Blowback (Scot Harvath Series #4)

Blowback (Scot Harvath Series #4)

by Brad Thor

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Scot Harvath’s counterterrorism career has just crashed and burned—thanks in part to a ruthless senator with her sights set on the White House. But when the war on terror takes a chilling turn, the president has no choice but to secretly bring Harvath back inside. Deep beneath an Alpine glacier, an ancient weapon designed to decimate the Roman Empire has been unearthed—and a shadowy organization intends to use it for America’s downfall. Racing across Europe, Harvath must secure the ultimate instrument of destruction before it brings the United States and the rest of the world to their knees.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781451608281
Publisher: Pocket Books
Publication date: 02/22/2011
Series: Scot Harvath Series , #4
Pages: 688
Sales rank: 34,541
Product dimensions: 4.00(w) x 7.50(h) x 1.70(d)

About the Author

Brad Thor is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of twenty thrillers, including Near Dark, Backlash (one of Suspense Magazine’s Best Books of the Year), Spymaster (declared by The Washington Times as “one of the all-time best thriller novels”), The Last Patriot (nominated best thriller of the year by the International Thriller Writers Association), Blowback (one of the “Top 100 Killer Thrillers of All Time” by NPR), and The Lions of Lucerne. Visit his website at to learn more.

Read an Excerpt


Col de la Traversette

French-Italian Alps

Donald Ellyson tried to scream, but nothing happened. He had done a lot of reprehensible things in his fifty-five years, but this was not how he had expected to die -- his throat sliced and hot blood running down the front of his parka. This was supposed to be the discovery of his life, the one that would legitimize him and land him at the top of the academic heap. But the moment of his greatest triumph had suddenly become the last moment he would ever know. And for what? Did his benefactors actually think he was going to stiff them?

Sure, he was known to gamble, and yes, he often stole artifacts from archeological digs to sell on the black market, but so did a lot of other people. It was just the way the world worked. Certainly, the punishment shouldn't be death.

It was only three years ago that Ellyson had joined a group of archeologists excavating a site southwest of Istanbul. During the dig, a hidden room with a vast trove of parchments had been discovered. Upon closer inspection, the documents appeared to be remnants of the famous Library of Alexandria, which was considered to be the greatest collection of books in the ancient world.

The library had been almost completely destroyed by the Romans who sacked and burned it in both the third and fourth centuries. It was widely assumed that the balance of the library's contents were destroyed when the Muslims, under the Caliph Umar I, laid siege in 640, but as Ellyson and his colleagues pored over the documents, they realized how wrong that supposition was. Someone at some point in history had apparently managed to preserve a large portion of what remained.

Ellyson was fascinated by what the parchments contained. One in particular was absolutely astounding. It was written in Greek and detailed a firsthand account of one of the most brilliant and most deadly undertakings in ancient history. He never catalogued that manuscript and went to great pains to make sure no one else on the dig even knew of its existence.

It was a treasure map of sorts, and though it did not have a great big X marking the spot, it promised unfathomable rewards. Once out of Istanbul, Ellyson went straight to the most likely source of funding for an expedition like this. He had been in the game long enough to know players who would jump at the chance to get their hands on what the manuscript suggested was waiting out there. And, indeed, the promise contained within the manuscript proved irresistible to his erstwhile partners.

Like Ellyson, those partners had read the classical accounts of Livy and Polybius, as well as works by renowned historians such as Gibbon, Zanelli, Vanoyeke, and a host of others too numerous to list. The more the partners read, the more they learned, and the more they learned, the more they became intrigued with the potential power of Ellyson's discovery.

Based on the archeologist's request, the partners spent millions on aerial surveys by planes, helicopters, and even satellites, combing many of the Alpine passes between southern France and Italy in hope of locating a particularly valuable item referred to in the parchment.

Ellyson had defied convention, turning his back on the more popular historical locations, as none of them fit the picture he had cobbled together from his ancient texts. Good fortune, though, did not smile upon his undertaking. Still, despite the lack of progress, the archeologist was confident he'd be successful in the end.

Though at times money was extremely difficult to come by, the men funding Ellyson's search did whatever they had to do to keep the coffers full. Their organization had been searching for decades for just this type of find and couldn't stop now. The power it promised to deliver was too important to give up on over something as trivial as money.

