From the #1 bestselling authors Hillary Clinton and Louise Penny comes a novel of unsurpassed thrills and incomparable insider expertise—State of Terror.
State of Terror follows a novice Secretary of State who has joined the administration of her rival, a president inaugurated after four years of American leadership that shrank from the world stage. A series of terrorist attacks throws the global order into disarray, and the secretary is tasked with assembling a team to unravel the deadly conspiracy, a scheme carefully designed to take advantage of an American government dangerously out of touch and out of power in the places where it counts the most.
This high-stakes thriller of international intrigue features behind-the-scenes global drama informed by details only an insider could know.
Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton (born October 26, 1947) was the 67th United States Secretary of State, serving in the cabinet of President Barack Obama. In 2016, she became the first woman in U.S. history to win a major party's presidential nomination, and the first woman to win the popular vote in a presidential race - despite losing the election.
She was a Senator from the state of New York from 2001 to 2009. As the wife of the 42nd, President of the United States, William Jefferson Clinton, Hillary served as First Lady from 1993 to 2001. In the 2008 election Clinton was a leading candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination.
A native of Illinois, Hillary Rodham attracted national attention in 1969 when she was chosen by her peers to be the first student commencement speaker at Wellesley College. As a graduate of Yale Law School, Class of 1973, she served temporarily as a Congressional legal counsel. Rodham moved to Arkansas in 1974, marrying Bill Clinton a year later. Hillary Rodham Clinton co-founded the Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families in 1977, and became the first female chair of the Legal Services Corporation in 1978. Named the first female partner at Rose Law Firm in 1979, she was twice listed as one of the 100 most influential lawyers in America. First Lady of Arkansas from 1979 to 1981 and 1983 to 1992 with husband Bill as Governor, Clinton successfully led a task force to reform Arkansas's education system. She has served on the board of directors of Wal-Mart as well as several other prominent corporations.
In 1994 as First Lady of the United States, her major initiative, the Clinton health care plan, failed to gain approval from the U.S. Congress. However, in 1997 and 1999, Clinton played a role in advocating for the establishment of the State Children's Health Insurance Program, the Adoption and Safe Families Act, and the Foster Care Independence Act. Her time as First Lady drew a polarized response from the American public. She is the only First Lady to have been subpoenaed, testifying before a federal grand jury in 1996 due to the Whitewater controversy, but was never charged with any wrongdoing in this or any of the other investigations during her husband's administration. The state of her marriage was the subject of considerable speculation following the Lewinsky scandal in 1998 that spurred Articles of Impeachment to be issued against her husband, Bill Clinton.
In January of 2000, Clinton was elected as senator to the State of New York after moving to the small suburban hamlet of Chappaqua in Westchester County. That election marked the first time an American First Lady had run for public office; Clinton was also the first female senator to represent New York. In the Senate, she initially supported the Bush administration on some foreign policy issues, including a vote for the Iraq War Resolution, subsequently opposing the administration on its conduct of the war in Iraq, and most domestic issues. Senator Clinton was re-elected by a wide margin in 2006. In the 2008 presidential nomination race, Hillary Clinton won more primaries and delegates than any other female candidate in American history, but narrowly lost to Senator Barack Obama. As Secretary of State, Clinton became the first former First Lady to serve in a president's cabinet
The politics that have skewed these reviews are disgusting. Louise Penny and Hillary Clinton are close friends, FYI. Don’t want to read it? Fine. But remove your ratings and comments that lack any objectivity. Having read the book I can say it’s an amazing read! I want to re-read it to catch the small details about diplomacy and negotiations.
This book interested me because I am a fan of Louise Penny, having read several of her books about Inspector Gamache and Three Pines. Although State of Terror is not her usual detective story, it was very much in Louise Penny's writing style, and I was pleasantly surprised that she was able to incorporate some of Three Pines into this book. Also, it was touching that she modeled the role of Michael Whitehead after her husband.
I will say that as far as a political thriller goes, it is really frightening. The story line was clearly created by Hilary Clinton using her vast knowledge of the inner circle at the White House and foreign affairs. It was educational too as I probably could not have told you anything about the role of the Secretary of State before I read this book. It kept my attention and will remain on my mind for some time to come. I was glad that I read the book and do recommend it.
Like all the other useless reviews I saw, I haven't read this book. Unlike the others I saw, I'm not going to review something I haven't read. No one cares if you're excited to read it or have prejudged it. This is about reviewing a book on the merits of the book.
Separately, I really think both Penny and Clinton are great writers, but in my opinion a fictional political thriller wasn't a great choice for either one of them.
