Operation Sandstorm, a Riveting Terrorism Thriller by G.J. Rayner & E.M. Rayner

The Bottom Line: An action-packed tale of money, war and extremism that threatens the world as we know it.

Operation Sandstorm pits the wealth, vision and egos of two sprawling tycoons against each other. Representing the West both geographically and metaphorically is Cyrus L. Livingston, CEO & President of Livingston Tec. Livingston is invested in more industries than most people have shoes. Meanwhile, out of the east comes Chechen mogul & mafia titan Vladimir Shishani, who also champions Islamic terrorism.

After an attack on one of Livingston’s mines in Morocco, the company’s head of operations calls OMICRON, a security contractor and intelligence organization that has worked with them in the past. OMICRON quickly determines that Al-Qaeda-affiliate The Sword of Allah may be responsible, and it doesn’t take long before Shishani is linked as well.

G.J. Rayner & E.M. Rayner, authors of the terrific revenge thriller Operation Pinata, prove once again that they’re hardly short on innovative ideas. The intersection of big business, private security contractors and terrorism is nothing short of complex, but the well-researched plot proves to be both plausible and entertaining. Set sometime in the early 2000s (Bin Laden is still at large, and ISIL is not yet the dominant Islamic force in the region), the intricacy of the groups affiliated with both empires is both fascinating and dizzying.

In the early going, the sheer power embodied by both titans of industry is reminiscent of a superhero novel. When the Moroccan mine attack leaves 20 dead and a month’s supply of production gone, it’s like Superman absorbing a punch from a mere mortal. The company’s operations head wasn’t even aware they had the business there in the first place. Later, an intentionally set refinery fire wipes out a billion dollars. And the character’s response? “That’s great, but you didn’t get me all the way up here just for that, did you?”

Perhaps that’s why, despite lots of intrigue and a high body count, the novel is riveting, but the stakes don’t feel high until the conflict threats to sprawl into a global holy war. And that seems to be exactly the point of the novel: companies, terrorists and military groups are moved about like pawns in a never ending war for global domination, with the planet completely ruled by big business. Action thriller fans who appreciate the nuances will enjoy Operation Sandstorm.

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