It wasn't until recently, aided by three summers of record-setting heat across Europe, that the snow had begun to melt, glaciers had begun to recede, and, near the Col de la Traversette, Ellyson had uncovered the first pieces of archeological evidence that proved he was on the right track -- straps of leather from an ancient harness, shards of pottery, and a small collection of broken weapons. He had narrowed a staggering field of haystacks to just one, but that one was replete with fathomless gorges and crevices, any number of which might contain his needle.

The Col de la Traversette was one of the most treacherous and highest mountain passes in all of France. Over the centuries, both French and Italian authorities had attempted to sabotage parts of it in the hope of stemming smuggling between their countries, but the pass lived on. A mere ten meters wide at the summit, the remote pathway was only accessible during a short period between mid-summer and early fall -- and even then conditions could still be unbearable. Locals referred to the region's weather as eight months of winter followed by four months of hell.

Despite these daunting obstacles, Ellyson had finally found his needle. He was a much better archeologist than he had ever given himself credit for. And the interesting thing about it was that the group funding his project wasn't even concerned with the entire find, only a part of it -- the part he had used as bait. It was all that had been necessary to get them to finance the operation. What they wanted from the find was a mere token to him, something he could easily do without. It was, in his mind, a minor footnote that had been lost to history. If his benefactors were willing to cover the cost of his entire project, he had no intention of denying them such a small item in return.

Even now from his prone position on the floor, Ellyson could see the object they had been after -- a long, intricately carved wooden chest. It was right there -- theirs for the taking. He didn't need or want it. So why did they have to kill him? Nobody would have ever known that the box, or more importantly what was inside it, was missing. Much like me, thought Ellyson as he heard the sound of his two Sherpas approaching and watched as his killer removed a small-caliber automatic from his parka.

After calmly replacing the pistol in his pocket, the assassin stared at the wooden, coffinlike box. For over two thousand years, the ancient weapon had lain beyond the reach of man, frozen within the glacial ice of this remote Alpine chasm, but all of that was about to change. The assassin removed a satellite phone from inside his coat and dialed the ten-digit number for his employer -- a man known to him only as the Scorpion.