Penny's Armand Gamache series does at times have political intrigue involved in the plot but it's not the real focus. I feel the primary reason people keep reading that series is for the lovable/quirky townspeople of Three Pines. None of that light-hearted, fuzzy feeling associated with her usual characters can be seen anywhere in this book and it painfully shows. The character of Betsy (ignoring the easter-egg appearances) is as close as we get to it, and that's not nearly close enough.
As for Clinton, her real life experiences as Secretary of State and her run for the Presidency (see: What Happened) obviously filled in some of this book's plot to make it more realistic, which was fitting. However, the character "Former President Eric Dunn" is too much on the nose as a fill in for he-who-shall-not-be-named. I get the reasoning behind it (the plot is based on how incompetent leadership can have repercussions beyond their term), and I agree with her real-life political views on the matter (we're obviously still dealing with issues from the past four years), but I am not sure I want to read an only slightly fictionalized version of that particular person in my books. That character needed to be either way over the top to make it actually funny or really watered down so as to not give readers a dreaded reminder of the real person. Or maybe that was just me? :P Also, the character that was a stand-in for Russia's Putin was "outsmarted" by the Secretary of State in such a ridiculous and unrealistic maneuver that it actually made me angry by how dumb and nonsensical it was.
As for the book plot - well, there's a lot of going to places and talking to people, and doing of things. The pacing is good enough, but it just didn't quite interest me as much as it should have. Mainly because the main bad guy never felt real enough to make you worried he might actually succeed. Also, including a countdown is not a substitute for creating actual plot tension.
So was this book bad? No. Was it great? No. Do I think either of them should ever attempt a fictional political thriller like this again? Also no.
I’m not a fan of thrillers, so kudos to Clinton and Penny for creating one that immediately grabbed my attention and never let it go. I tore through this book. Clinton’s experience as Secretary of State shines through. Couple that with Penny’s ability to create characters that come through as real, fully fleshed out characters and it’s a winner. My dislike for most thrillers is become they always feel so unbelievable. Not this one. It was all too easy to see something like this playing out, which made it all the scarier. I also felt like I got a real understanding of the workings of the government at the highest echelons, not to mention the balancing act required when dealing with our allies and foes alike. It’s a much faster paced book than Penny’s Gamache series. Clinton’s hatred of Trump leads to some of the brief moments of levity, as the ex-president in the book is so clearly based on him. There are also a few side quips based on Penny’s Gamache series and Inspector Gamache himself makes an appearance. It’s no secret what the authors think about far right political factions. This book will not appeal to Trump supporters. But for those of us that are fans of Ms. Clinton and all she stands for, it will not only appeal but have an uncomfortable edge of reality. Joan Allen is the narrator. I swear, she sounds like Hillary, which made it all the easier to picture a young Mrs. Clinton as Ellen Adams.
At the start of 2016, Hillary Rodham Clinton resolved that she would not respond to Donald Trump’s insults.
Turns out she was just storing up her responses to unleash in her first novel.
There is no shortage of score-settling Washington memoirs, but this must be the first time a major presidential candidate has conducted a political assassination via a thriller. “State of Terror,” written with best-selling crime writer Louise Penny, is part entertainment, part roman à clef and all payback. Lightly cloaked in the guise of fiction, Clinton’s onetime opponent appears in these pages as careless, stupid, dangerous and traitorous.
I’m not complaining. The Thug-in-Chief deserves all the opprobrium he can carry in his sticky little hands, but this marks a striking contrast to the novel-writing partnership between Bill Clinton and James Patterson, who have largely avoided disparaging Trump. Their ridiculous but phenomenally successful thrillers — “The President Is Missing” (2018) and “The President’s Daughter” (2021) — stay comfortably ensconced in Bill’s macho fantasies of himself as a president/action-hero/savior. The men have comparatively little room — or stomach — for critiquing other administrations.
The Nasty Women are not nearly so timid. When “State of Terror” opens. . . .
Let me cut to the chase and say that this was a totally legit political thriller! And far superior to anything produced by Bill Clinton and James Patterson, FWIW. No, I stayed up past 1:00am to finish the book because I needed to know how it ended.
Now, I don't know if it's fair to compare the two Clintons' literary endeavors because it's not an even playing field. Louise Penny is a far more gifted novelist than James Patterson. (And without giving anything away, I will say that there are Easter eggs for her fans within.)
Bill Clinton's novels feature action hero presidents straight out of the Harrison Ford playbook. Whereas, Hillary's Secretary of State heroine, is described at various times as disheveled, frumpy, and middle-aged. So, she's letting it all hang out without giving things a Hollywood glow. And while their plot is fast-paced and full of turns, there's a certain amount of reality lending verisimilitude. This exchange about the withdrawal from Afghanistan is a good example of what I'm talking about:
"I know it was controversial, but we had to leave sometime," she said. "Bring our troops home. I thought it was the one good thing he did."
