The Lions of Lucerne … the title is much too promising

I am a devourer of all things thrilling and mysterious. How much alluring can one get with a title like Lions of Lucerne? Being on the Audible bestseller and having rave reviews: (“Quite possibly the next coming of Robert Ludlum”.—Chicago Tribune) , this book was being compared to the likes of Clancy, here is where my excitement was peaked and also where the trouble started.

A spy thriller, packed with action, the novel is pretty straightforward in its premise. The American President is kidnapped in a highly skillful mission on the ski slopes outside Park City, Utah and  his secret service all put to ice except the Scot Harvath, a 20-something ex- Navy Seal. Scot valiantly saves the President’s daughter but lands as suspect number 1 in a conspiracy that is both internal and transcends to another continent. The novel is fast paced and the reader is constantly bombarded with the threat of imminent danger, yet the danger disappoints. Infact, the sub plots which allow the whole story to come together are so loosely woven (the gay senator and the South African wine connection) that the web is not strong enough to hold. The end wraps up too quickly and too suddenly.

Ironically, the title is misleading too. The reader keeps wondering about the connection till way past the halfway mark. Then, we get to know that it has nothing at all to do with the greater context of the book at all. The kidnappers are shown to be multiple steps ahead of CIA, FBI and Secret Service combined, and there is an alluring quality to the main antagonist, however this is not dealt in with enough detail. Too much is left to chance. We know too little and what we know is repeated again and again. Before we know it, the reader can see that the dialogues and scenes have become cliched and too mechanical. Yet, this being Brad Thor’s first novel, I would have commended him on his work had I simply not detested Scot Harvath.

Meet Scot Harvath_ the punching bag. A very angry punching bag. He’s been hit by an avalanche, has concussions, bruises, broken ribs and bullet holes in his body, yet nothing seems to slow him down. He is like a wine that gets sour as time goes by. He is brave and strong to the point of it being comedic! Imagine a trampoline with Scot Harvath on it. His body is bashed with high speed crushing snow, he bounces back up, he gets knocked around, bounces back up, he get knifed, bounces back up, he gets shot, bounces back up. Thor does little for his character who is a hot headed irrational and static character, near to emotionless except brief insights, nearly slivers of his personality. Scot Harvath is not likeable nor is he relatable. He is far from an Ethan Hunt or Jack Ryan, and he is far from being a real hero and for that he is very much forgettable.

Lions of Lucerne_ could have been so much more.


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