Encounter With ISIS (John Mordred Book 3) by J. J. Ward

In one of the most entertaining books we’ve seen this year, a Brit MI7 Intelligence Officer takes on the challenge of forestalling a fourteen-year-old girl’s terroristic ideals, solving the kidnapping of a government official’s son, and unraveling the mystery behind a corporate cyberattack.

And somewhere along the line, a love story breaks out for good measure.

In Encounter With ISIS: Tales of MI7 by J.J. Ward, agent John Mordred, droll, keen-witted and uber-resourceful, receives his latest assignment with aplomb aplenty. And this book — sixth in a series — affords him the opportunity to showcase his abundant sleuthing skills and rapier repartee to best advantage.

In a dizzying bit of deductive reasoning, Mordred and his associates at MI7 come to the startling conclusion that two of the three players in the disparate conundrum outlined above are collaborating. Exactly why, and where they might be headed remains unknown.

But this is just the sort of spiderwebbed situation that causes mystery and spycraft lovers the world over to rub their hands together and gleefully cry, “Game On!” Mordred et al fill the remaining chapters with remarkably cinematic dialogue detailing Mordred’s hunt for the minor miscreants — fourteen-year-old Aisha Sharif and sixteen-year-old Sebastian, the bucktoothed, homely son of the founder and director of Chewton Black, the private security company whose firewalls were allegedly breached.

The characterizations in this first-class piece of fiction are deep and absorbing, as is the byzantine plotline that forces the reader to pay close attention, lest a critical twist slip by unnoticed. And, in the end, it’s just this kind of diligence that provides a payoff as the literary drapes are pulled back in a revelatory last chapter reveal.

Accomplished author J.J. Ward outdoes himself in this combination detective slash international intrigue tale — written with style and skill. Readers will find John Mordred to be one of the most appealing characters in fiction today. Very well done and roundly deserving of its five-plus star rating. Read the entire series, including Mordred’s next adventure: World War O.

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