"No one wants to see them out of harm's way more than I do, believe me. And, I agree it was time. That wasn't the issue."
"Then what was?"
"It was done without a plan. Without getting anything in return. Nothing was put in place to make sure the gains, the hard-won stability, our intelligence and counter intelligence, and counterterrorism capabilities would be maintained. Under the Dunne plan, a vacuum was created. One the Taliban is happy to fill. *****
I don't know about you, but that sure seems to be grounded in reality. Other elements of the plot, not so much. But it is a thriller, after all. Without some imagination and exaggeration, it probably wouldn't be all that thrilling.
Nor am I suggesting that this is a perfect novel. This is a departure for Ms. Penny, and there's a learning curve. There were a few places where, for instance, insignificant plot points were contrived in a way that was just unnecessary. And what's the deal with these people and their cell phone batteries? Dumb stuff like that. Rookie mistakes.
But at the end of the day, this was an entertaining book! And it's value is significantly greater than some kind of literary stunt casting. I don't know if these two will collaborate again, but I'm hoping they will. What can I say? This was a pleasant surprise!
Oops, it's so late that I almost forgot to mention how many pot shots she takes at the disasterous former president! She's not even trying to disguise Trump, and she's not holding back. Ah, it's a beautiful thing to see! Frankly, it's worth the price of admission. 😉
3.5 stars, rounded up I'm not much for political thrillers, but this one was pretty good. Probably won't go over very well with people who are fans of/loyal to 45, but seeing Clinton's name as author should make those people steer clear. I'm not a Clinton supporter myself, but she is a decent writer and I love Louise Penny, and loved the inclusion of Three Pines, Gamache, and others from her series.
Overall, this is a fast paced, globe-trotting whirlwind of a story, chasing terrorists, bombers, and high level informants. I listened to this as an audiobook and Joan Allen is a stellar narrator, she is a great voice of Secretary of State Ellen Adams, the right amount of brains and snark to propel the story forward. At first I didn't think I'd be able to follow the story as there are a LARGE number of characters and the relationships are zig-zagged all around and intertwined. Yet the writing is clear and concise and I was able to keep everyone and everything straight and never got lost. The ending is definitely a set up for further installments in the series.
Bottom line: If you enjoy a good political thriller, this is an excellent choice. Even if you don't, you might be surprised, especially if you're a Penny fan.
I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book, all opinions are my own.
2.5 stars rounded to 3. I was pleased to learn that Louise Penny and Hilary Clinton were collaborating on a political thriller. I preordered this book well in advance. I regret to say that although it contained much intrigue and action, it failed to captivate me. It should appeal more to those more interested in American politics, but definitely not to Trump fans. I have enjoyed Louise Penny's stories set in Three Pines with their kind and quirky villagers. Her part in writing the book was apparent in its style but did not fit the political thriller format well.
Hilary brings her vast experience and knowledge gained during her time in the White House as First Lady and as Secretary of State to describe past and present world problems. Some have called this a work of revenge against Trump, depicting the former fictional president in the book under a different name, but it is clearly ex-President Trump referred to in the story. At his Palm Beach estate, the former President is described as incompetent, sleazy, narcissistic, a bully, and acting from his own delusions. He cozied up to the country's enemies and left former allies in a state of distrust causing a loss of prestige for America. In such an environment of division, the Taliban and El-Qaeda have thrived.
There is a long, complex and convoluted plot. There were descriptions of thrills, danger, and intrigue in too many places, with characters widely scattered in various countries. I was not feeling the excitement and tension the way I was supposed to but kept plodding along. The book was strongly pro-female, usually brave, scheming, and intelligent women. They were able to outsmart heads of state, even blackmailing the Russian President to achieve their goals. The plot was constantly in motion, zipping back and forth to Pakistan, the Afghan border territories, Oman, Iran, Germany, Russia, Palm Springs, Washington, and even Three Pines, Quebec. The male characters played supporting roles to the women. With a few exceptions, they were duplicitous, treacherous, victims, secretive, or dull.
I thought references to literature and poetry were thrown in for us to admire the writing but didn't work for me except as a distraction. The phone code between the Secretary of State and her trusted assistant was annoying, except for people wanting to catch up on grammatical terms, and seemed out of place in a thriller. There were repetitions about the newly appointed Secretary of State, Ellen Adams, being dishevelled, dirty, with messy hair and without makeup while rushing from one country and meeting to the next, and speculation why the incoming President had chosen her in an important role. She was head of a newspaper empire that was very critical of this new President, and he carries a hatred for her. Her first assignment was to South Korea, one designed to fail.
