A Political Thriller by a Political Insider

State of Terror is a thrilling political mystery by a surprising author: the former Secretary of State

Mason Faulkner, Photo and Image Editor

 State of Terror is a political mystery novel that was published October 21 last year and debuted at number 1 on the New York Times bestseller lists for combined print and e-book fiction and hardcover fiction. It follows the life of a new US Secretary of State, Ellen Adams, chosen by her rival administration after the last administration shrank the US from the world stage. Many have found the 500-some page novel satisfying to read, as it keeps the reader intrigued throughout with accurate depictions of the governments across the world… so many that The Hollywood Reporter announced that the book would be made into a movie.

In fact, the only thing more surprising was its authors: Canadian novelist Louise Penny and Hillary Clinton.

Yes, that Hillary Clinton.

Former Senator, former Secretary of State, 2016 Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

While some may be surprised by Hillary Clinton’s turn from writing legislation to writing books, Mrs. Clinto has already penned three bestselling memoirs. The fictional novel was the brainchild of publisher Simon and Schuster, who approached both women and suggested a novel-writing partnership, with Penny responsible for character and style and Clinton responsible for plot and realistic details. The two women took to the partnership really well, and ended up crafting the most pleasant surprise of all: a smart thriller that spans the globe and packs every page with tension.

 In the novel, a new administration has just been sworn in, and to everyone’s surprise, they chose a political enemy as the important position of secretary of state. As the new president addresses Congress for the first time, with Secretary Adams in attendance, Anahita Dahir, a new foreign service officer on the Pakistan desk at the State Department, receives a text from an anonymous source. Too late, she realizes the message was a hastily coded warning. What begins as a series of terrorist attacks is revealed to be the beginning of an international crisis against the politics of Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Iran, the race to develop nuclear weapons in the region, the Russian mob, a rogue terrorist organization, and an American government set back in the international scope of the world. To defeat such a carefully constructed conspiracy it will take the determination of a unique team: a young FSO, a dedicated journalist, and a smart, determined, but new secretary of state.

  The novel is very fast-paced and keeps the reader engaged throughout the whole book. Even though it is a fiction novel, the characters have a very uncanny resemblance to political leaders known today. This is because Clinton and Penny pushed their own experiences through the plots, characters, and situations the characters face throughout the book. The fact that one of the writers worked in a former US administration and has very powerful political views influences the reader because some of the political views expressed may not be for everybody. To develop the characters, Penny uses out-of-the-box details to give each character its own unique emotions, and experiences. Imagery is used to add depth to each situation, to keep the story strong and engaging. The plot of the novel is what gives the characters their own individual stories. 

The strong narrative in the novel drives the book forward and keeps the reader intrigued and wanting more. It also makes the reader ask their own questions, which makes them want answers. The plot throughout the novel is not too predictable and has many brilliant twists that are very unexpected.  However, the reason the plot is so bountiful is because of the complexity of the characters, and the way they carry the plot. 

The ending, even though it was a great one, left the door open for a sequel. I would love a sequel or a part two to this book because of how entertaining the first one was. I would like to see how these characters work together through another problem and see how they would react to another threat. And given that this novel will soon get the Hollywood treatment, I wouldn’t be surprised if we’ll get that sequel sooner rather than later.