There are a lot of action thrillers out on the market – therefore it takes a lot for one to stick out from the others. The Lions of Lucerne by Brad Thor came out In 2002 before the huge influx and the resulting series has gone on to be one of the most successful in the genre.
The Lions of Lucerne begins a series featuring one my favourite action heroes in Scot Harvath. In a plot that sees the President of America kidnapped whilst on holiday with his family, we’re introduced to not only one of the most skilled heroes but also one of the more believable and funny heroes in any book in this genre.
Plot – 4/5
When on a skiing holiday, thirty high-level agents are killed and the president is kidnapped, the only survivor from the events, Scot Harvath is brought in to find the president’s kidnappers and hunt them down. It’s a plot that I think was an incredibly brave start to a series. There are two huge stories that you can write about in these sorts of books and that’s either a political leader being kidnapped or some sort of terrorist bombing. For Thor to jump straight in with the political leader kidnapping was brave and I think works well.
Embroiled underneath the hysteria that comes from this are corrupt politics that emerges from the vice president and his colleagues. It’s a story that not only gives you some great action scenes and some close shaves with death but also an interesting look into an alternative American government that includes imperfect people in very powerful jobs looking for power and money. I enjoyed the plot quite a bit but didn’t feel as satisfied by it as I did with The Terminal List.
Characters – 4/5
Straight off the bat, I have to say that Scot Harvath himself is probably the best action hero in any action book I’ve read. If you’ve read others, this isn’t really setting the bar that high but Harvath has a sense of humour that I can appreciate. Too often in these sorts of novels, the author either feels the need to make the main hero seem really “cool” so they’re devoid of any real personality or they’re so focused on writing badass action scenes that they forget to add substance and depth to their characters. Thor does a great job of not forgetting that people with serious and possibly deadly jobs can still crack a joke and see the funny side to some of the dark situations they’re put in.
Other than this though, a lot of the other characters are fairly generic. The villains are quite nasty and some of the characters involved in the questionable choices being made at home in American add a certain depth and believability to the story, but other than this, they’re mostly there to go through the motions.
The Lions of Lucerne summary – 5/5
The Lions of Lucerne is certainly one of the better action thrillers out there. I have a lot of respect for Thor for the debut book being one that involves kidnapping the president (and executing it well) and I have a lot of time. for the amount of personality that Thor managed to eke out of a character whose job throughout is to essentially hunt and kill people.
The supporting characters lacked a little depth but this can be expected from a debut novel where you’re introducing many and you’re concentrating on making the story as engaging as possible. If you’re an action fan, I’d definitely recommend picking up The Lions of Lucerne – or even if you have any interest in American politics as there are some interesting insights to consider.