The first strike by terrorists was to blow up buses in London, Paris, and Frankfurt. Each bus was carrying a low-level nuclear scientist, and the explosions resulted in many innocent civilian causalities. There are hints and clues that three nuclear bombs have been planted in American locations. These were manufactured in an old warehouse in Pakistan. Ellen Adams has assembled a team, consisting of her good friend and assistant, Betsy, her son and daughter and various trusted colleagues to travel to various destinations to find out in what American cities the nuclear bombs are planted and try to discover people behind the terrorist conspiracy before the bombs detonate. They are prepared to use diplomacy and more underhanded means of coercion to save innumerable lives. There may be someone within the White House providing information to the terrorists.
I was sorry to feel so disconnected from the storyline. I have noticed that many enjoyed the book and found it thrilling. I have noticed that some people who dislike Hilary gave the book abysmal reviews without reading it to skew the ratings downward. This should not be permitted on any review site, and either read the book and judge it on its merits or not rate or comment on something they have not read.
Louise Penny returns with high-profile story collaborator, Hillary Rodham Clinton, to create a strong international thriller that pushes the boundaries at every turn. In a story that has some subtle (and not so) references to the previous US Administration, as well as Clinton’s work as Secretary of State, the plot inches forward in a stunning manner. A few terrorist attacks in Europe turn the world’s eyes towards a group that seeks to topple all that is held dear. When the newly-minted Secretary of State is sent to handle the situation, truths emerge about future attacks on American soil, which could have drastic outcomes. Fighting against time and a blur of information, truths will have to emerge before America is again the victim of a horrible attack on its own soil. Penny and Clinton do well throughout this piece to offer up their own style, something I could not resist enjoying through to the final pages.
After a hard-fought primary and general election, Ellen Adams is rewarded for her service to the victor with the post of Secretary of State. As she assesses her position, she must come to terms with the fact that she’s accepted the role from her political rival, though someone she can at least stomach. The American political scene is somewhat dire, after four years of chaos under a seemingly incompetent president.
When a series of terrorist attacks in Europe begin to turn heads, Adams must assume the role of stateswoman and try to assuage the panic, while also taking a leadership role and get to the bottom of what’s going on. Tasked by the president to bring him news quickly, Adams assembles a team and they head to the region, only to discover that there is more to come. Someone (or a group) is preparing to attack America where it is the most vulnerable, as someone has taken the foot off the proverbial gas for the past four years.
Working behind the scenes and traveling covertly, Adams discovers that there is a plot in place to attack America at home. The details are sketchy and Adams will have to work alongside known enemies and some allies with questionable decision-making prowess to cobble together the truth. The world holds its collective breath, though many do not know what is coming. It’s a race to get answers, implement solutions, and bring stability once more. The key to is all may find itself in a small Canadian town, a place many know well. Penny and Clinton offer a great story that kept me guessing until the final pieces fell into place.
Political thrillers can be some of the most difficult books to write, particularly when the author takes an ideological side in their writing. They are sure to alienate some readers , simply by pushing their own fictitious agenda through plots, characters, and situations. This appears to be the case here, as Clinton and Penny have been panned by many, simply for the former’s political views or past work in a few US Administrations. While I am fine with free speech, it is the inane comments from those who refuse to read the books and simply offer vapid commentary that proves vindictiveness is an intoxication that does not require intelligence. That being said, there were many who could see some of the great storylines and writing, even if they did not agree wholeheartedly with the presentation in this novel.
The character development in this piece was quite complex and thoroughly enjoyable. Those familiar with Louise Penny’s writing will know that she creates strong characters in her novels that move from the page to the imaginations of the reader. Nuances and intricate details serve as part of the experience, which occurred throughout this piece. The imagery of the individuals playing various roles cannot be discounted, as they added depth to an already strong story and kept me wanting more.
While political thrillers and international terror plots appear to be plentiful in the genre today, there was something about this book that help elevate it for me. I am a fan of Louise Penny’s work and adore all things political, so this seemed to be the perfect mix for me. A strong narrative forged ahead throughout the piece and kept my attention until the final sentence. The plot evolved throughout, keeping it from being too predictable, with some wonderful twists that left me gasping at times. As mentioned before, it is the variety and complexity of the characters that made me take notice, as usual. The ending, and what a great one it was, left the door open for a sequel. I do hope this collaborative team can return for at least a little more, as the entertainment value was high and just what I needed this week!
Kudos, Madams Penny and Clinton, on a wonderful collaborative effort. You work well together, complementing each other’s strengths. I look forward to more in the coming years.
Authors Hillary Rodham Clinton (left) and Louise Penny
For this thriller, Hillary Rodham Clinton drew on her experience as U.S. Secretary of State and Louise Penny on her talent as a mystery writer to craft a tale about a Secretary of State trying to stop nuclear terrorists from exploding bombs in American cities. The twist - a traitor in the upper echelons of the U.S. government is helping the terrorists.
