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Reviewed by Grant Leishman for Readers' Favorite
The Draco Judgement by Tom Gauthier is an old-fashioned, shoot-'em-up spy thriller brought up to date with modern technology, systems, and political environment. The Victrix Forum is a non-governmental, privately funded organization that has been formed to provide intelligence and to facilitate fast and required action whenever the United States and its allies require it, especially against terrorist organizations. When Israel’s Mossad uncovers details of a meeting between noted Iranian terrorist leader Qasem Soleimani and representatives of the Chinese and North Korean secret intelligence services, alarm bells ring in Israel and the United States. What ensues is the revelation that China is determined to undermine the United States democracy by war, but this will be a war with unconventional weapons; a war of terrorism both real and cyber. To facilitate their long-term objectives, the Chinese have planned and are implementing Operation Draco, whose principal purpose is to establish cadres of terrorists, from all over the world, inside the United States where they will proceed to wreak havoc and destruction on the institutions and citizens of the US. The Victrix Forum, in association with the many federal agencies designed to counter terrorism, including the CIA, the US Navy, and US Special Forces, are in a race to stop this influx of terrorism, a journey that will take them to Colombia, Venezuela, Cuba, Panama, Mexico, and the U.S. China effectively has declared war on the US, albeit a cold war at this time and it is the Victrix Forum’s job to stop this incursion and to protect the U.S. democracy.
The Draco Judgement is an exciting, action-packed sojourn into the world of spies, special forces, and innovative technology that grips readers from the very first sentence and carries them on a roller-coaster of emotions until the dramatic conclusion. Author Tom Gauthier has tapped into a common thread of fear in this story that will be instantly recognizable to most readers. Although this is primarily an action story, credit must be given to the author for the amount of detailed characterization he has managed to build into his players. Clearly the basis for a series of books revolving around the Victrix Forum, he has given readers a number of fascinating characters to get behind and to become invested in. I particularly enjoyed the characterization of the aging Colombian drug lord who, on the verge of semi-retirement, still recognizes, understands, and is determined to assist in stamping out what he sees as true evil in the world. The irony of that character was certainly not lost on me.
I was deeply impressed with the technical expertise and obvious research of Tom Gauthier who clearly knows his military hardware, command structures, and operational procedures. If you are a fan of spy novels then you will be absolutely enthralled by this story which has many real-life parallels strung throughout the story arcs. Clearly, the author has particularly conservative views of the geopolitical nature of the world and uses this fictional tale to illustrate and highlight the possibilities that could well exist in our world. What is certain and is well drawn out in this novel is that we live in a fragile world politically that certain bad actors would wish to use to their own nation’s advantage. I thoroughly enjoyed this read and look forward to more tales of the exploits of the Victrix Forum. I can highly recommend this book.