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The Fourth Order

3.66  ·  Rating details ·  711 Ratings  ·  51 Reviews
National security, terrorism, and human rights–these explosive issues lie at the heart of Stephen Frey’s riveting new thriller, a high-octane novel of suspense, revenge, and intrigue.

Dynamic chief financial officer Michael Rose is looking to add an exciting and profitable new dimension to energy conglomerate Trafalgar Industries via the major acquisition of CIS, a global
Paperback, 384 pages
Published January 27th 2009 by Ballantine Books (first published January 1st 2007)
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Rating details
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Oct 06, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I found this story disappointing. Lots of bad things happen to decent people and injustice rules the day for the most part. 2 of 10 stars
Mar 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A political thriller book that links special ops, corporate take overs, brutal interrogation methods, family dynamics, and love affairs.
Sep 02, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, not-finished
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 03, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
There were a few great moments in this book, but they were few and far between. Unrealistic and unlikeable characters with a predictable plot. There were interesting contemporary issues explored, i.e., domestic spying, terrorism, torture etc., but the plot was choppy and sometimes downright boring. And most of all, don't give me a protagonist that I hate from the first page -- he works late, engages in relationship with not-so-sweet young thing the day after his wife is killed in auto accident - ...more
Donna Halloran
Apr 02, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Yuck! I think part of the problem is that the concept behind the book - there is a group, run by the president, that illegally detains and tortures US citizens to protect us from terrorism - was so distasteful to me that I just couldn't enjoy the book. Also, the lead character was beyond repulsive. He was so self-absorbed. I don't know if the author knows men like this, is a man like this, or thinks men are like this, but the main characters blatant disregard for his daughter's happiness was too ...more
Aug 28, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a political thriller book that links special ops, corporate take overs, brutal interrogation methods, family dynamics, and love affairs. The author had been a corporate finance force, so the writing is not flabby on that end. The writing style is something like 5 pages on 1 character or story, then 5 pages on a different but related story and character, and so forth. It builds to a climax (planes, terrorists - you know the drill), but the ending was muffed. It didn't have a good conclusi ...more
Jun 25, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: general-fiction
A USA agency, (The Fourth Order) inside the CIA and involved in anti-terrorist activities has a licence to kill anybody, even inocent American citizens to protect America, and make the president look good. An election is coming up. A highly placed government official has been sacked by the president and forms a group to expose the activities of the Fourth Order which have got out of hand, killing inocent people, he wants the president embarresed so he doesn't win the election. The main character ...more
Nov 25, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is great mystery. Michael Rose, CFO for a large financial services company finds himself in the midst of a battle between forces in the US government seeking to fight terrrorism. Raises important questions about the role of government in invading personal privacy in the interest of national security, Beyond that it is a well written read, where even the bad guys seem somewhat human.

Reread in Jan 2014 - it is good to see someone question the hyper-vigilant security state and fear mongering a
Bryan Waters
Feb 08, 2009 rated it liked it
The story is fantastic get into the story, you get caught up in the plot twists, the book starts to come to a climax and can almost hear the phone call from the editor saying "You've got to finish this book!" The book ends with a couple of gratuitous chapters that try to wrap the whole thing up in just a few pages. Terribly disappointing...either the author was too ambitious and had to rush it or he got bored. Great story...rushed finish.