Newly elected President Douglas Williams isn't Ellen Adams' favorite person.
When Williams was a powerful senator and Ellen was in charge of a global media empire....
.....Ellen's journalist son Gil Bahar was kidnapped by Middle Eastern terrorists.
Senator Williams wouldn't allow the government to negotiate for Gil's release and Ellen expected her son to be beheaded momentarily.....but Gil miraculously escaped. Gil has now converted to Islam and has friends and contacts in the Middle East.
After Williams failed to help Gil, Ellen used her media conglomerate to lobby HARD against the senator being nominated for president, but Williams got the nomination and won. Now - to everyone's shock - Williams has made Ellen Secretary of State, but he plans to sabotage and disgrace her.
The new administration has to repair the damage done by the previous president, Eric Dunn - called Eric the Dunce by his critics - who cozied up to dictators, allowed Iran to pursue nuclear weapons, damaged America's relations with its allies, and more.
As if that's not bad enough, three bus bombs explode in a single day - first in London, then in Paris, and finally in Frankfurt.
Just before the last bomb explodes a Pakistani-American foreign service officer called Anahita Dahir realizes a gibberish email she received, which her boss thought was spam, was a warning about the bombs.
Secretary of State Adams gets the news just moments before the last bomb explodes, and is able to warn her son Gil, who's on the Frankfurt bus following a Pakistani nuclear physicist. Gil escapes the bus in time, but is injured and taken to the hospital.
It turns out the bombs were detonated for the express purpose of killing three Pakistani scientists on their way to build nuclear weapons for other Middle Eastern factions.
The theory is that Iran planted the bombs to stop its enemies in the region from acquiring weapons of mass destruction.
The situation in the Middle East is always complicated, but the U.S. suspects the Russian Mafia - under the supervision of Russian President Ivanov - is selling nuclear components to Middle Eastern terrorists, and a Pakistani nuclear physicist called Dr. Bashir Shah is providing scientists to those same terrorists, all to help the zealots build nuclear bombs.
Ellen and her trusted counselor Betsy Jameson.....
....along with foreign service officer Anahita Dahir and members of Ellen's staff - rush to the Middle East.
Ellen plans to consult with the leaders of Iran, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, hoping to get information about the terrorists' identity and location.
Along the way Ellen learns that three nuclear weapons have been placed in American cities, and are set to be detonated at any moment.
Meanwhile Ellen's son Gil leaves the hospital and makes his way to his secret source in Afghanistan, who tells him a 'High Level Informant' in America is in league with Russia and the terrorists.
When Ellen learns about the traitor she sends Betsy back to America to investigate the miscreant's identity. Betsy gets assistance from a disgruntled member of former President Dunn's administration, and their prying leads to murder.
Meanwhile Ellen - with the blessings of President Williams (who's come to appreciate her intelligence and capabilities) - is in a race against time to stop the explosions on American soil. Ellen even confronts Russian President Ivanov, and gives him a taste of his own medicine.
As with all thrillers, the plot requires some suspension of disbelief, but it mirrors several real world worries, like the Russian mafia arming the world, and Americans trying to undermine their own government.
Fans of Louise Penny's Detective Inspector Armand Gamache series, set in the Canadian village of Three Pines, will be happy to see some favorite characters. Moreover, Secretary of State Ellen Adams' favorite poet is Ruth Zardo. 🙂
I enjoyed this fast-paced thriller, and got a kick out of Ellen Adams and her ally Betsy Jameson going face to face with some tough guys.
Thriller fans (except for supporters of former President Trump) would probably enjoy this book.
Louise Penny has always been one of my favorite crime writers and I was curious to see if she could make the transition to political thriller--a genre I'm not overly fond of. Never having read any of Hillary Rodham Clinton's books, I didn't know what to expect from her. As my star rating indicates, this read turned out to be a satisfying collaboration in a genre neither of them had previously tackled. The story is riveting and there is even a wink and a nod to Penny's crime series that blends in nicely.
Newly elected president Douglas Williams selects an unlikely person, media mogul Ellen Adams, to be his new Secretary of State. Unlikely because Adams used her media empire to campaign against Williams in the primary elections. This begs the secondary question, why did she accept? The enmity between these two is palatable and Williams quickly sets Adams up for failure on her first assignment as Secretary. Coming off this humiliating assignment, Adams is summoned by Williams when a bus blows up in London. It's now up to the Secretary of State as the US liaison to support finding out who is behind the bombing and if more are planned. Thus begins the rocket ride into the political theater of politics, espionage and foreign and domestic terrorism.
I know this book will be controversial because of the politics and I suspect it will appeal only to those with a particular political bent. Politics aside, this is still an amazing thriller. The story is frightening, the pacing spot-on and the writing brilliant. It is also educational. I learned so much about the balancing act the Secretary of State does when dealing with foreign affairs versus the interests of the US. If you're an open-minded or left leaning reader, I highly recommend this book.
