Review: The Ares Decision (By Robert Ludlum and Kyle Mills)

The Ares Decision Source: Goodreads

The Ares Decision
Source: Goodreads

Length: 418 pages

My rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

A special forces team, consisted of some of the most experienced men, is sent into the jungles of Northern Uganda. Their mission – to find the mercenary threatening the peace of Uganda and capture him. But the entire team is eradicated by men, women and children who fight with nothing but their bare hands. Once the peaceful residents of a small village, these humans know nothing but anger as they attack to kill, blood pouring down their clothes and bodies, immune to pain and fear and barely stoppable unless hit with devastating precision.

A video of the attack returns home, to the U.S. President, who calls in the only organization capable of dealing with the new threat. Covert-One is under direct order of the President, its existence not known to anyone but those chosen by the President himself. Colonel Jon Smith, an army microbiologist and a top operative of Covert-One is called in. What he finds, spells nothing but terror – an ages old parasitic infection that turns humans insane and violent and then goes dormant, eating at its own hosts. But this time, there are vested interests in keeping the parasite alive.

The Iranian Intelligence is working with the mercenaries that live within the jungles, with the Director coming to Uganda himself. His aim – to weaponize the parasite and unleash it on the West. As Col. Smith and his team enter the untapped parts of Uganda in search of information on the parasite, they lose contact with the outside world. And as the hours and days go by, they learn that the Iranian Intelligence is not the only one who wants to keep the parasite alive – the real threat is much closer to home.

My take:

I would have given The Ares Decision a 3 star rating because it falls a little short of being great. But there are many aspects in the book, other than those that hold the rating back, that demand a higher rating, forcing a 3.5.

Kyle Mills is a gifted author – the book makes that abundantly clear. He really knows his stuff, doesn’t mess around and can write convincingly enough to make you hate or love his characters. In fact, he even carries Ludlum’s legacy of making things a tad complex until it all, finally, falls into place. The story is packed with action, some that may even be considered a bit too graphic, and has things moving along a steady pace.

So why, then, does it not call for a higher rating?

Because while the book moves along at a steady pace, there is little that makes you say, “What happens next?”

The only reason I found myself turning the pages, and that too not as often as I thought I would be turning them, was because of the multiple story lines that were unfolding. You get just about interested in what’s happening in Northern Uganda when the next page takes you back to Washington. That’s fine, because it adds variety and keeps the monotony at bay. But it also creates too many breaks, ripping the intrigue right out of the interesting parts by simply pushing them onto the back burner.

I guess the main reason I was a little disappointed with The Ares Decision was because the blurb builds up a lot of excitement which the book cannot see through till the end. Sure, there were parts that were incredible, but there were also parts that droned on. Those brief moments brought the entire experience to a lower rung.

That being said, I’m glad that I picked up this book. It does justice to Robert Ludlum and his series. It had some great parts that will stay on with me for a long time, and an interesting story line that more than holds its own. I would definitely read more of Kyle Mills’ work because he is a great author who clearly dedicates himself to the hard work of writing a book, as depicted by the intricate plot of The Ares Decision.

So should you pick up this spy thriller or search elsewhere? If you are not fond of thrillers with complex story lines and a good dollop of politics, then you need to look beyond this book. But if you like Ludlum’s work and want to read more on the series he began, then The Ares Decision should be on your list – a book that does justice to the series.

– Rishika

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