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The Fifth Column


Product Description

When your oath is to defend the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic, no duration is defined—and there is no statute of limitations…

Luke Archer is a retired Special Forces Colonel and CIA operator who never expected—or wanted—to go back to those days of living in the shadows and at the tip of the spear. But when he wakes up early one morning to the sound of a helicopter landing in his front yard, those hopes and expectations are forever dashed. Called back to Langley, he’s asked to identify an elusive terrorist leader, known as “The Ghost,” who only he can identify. Reluctantly, Archer agrees to assist, and in the aftermath of that operation, his life is turned upside down.

Reuniting with his former team members, he learns that an old teammate has been deliberately poisoned with a rare substance that only sophisticated nation-states possess. Launching his own investigation, Archer suddenly finds himself as the FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorist, fighting an entrenched government network of high-level officials who will stop at nothing to take over the United States from within. 

In a deadly race against time, through the unseen corridors of power, Archer uncovers dark forces that threaten the security and stability of the nation, leading to a personal revelation that is all but impossible for him to conceive. 

Riveting, explosive, and all-too-evocative of today’s political environment, The Fifth Column is an unforgettable story that has been torn from today’s headlines. 

John Fenzel and Tom Rendall have created a page-turning thriller that provides extraordinary view of our nation’s history, our democracy, and those who have taken an oath to support and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic.

Author Bios:
JOHN FENZEL is a retired senior Special Forces officer who served on our nation’s battlefields throughout Europe and the Middle East. He served on the personal staffs of the Secretary of Defense, Army Chief of Staff, and the Vice President of the United States. Following the Cold War, he led the first U.S. deployments to the Baltic States. He lives with his wife and three children in Annapolis, Maryland. He is also the author of The Lazarus Covenant and The Sterling Forest.

TOM RENDALL is a retired senior Special Forces officer. An accomplished historian, strategist, and planner of intelligence and special operations, he has served in war and crisis zones around the world. He lives with his wife on a horse ranch in Leavenworth, Kansas. The Fifth Column is his first novel.

Praise for The Fifth Column:
"Unbelievably compelling. Masterful. …a gripping, addictive thriller that grabs you from the very beginning, and never lets you go …simply impossible to put down, with an ending you won’t see coming."  - Steven PressfieldThe Legend of Bagger Vance and Gates of Fire
"Helping out a cancer-ridden friend, a former Green Beret colonel and CIA operative uncovers a conspiracy involving U.S. government officials in this thriller. Widower Luke Archer has left the Special Forces and CIA behind and is now a fifth-grade teacher in Maine. But he launches his own mission after visiting John Lee, an old pal from the Army, who’s in the hospital dying of cancer. Lee refused to sell his mountain cabin and property to his new neighbors, the Department of Energy, whose mysterious work nearby likely toxified his water, killing his dogs. Looking into the Notice of Eminent Domain Lee’s just received, Archer learns the department is doing rock melting, a method for disposing of nuclear waste. The true instigator, however, is V-Tec, a massive nuclear energy conglomerate that maintains a low profile. Archer digs into the company’s funding, especially once it’s clear that Lee’s illness wasn’t accidental but a deliberate poisoning. Archer and his team, including ex–Mossad agent Machla “Max” Peretz, tie V-Tec to some politicians calling themselves the Soldiers of the Union and targeting government peers for assassination. Taking down the SU, however, will be problematic due in large part to the baddies framing Archer for murder and terrorism. The novel, by Fenzel (The Sterling Forest, 2016, etc.) and debut author Rendall, sports a speedy momentum, with action in sudden bursts, presented in various styles. A standout scene, for example, is Max facing off against would-be assailants, all relayed to Archer via text messages. There’s a plethora of surprises as well; at least one of Archer’s colleagues doesn’t make it to the end while a character’s reveal late in the narrative is genuinely shocking. The protagonist’s curious back story entails his capture and torture years ago by a Pakistani militia and the case of his wife’s murder, still cold after more than a decade. Moreover, his scenes with a veterinarian named Elena Campbell are smartly understated, a potential romance that doesn’t sideline the main plot. Appealing heroes whom readers should cheer in every confrontation, explosive or otherwise." - Kirkus Review, November 6, 2017

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Breathe Press
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