I don’t like Louise Penny books, they are too cozy and boring for me, and read this one only because of Hillary Clinton. I’ve also read the 2 James Patterson/Bill Clinton collaborations and found them much more entertaining than this book. Hillary has a huge axe to grind and, while I completely agree with her assessment of Trump as a dangerous fool, this book was extremely heavy handed and there was too much about politics and the prior administration. It cluttered up what should have been a suspenseful thriller.
I almost stopped reading in the first chapter when the authors wrote “… he kissed her so hard their teeth collided…” Then in chapter three, a junior foreign officer and her journalist boyfriend were “stealing away” and she was “feeling his hard body inside hers”. I feared for the worst but fortunately there was not much more of this. However, there were a lot of coincidences and repetition. Maybe they thought the repetition was necessary because the plot was extremely convoluted, but I didn’t really need to hear the same facts 3 or 4 times. There was way too much discussion about how the Secretary of State looked. Penny also awkwardly added her Inspector Armand Gamache in at the end of the book. Unnecessary and cheesy. The ending sets up the possibility of a sequel. I am not looking forward to it.
I read this book! Was terribly disappointed! I adore the books written by Louise Penny and eagerly awaited this book to read the collaboration with Hillary Clinton. The story line is convoluted, confusing, repetitive and tortuous. How many times do I need to read that Ellen Adams is the surprise appointment of Secretary of State by the President Elect, and read various characters discussing why the President would choose her? Or, hear how she arrived at a meeting straight from her first assignment in South Korea, covered in mud, little make-up and looking like a "hobo"? And, these are only two instances but the repetition goes on and on and on.... Where is the intrigue? The suspense? The mystery? It takes forever for the story to get to the characters who are in danger! And, even that becomes confusing. The story seems to be all about Ellen Adams - her habits, her appearance, her friends, and the plot is slim and boring....I expected so much more.....The book put me in a State of Terror.....
I was sadly disappointed with this book. Louise Penny, did you stretch yourself too thin getting two books out in the same season? Did you rush to publication without sufficient time for revision?
My husband and I did this as a read aloud on this past week's road trip, so you get both of our perspectives on this novel. We tend to read different genres, so we picked this book as one we could both agree on. And we had almost identical takes on this novel. The only disagreement we had is that the constantly shifting perspectives, every couple of pages, drove him crazy, and I was okay with that.
The prose in this book left a lot to be desired.
"And it was--Fun. Heady. Exciting. Sneaking around in a city filled with deception, duplicity. Those steamy, sultry days and nights in Islamabad. Everyone so young, so vital, so firm, so certain. Life teaming all around them while Death waited in the marketplace."
When used sparingly this technique can be very effective. When used with great frequency it becomes irritating. Annoying. Aggravating. Irksome. Vexatious. Evidence of lazy writing. Louise Penny, you are better than this.
There was little to no character development. Ellen Adams, our protagonist, was sketched almost as a superhero--brilliant, with great powers of discernment, and always right. No nuance here. The other characters were only very lightly sketched out.
The plot itself was weak, and the coincidences kept piling up.
We kept plodding on because we had no other book that we both wanted to read.
This book also really suffered by comparison as I read Billy O'Callaghan's The Boatman and Other Stories and Elizabeth Strout's Oh William! this week, both added to my list of favorites.
For me, the saving grace was the cameo appearance of Three Pines. There was none for my husband. 1 Star from him, he would put this one as DNF. 1.5 Stars rounded up for me, because of my love for Louise Penny.
This is one book where I feel no reader should be influenced by its reviews before reading the book.
Ellen Adams, the new Secretary of State who has been appointed by her political rival, Douglas Williams is the main character in this book. Her appointment comes just before three bombs were detonated, in London, Paris and Frankfurt - bombs targeting three Pakistani nuclear physicists.
Beside Adams is a former school teacher, her adviser and childhood friend, a woman named Betsy Jameson - a character based on Clinton’s real-life best friend, Betsy Ebeling. Together, they battle through the world of international politics.
This is an exciting thriller. The set-up is sound. The story is fast moving and with continual plot twists. I would recommend for political nerds.
I just finished STATE OF TERROR by Hillary Rodham Clinton and Louise Penny, so good I couldn't put it down and hated to be finished. There’s so much to ponder and love, politics domestic and foreign, layers of mystery, family ties, tension, humor. It’s twisty and complicated, with surprises at every turn but clarity in the writing. Whom to trust? Whom to fear? Who will save the day with courage and intelligence? There are some delightful “Easter eggs” from a beloved series, and so much that I will not disclose, lest it spoil the suspense. I'm hoping for a second book from these two in splendid collaboration, and meanwhile, I may take a second trip through this adventure, perhaps on audiobook.
