Title:                  Black Ops

Author:                W. E. B. Griffin

Griffin, W. E. B. (2008). Black Ops (A Presidential Agent Novel). New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons.

LCCN:    2008042220

PS3557.R489137 B55 2008


Date Updated:  March 10, 2015

This is the last of the Presidential Agent series which began with the story of the hijacked airliner. It starts slowly and I think Griffin may not have written the first few chapters. About a quarter of the way in, when I was getting impatient with all the exposition of back story and the rather wooden character development, the pace picks up and it seems Griffin is back. I suspect his son may have done the early chapters.

If you are familiar with the other books of the series, skim those early chapters. The writing picks up and the plot gets going when Russian SVR agents contact Castillo and tell him he is set up for assassination. From that point on, we are back with the WEB Griffin skills in plot and character development that have kept us reading his novels for 25 years.

The plot pulls together all the seemingly unconnected threads of the other stories and explains the various characters and their relationships. Griffin is teaching us more Russian history, including the current Russian leadership about which he has strong opinions. I don’t know how accurate his information is. For example, he has an alternative theory about Ivan the Terrible. However, he has been right before. He has sources of information that don’t write books.

Anyway, after a slow start, the novel gets underway and is a great example of Griffin’s story telling.

The ending, which others have complained about, actually opens a new chapter and may promise more books with Charley Castillo and his band of warriors. Actually I had wondered how Griffin was going to handle the changes in Washington. The president in the series is obviously Bush, and the other cabinet officers are recognizable. That has to change, so a presidential agent may now become the agent of the shadowy group of patriots that appears at the end. This novel also introduces what may be the real romance in Charlie’s life and I can see more books with this theme, as well.

I recommend it for those who have read the other books in the series and, as far as I am concerned, Griffin hasn’t lost his touch. Alexander Dumas had a writing team that composed large sections of his novels. Those novels have stood the test of time and these will too.


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