes between settings are well-documented at the beginning of each chapter and the frequent POV changes extend the complexity of the story, without hindering the connection with the characters. Our feelings, as readers, are drag through the mud of the Siberian wilderness and brought back into redemption. I’m sure this is going to happen many other times before I reach the end.

Yes, I did skim thru some of the prose and descriptions looking for more dialogue and less introspect, but the overall combination of elements worked for this series. With this marking the end of the road, the POV changes and the high amount of settings are easy to follow. And all the fight scenes and high action drama read as a contemporary Hollywood movie–a combination between the Bourne movies and Behind Enemy Lines.

At the moment, I had hit a moment of calm and had to stop by to highlight the balance between the love stories and the political mayhem bringing all the characters together. In any other book, this would be considered the last turn before the end, but is this story, is just one of many of false assurance they would face.

On the second segment, we still see all the action, but the love stories take precedent. We get into the heart of the series and all the ramifications Jack’s & Ethan’s relationship created. There’s a chance to the ghost of an HEA for all involved, but it’s, as expected, just a specter–hopes for closure and a deserved future. It’s going to be a mix of awws and angst.

There’s an intersection point with the ending of Enemy of my Enemy and as I mentioned in that review, not something I liked then, or now. But it was a necessary evil to advanced one of the many plots/romance arcs forward. I just stopped in the middle of it to take a break and let you know what’s happening.

I think I’m changing my mind. This story is more of an espionage tv series. The only difference is the bromance between the main characters is, in this case, a true romance. I feel like I’m reading different chapters of an overall plot. Perhaps that’s the reason I feel the need to write my review as I read. It’s like watching with a friend and chatting before starting the next DVR episode.

After way too many action scenes, I can finally say that some light is coming out. The unmasking of the moles that had carried during all three books was well-done, even when a bit telling. The fights, the overseas, underseas, and everywhere in-between settings added character to the story. A sense of suspense disbelief, enough to engross the reader and making them want to read faster. At points, it was hard to follow who was fighting who and how the movements worked, but all melted together at the resolution.

If you started reading looking for realism, this is not your story, but if you believe in the power of fiction, go ahead, and read. I’m so close I can smell the fuel and the HEA.

But before that, we have to dip into American Politics. If you’re a political junkie, like me, you will enjoy the number of similarities to our date-to-date politics. The book was written ahead of its time, but can be part of any late-night news broadcast.

The last part of the book, with the end result and the future for the couples, are beautiful. We get to see how they grow into their relationships and their hopes for the future. We get multiple happy endings, with a nice closure for all the alternative arcs, but there’s always a chance for more or a spinoff. Not necessary, but enough to bait the readers.

In the end, reading this series is worth all the time it takes. It’s long, but now that all the books are out, it would be a great time to read it in its totality.

The new covers for this series, by Natasha Snow, are interesting, but a bit generic. I do like them better than the original ones, though. Plus, they bring all the books together nicely.

Sale Links: AmazonNook | Smashwords

Book Details: 

ebook, 445 pages
Published: March 28, 2016, by Tal Bauer Publishing

ISBN: 9781310458163
Edition Language: English

Series: The Executive Office
Book #1: Enemies of the State

Book #1.5: Interlude: First Noel

Book #2: Enemy of My Enemy

Book #3: Enemy Within

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s