Were there problems with this book? Sure. Did I stay up way too late and finish the book in less than a day? Also yes. Think of this book as a girl power-ed Jack Ryan. The book was super plotty, and I needed to know what was going to happen next! If you liked Homeland, you'll enjoy this.
State of Terror turned out to be the savvy political thriller I didn't know I either needed or wanted. For me, this book covered almost the entire gamut of possible emotions or reactions. I laughed out loud, I shed a tear or two, I smirked, I scoffed. I was on the edge of my seat, I was bored, I was impressed, I was discontented. The scope of the narrative quite easily is reflected in the span of my reactions to it throughout.
While Penny's influence and style are recognizable, this is not what you'd typically find from her offerings. Normally she borders on quaint and clement in her Three Pines mysteries, but with State of Terror the stakes are higher than ever and this is where the Clinton contribution comes in. Smart and fast-paced, this geopolitical thriller had my complete attention during the book's climax. The build towards to this peak was an increasingly intense rollercoaster ride that paid off in spades.
There is a connection to Three Pines, as that village plays an important role in the plot near the end, but that injection, more than any other tongue-in-cheek reference, made me realize just how much fun these two authors had when writing this book together. There's such a balance to this novel — between the humor, the real-life allusions (the Trumpian former president, the Russian president who has ridden a horse while shirtless, etc.), but mostly it's the wonderful female friendship at the core. Even my reactions to it felt balanced. There was a constant ebb and flow to this one, stops and starts that elicited nothing but realism. If these two authors collaborate again . . . I'm in.
Audiobook, as narrated by Joan Allen: Joan Allen was a slam-dunk for this audiobook performance. She has a fantastic, calm voice that reverberates with an undercurrent of strength. And the choice to have a woman in her sixties voice other women [characters] in their sixties is always the right move. In general, I'm finding that actors performing audiobook narration brings a more understated level of naturalistic performance than those of yore. They do so much more than reading out loud, and I am here for this transition.
I wasn’t sure what to expect when I first saw that Louise Penny and Hillary Rodham Clinton had teamed up to write State of Terror. At first, I felt skeptical about wanting to read this book but my curiosity won out. I actually listened the audio CD that was read by Joan Allen. State of Terror was most definitely a plot driven novel. It was fast paced, gripping and even suspenseful at times. Louise Penny used her writing talents to set the stage for a good mystery/thriller and combined them with the first hand knowledge Hillary Rodham Clinton brought to the table about international affairs and protocols to write State of Terror. Together they succeeded in writing a book that was compelling and hard to put down. Even Gamache found a role in State of Terror. It was pretty obvious who some of the political characters were in the book. Without giving too much away, State of Terror found newly appointed, yet a very questionable choice by the new President of the United States, Secretary of State, Ellen Adams, in a race against time. Only weeks after being appointed to her position, the Secretary of State was forced to navigate her way through Europe, the Middle East and Russia to diffuse a terrorist plot that included nuclear bombs. More problematic, Secretary Adams discovered that there were domestic traitors within the White House. Time was not on her side. Could she stop the nuclear bombs from going off, expose the traitors in the White House and win the respect of the President of the United States?
I enjoyed listening to the audio CD of State of Terror by Louise Penny and Hillary Rodham Clinton. The ending led me to believe that this duo will be collaborating in the future to write other books together. I look forward to reading them. I highly recommend this book.
I actually read the Hillary Rodham Clinton Louise Penny book. I think if people like Louise Penny books and don’t hate Hillary Clinton they’re going to like this book. If they don’t like Hillary Clinton they’re not going like this book. The main character is a secretary of state who definitely resembles her. The book storyline is more of a Democratic storyline than a Republican storyline including about the past president in the book. I did like it better than the James Patterson/Bill Clinton first book. I liked that book but not enough to read the second one. But I also have tended to not read James Patterson after the first few because I think they’re kind of formulaic. It has lots of intrigue and jet-setting to foreign lands. We get to go back to one of our favorite Quebec villages. If they write another one I’ll definitely read it. I enjoyed this book and wanted to find out what happened next when I was reading it. I also really liked that they named some of the characters after people who were important in their lives who have passed away. The authors notes talked about this.
I adore Penny's Gamache series. Her novels have it all... quirky characters, rich character development, humor, intrigue, mystery, sadness, hopefulness. Her talent is undeniable.
I admire Louise Penny. I abhor and detest Hillary Clinton.
Therefore, because of this collaboration, I will never again spend a dime on any Louise Penny work.