For the record, Stephen Frey is one o
This book should have been so much better than it was. It has interesting characters and a dynamite plot concept, but the execution of it just fell flat for me. There were so many gaps and dangling ends and things that just did not add up that I found myself totally frustrated throughout. And after all the build-up, the ending seemed almost cursory. Most of all, though, I was constantly thrown off when the main character was called "Rose" because, with all those characters to keep track of, I ke ...more
I picked this up at the thrift store and it may be a decent read, but it turned me off from the beginning. He lost me on page 2 when he's staring at an attractive young woman in the bar and thinks..."Mid to late twenties, he guessed. Old enough to be worldly, young enough to be impressionable." I think I threw up in my mouth a little bit. Decided life is too short to waste time on main characters you immediately don't like. Unless it has the promise of an interesting character or book - not a th ...more
Jill Miller
I'm a huge Frey fan, but he fell a bit flat this time. All of the elements for another great thriller were there, but they just weren't tied together successfully. It's almost as if he was writing the book and suddenly realized that he needed to end it, so BOOM -- all story lines came crashing to an end. Also, none of the characters in this book were very likeable.....I just wanted them all to go away. I recommend just skipping this book unless you have nothing else to read -- be has written so ...more
Interesting enough story, corporate takeover combined with terrorists and corrupt gov't officials. The main character totally unlikable - was more concerned about a work meeting than his wife's sudden death, had a new girlfriend before the wife was buried, snuck off from the funeral leaving his kids behind to take care of business - just a real jerk.
3.5 for the general story, 2 for the unliklable characters, 3 overall.
Mar 07, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: stephen-frey
I like Stephen Frey books but this one wasn't great. There were too many characters and the characters weren't fully developed. Michael Rose, the main character, wife dies and there's almost zippo grieving. In fact, the day after his wife dies, he's out on a date with a woman half his age. He experiences teenage boy syndrome in his "relationship" with this woman - it's called hormones. If you're a Frey fan, it's a must read but his other books are much better.
Marc Brooks
My first Frey novel. Narrative was good, but the story line dragged too much in character setup (how about less random people and more actual interest in the individuals?). The later 1/3 of the book felt like the editor said "okay, time to wrap it up" and Frey panicked. Every story line suddenly converge like a Beijing traffic circle, with similar confusion.
Oct 15, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Diane V-R
An interesting plot that will keep you mildly interested for its duration. The "hero" in the book is very unlikable and has you cringing about his choices and reactions. The other characters don't weasel their way into your affections either. As a result I didn't become emotionally invested in anyone and was blase to the outcome. A great pity as this would have pushed the book up to a new level.
Apr 14, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Could very well be the worst book I have every read. I only finished it to ensure that I could declare, without hesitancy, that from start to finish it is one of the most horrendous pieces of "literature" ever crafted. Poor and unbelievable characters, predictable twists and turns, and chock full of plot devices birthed in convenience and laziness.

Absolutely stay away from this clunker.
Feb 13, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book had great potential, however the author was more concerned with interpersonal drama than actuall events. The underlying atmosphere he created was excellent, however the story had little content that was of interest. Too many characters, nearly impossible to delinate the protagonist from the antagonist. Sadly could have been much, much better.

Started 2,11,2010
Finished 2,15,2010
This book from Frey follows a super secretive government group in charge of finding terrorists. Financier Michael Rose is trying to takeover one of the companies that helps them target terrorists and they pull out all stops to try and stop him. A typical reused Frey plotline, ok read.
Jane Ann
Lead character is a dud. I kept reading but Michael Rose is unbelievably stupid and naive for a grown man much less for a supposedly hard nosed CFO. His attraction to the blond bimbo was beyond stupid. The only thing that made me finish was the conspiracy.
Jan 17, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller
This is a great thriller with all the twists and turns. I found it easy to keep the large cast of characters in mind and the only disappointment in the book is I didn't really like any of them! Let' hope our government has not gone this far in keeping 'tabs' on us!
Jan 12, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The premise of the plot was fabulous. Unfortunately, Frey gave it a lacklustre group of characters, unimaginative writing that sometimes made me think I was reading a Barbara Cartland novel, and a fairytale ending that resolved in 2 pages what happened in the previous 400
May 22, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lots of twists and turns - a good read.
Apr 29, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've liked other Frey thrillers, which are generally good beach reading, but this one didn't grab me as much.
Tom Holt
Dec 15, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: owned
The Fourth Order: A Novel by Stephen Frey (no date)
Feb 09, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
good. enjoyable fast paced read.
Jul 13, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Was just to far fetched... and the fast summation.
Ending was a little rushed
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For the last 15 years I’ve been lucky enough to be a novelist. Until recently the books were set in the worlds of Wall Street and Washington. In addition to writing, I’ve also had a career in finance with specialties including merger & acquisition advisory and private equity at firms like J.P. Morgan in New York City and Winston Partners just outside D.C. in northern Virginia.

So, it seemed na
More about Stephen W. Frey...