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I Want a New Title! > the results of failure - plots where good guys lose

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message 1: by Joshua S (new)

Joshua S Hill (joshuashill) | 1 comments Can anyone recommend an espionage or political thriller where they *fail* to stop the big terrorist attack, and which maybe even continues in further books beyond the event?

I'd like to consume some fictional narrative where I get to see the ramifications of failure - such as what we see in the TV show 'Designated Survivor'.


message 2: by Feliks, Moderator (last edited Sep 11, 2019 06:45AM) (new)

Feliks (dzerzhinsky) | 1070 comments Mod
That's a fabulous question.

I can name one immediately, okay it is really a science-fiction-ey/ thriller, but let me cite it while I conjur up some others. Invader by Albert Fay Hill. This is the most epic story of failure possible.


message 3: by Feliks, Moderator (new)

Feliks (dzerzhinsky) | 1070 comments Mod
'Red Storm Rising' by Tom Clancy


message 4: by Jarrod (new)

Jarrod | 15 comments Under the heading of Clancy - you could say that "Debt of Honor" and "Sum of All Fears" might be what you are looking for based on the question in the title. In the former, almost all of the US gov't is wiped out in a terrorist attack. In the latter, there is a nuclear device set off in the US. The aftermath of that one is very interesting as it's used to set the US and the Russians against each other.

The day of the jackal is an interesting thought when posed against this thought. Is the primary character a "good guy"? No, not really, but he also doesn't "win". If he had, I think it would better fit your question. I also think it would have made a better book - but that's my opinion and probably the minority.


message 5: by Feliks, Moderator (new)

Feliks (dzerzhinsky) | 1070 comments Mod
Hmmm. Had never considered this before. I'm not against it but just curious as to how that would have plaved out. How could the Jackal possibly have 'earned' his contract? De Gaulle wasnt assassinated in real life. And I must say I like the final mystery posed, no one being quite sure who he was. Should one of the dumdum bullets have tagged the leader, put him in the hospital?


message 6: by Samuel (new)

Samuel  | 647 comments Joshua S wrote: "Can anyone recommend an espionage or political thriller where they *fail* to stop the big terrorist attack, and which maybe even continues in further books beyond the event?

I'd like to consume so..."


Day of Reckoning (Shadow Warriors #2) by Stephen England

There is an excellent indie published novel which is the second in what is a growing series of 4 novels and several novellas. It is a Post 9/11 thriller about a large scale, highly complex terrorist attack mounted by Islamic Extremists on a major American population center. And unlike other Post 9/11 thrillers where the bomb is stopped in time.....the bomb that is stopped in time is only one part of several meaning that the rest of the terrorist attack goes off without a hitch leading to massive civilian and law enforcement casualties. And too add insult to injury, while the terrorist leader has his expendable terrorist cell killed around him, he escapes and manages to gun down several people the protagonist was trying to protect.

Embrace the Fire (Shadow Warriors #3) by Stephen England
The ramifications of such a terror attack are then explored in the third book which also has a terrorist attack of its own, but one which is successfully stopped despite multiple British Metropolitan Police officers getting murdered in a pitched gun battle defending the Sovereign from a massive death squad of 40 terrorists armed to the teeth and equipped to storm her holiday home up in Scotland.

The protagonist stops the attack but because he's gone rogue and because he's murdered and committed so many crimes to get to that point, he's hunted by his own people and becomes a marked man in the eyes of MI5 and MI6. No medals on the White House Lawn for him.


message 7: by Samuel (new)

Samuel  | 647 comments Joshua S wrote: "Can anyone recommend an espionage or political thriller where they *fail* to stop the big terrorist attack, and which maybe even continues in further books beyond the event?

I'd like to consume so..."


The American (Ryan Kealey, #1) by Andrew Britton
The Assassin (Ryan Kealey, #2) by Andrew Britton
The Invisible (Ryan Kealey, #3) by Andrew Britton
The Exile (Ryan Kealey, #4) by Andrew Britton

The quartet the writer Andrew Britton wrote would also be up your alley. Diametrically opposed to the Vince Flynn stop the plot save the day type wish fulfillment. Protagonist is young, handsome, a badass green beret with the world at his feet, but over the course of 4 books, he is systematically destroyed as a human being and ends up as a depressed shell who tries to drown himself in bloodshed to forget past failures.

First book, he stops the bomb but the bad guy sticks a 9 inch steak knife through his girlfriend's neck and shoots him with a HK USP compact just before the protagonist throws his nemesis off a cliff.

Second book, stops the bomb again but careers have been destroyed, his new girlfriend gets mutilated by the big bad and they're all thoroughly disillusioned by the whole sorry experience.

Third novel, a successful hostage rescue mission goes down but a crazed Spanish - American retired CIA officer makes the protagonists girlfriend disappear the way the Argentine Junta made people they did not like disappear, and before that the protagonist fails to help his girlfriend conquer the morphine addiction she's developed in between books 2 and 3 or convince her that the operations shoot shoot bang bang side of the business is not for her.

Fourth book, is the only one with a real happy ending. A very angry and depressed protagonist, moved by the super - hero complex he has is convinced to take one final job to hunt down the conspiracy that ended with the President's god daughter dead and he manages to do the job and at the end of the novel he meets a rather nice female therapist/counselor with hints of a healthier relationship and the start of getting his humanity back.


message 8: by Samuel (new)

Samuel  | 647 comments Joshua S wrote: "Can anyone recommend an espionage or political thriller where they *fail* to stop the big terrorist attack, and which maybe even continues in further books beyond the event?

I'd like to consume so..."



Ghost Target (Ryan Drake #6) by Will Jordan

I would recommend you this book which is number 6 in an 8 part series, but you would have to read the previous 5 books before that to understand the context. However, it fits your criteria and then some. Book 6 has the bad guys win and kill and capture nearly all the protagonists in one fell swoop.


message 9: by Trevor (new)

Trevor Dennis (trevor_dennis) | 2 comments I'll second the Andrew Britton 'Ryan Kealey' series. They are right up there with some the best reads I can remember.


message 10: by Trevor (new)

Trevor Dennis (trevor_dennis) | 2 comments Another series that might fit your criteria is Mick Herron's Slough House books. The whole concept of Slough House is an offshoot of the UK's security service where failed spies are sent in disgrace. They have all messed up badly, or have been set up to look as they have, but misfits they may be, but you'd need to go a long way to find a more colourful set of characters. They range from drunks to borderline psychopaths, and their leader is utterly over the top, but deadly when he sets his mind to it. The writing reminds me of John Le Carre, but with a laugh on every page. I rate it as a favourite series along with Lee Child, and Daniel Silva.


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