***** Additional comments:
Some think I shouldn't voice an opinion because I didn't read the book. Well, my first sentence explicitly states I didn't read the book. If this bothers you, don't waste your time reading the review. Why must people behave like the book review police dictating how this app should be used?
Also, now that we know the Russian collusion story is a fabrication, maybe I should reconsider reading this novel. Hillary has a proven track record of promoting fictional stories, so maybe her natural talent of spinning yarns will shine through in this book.
I read 'The President's daughter is missing' by James Patterson and Bill Clinton, loved it however boys move over because these ladies have done it in spades. What a book! I knew it would be good because Louise Penny is a great author and Hillary R. Clinton has been in the political world for years, also author, both are intelligent women however I didn't realize just how good it would be. It was FANTASTIC, fast paced, political thriller. Great characters, twists and turns. Realistic. I don't want to give anything away. loved it!! I'm hoping to see another fiction book by these great authors.
My condolences to both Author's losses of their loved ones.
The book grabbed me from the start. The story was interesting as were the characters. The book was written before the pullout from Afghanistan. I found it interesting how right on some of the comments in the book were and what actually happened when the Taliban moved in. It was more interesting to me that some of the key people in the book were based on real people. I could see that it would make it easier to write about someone you know than a made-up character. I do hope these two get together again for another book.
I read this as a hardback book published by Simon and Schuster and St. Martin Press. The book was 494 pages.
“An oxymoron walked into a bar…and the silence was deafening.” - State of Terror
Newly appointed Secretary of State Ellen Adams and her best friend/counselor Betsy Jameson communicate in code frequently. Theirs is a unique, special relationship that proves to be vitally critical in the early days of the new Douglas Williams Administration. Adams was a surprise pick for Secretary of State, having been Williams’ chief rival for the nomination in a hard-fought battle. Now, she has turned over her media empire to her daughter to accept this powerful position. But why would Williams make such a choice? Simple: keep your friends close and your enemies closer. To say that there is no love lost between the two is an understatement.
Williams has inherited a mess – to put it mildly. Clinton and Penny make no secret that the predecessor, Eric Dunn, is based on the real-life person dubbed “the former guy.” Oh boy! No holds barred!
When bombs go off in busses in three different cities around the world, all in one day, the new administration finds itself in a crisis. Secretary Adams, naturally, is right in the thick of things. She’s just off the plane from a disastrous meeting in Seoul, much to her surprise and chagrin. Was it sabotaged? Williams’ great dislike of Ellen, and of her son, journalist Gil Bahar, who was kidnapped by the Panthan and mysteriously escaped several years earlier rears its ugly head. Gil is now a practicing Muslim, which puts him on the radar screen, at least momentarily. However, national security comes first, which means that Secretary Allen must travel, and so travel she does.
“Air Force Three” makes more stops than Santa and his reindeer in this book! The Secretary and her faithful counselor Betsy travel to the Middle East, to Palm Springs, and even to Russia meeting with world leaders and the former guy in an attempt to learn more about the whereabouts of the man, the one they refer to as “Azhi Dahaka”, behind the bombs and, most importantly, the next target(s).
The plot is complex and filled with red herrings. I often felt confused, but I was confident that things would be sorted out at the end. If you’re a fan of Louise Penny’s Gamache, you may be pleased to know that there is brief mention of Three Pines and Chief Inspector Gamache. I wish I were more familiar with those stories. Fans of the 45th President may very well want to skip this book entirely. For others, especially those who love a good political thriller, this one is a fast-moving, highly engaging read. I found myself picturing HRC as Madame Secretary; I had no good image for her faithful sidekick, but I loved her loyalty and perseverance. I love the afterword in which the real Betsy is described; may she rest in peace. Other characters, especially Gil and the Foreign Service Officer, Anahita Dahir, were among my other favorites. What did he mean? I came to wonder, over and over, could Whitehead be trusted? For those who love action, there is more than enough tension and excitement; I can picture this becoming a movie or made-for-TV production someday.
If you have any thoughts of teaming up again, ladies, to quote General Whitehead, who was fond of quoting the poet, John Donne, “When thou hast done, thou hast not done, for I have more.”
A thrilling political page turner that kept me up past my bedtime & screwed with my normal morning routine (still no coffee). I imagine many will hate this book without even reading it due to Hillary Clinton being one of the authors but it’s their loss. She and Louise Penny have collaborated on a tightly paced, highly suspenseful novel that examines the underlining unrest and evil in our world. I’m sure Clinton’s time as Secretary of State influenced and gave real legitimacy to the Ellen Adam’s character. That alone is what gives this novel a sense of reality and frightening possibility. Writing a novel is difficult but collaborating with another author must be a challenging endeavor. Hopefully their success will lead to more novels in the future. This is escapism reading at it’s best and may not be everyone’s cup of tea but I really loved it.