Copyright (c) 2005 by Brad Thor

Customer Reviews

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Blowback 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 194 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'm a huge Vince Flynn and David Baldacci fan so moving over to Brad Thor seemed like a natural move. I am thoroughly impressed with the combining of imagination with realism. The details were spot on and the protagonist , Scot Harvath, is not a super hero, just a mere mortal with mortal thoughts and reactions. Being a retired Special Ops Operator and Senior Enlisted Leader has given me a critical eye in most thrillers containing protagonist military, or para-military backgrounds. Suffice to say, Mr Harvath truly captures the essence of a Spec Ops Warrior. Very nicely done Mr. Thor, I'll be reading the rest of your novels.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Follows along with what is going on in the world today. Hopefully we have the Scot Harvath type working for us.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Story line interesting enjoy the historical facts could cut out many no need to know info and shorten the pages good read moves long
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Fantastic page turner; Scot Horvath matures.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
2nd Paperback I have received with missing or miss cut pages in the middle of the book. 20 pages of repeated chapter and this one was 16 pages cut off at the top. Please tell me how someone could not see a gap of 16 pages. I am currently reading this book and as always Brad Thor is excellent.
Laurel_Ayers More than 1 year ago
From the very first chapter, the book had my attention. I admit, I am a picky reader. It's hard to find an author I really enjoy. Brad Thor has officially made my list of favorite authors. Page after page. I never wanted to put it down- cover to cover, a perfect masterpiece!
Ed333 More than 1 year ago
Once again Scott Harvath has saved our nation and preserved our way of life. Brad Thor has suceeded in keeping the reader engrossed and anticipating the next turn in this exciting drama. If you love the thrill of the chase, the twists of politics and the fall of the bad guy you will like this latest installment.
sbd1988 More than 1 year ago
After Scot Harvath's career just went down the drain due to video of him beating up the wrong guy, the United States faces yet another attack; this time, an illness with mysterious symptoms that belong in Bram Stoker's Dracula. In Blowback, the fourth novel of Brad Thor's series about the infamous Scot Harvath, he and the rest of his team must find the source before the president must begin Campfire Protocol - a last resort that no one hopes it will come to. A continuation of the adrenaline pumping action in each page, I thought this was another great book for The Ultimate Reading Adventure. This book takes the reader from the U.S. to Afghanistan, England, France, Italy, Switzerland, Saudi Arabia, and Mexico. Like the rest of Thor's books, this one has everything the reader could want: humor, action / adventure, romance, suspense, and emotion. The message brought out in this novel through Harvath's realization that he cannot continue working forever the way he has in the past is that even when dedicated to a cause, one must have something outside of work to hold onto, no matter how good that cause is.
LenCW More than 1 year ago
Thor never disappoints. His knowledge of history in amazing.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Just when I thought he couldn't come up with anything better, Surprise, Surprise!!!! Have read them all, this one sizzles. I can't wait for anything new from Brad. A great story teller. His story lines are terrific and his plots never fail to entertain.
Guest More than 1 year ago
If you want a page turning thriller with a modest historical bend as well as modern day action then this book is a winner. This was my first Brad Thor novel and I must say it was a captivating read. I liked the mix of action and technology and history. The premise is that Hannibal¿s famous crossing of the Alps to invade Rome suffered a severe loss of its secrete weapon involving biological warfare. Wow, that is a nice set up for a modern thriller! Scott Harvath, the main character is seen on live Arab TV capturing a suspected terrorist. Talk about a real bad day for a government spook. The result is rioting by Muslims and increased worldwide tensions between Westerners and the Arab World. For instance Scott openly wonders what he will do if he is kicked out of the clandestine service he works for? How many folks have worried about losing their job and can relate to the anxiety this stress causes? Then there is the worry that he will be exposed to the millions of Muslims who are calling out death threats against him and pressuring America to give him up or else. This book seems as if it was inspired by today¿s headlines, but with a stressed out hero inserted for good measure. I will check out future Brad Thor novels as I come across them. His writing style is just what the bored air traveler ordered, not too much technology to bog down the tension and with just enough unique historical potential for this plot to be plausible.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I've read all of Brad Thor's books and this one is another among my all time favorites. The main character Scot Harvath is back again and although I am not going to give the story away, I finished it in one day, very thrilling. Harvath is after terrorists and there is an interesting plot of history going on as well reguarding Hannibals Army crossing over the mountain passes in France with a bio weapon. Another reason why I enjoy reading Brad Thor is that he never overplays the various locations around the world that Harvath travels to like many authors do. He gives you just enough to get the flavor of a location vs. trying to write in a travel manuscript to cover for actual story. It's the little things that are important to me as a reader and if I wanted a travel book, I would have bought one. Brad Thor's books are thrilling from start to B.S. and I can not wait for the next one.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hillsboro More than 1 year ago
This is the fourth book by Mr. Thor that I have read. Why it took me four books to figure out the plot outline is a question to be thought about over a beer. Plot outline: 1. Super agent is tasked with saving the president/the country/the world. 2. Has at least one encounter with the bad guy in the first two chapters. Vows to kill him. 3. Meets gorgeous, well educated, indepent woman who reluctantly agrees to help solve the mystery. She is targeted for assination by the bad guy, but he misses due to the Super agent arriving just in time. 4. Together the Super Agent and Gorgeous Woman solve the mystery and kill the bad guy just in time to prevent a cataclsm. One has to wonder if the 18th book has the same outline? Boring.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
stang50logan on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Good book by Thor, very detailed and somewhat to a fault at it was a bit too long. Worth the read though.
Talbin on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Blowback: A Thriller is another quick and easy read from Brad Thor. Scot Harvath, federal agent, returns to fight international terrorism. This time he's dealing with a militant Islamic group intent on bringing back the Ottoman Empire. To achieve their ends, they plan to release an ancient disease, with the antidote only available to specific sects of Muslims.This book is much more tightly plotted than the previous books by Thor that I've read. It's a good weekend read - either on the beach in summer or in front of a fire in winter.
jmcclain19 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Once again, while everyone else is looking one direction, Thor manages to take you in a completely different one with Blowback. The concept for the novel is just so off the charts its completely believable - that Islamic Terrorists have discovered Hannibal's ancient biological weapon that was originally designed to destroy the Romans. And they plan on using it against America. Great primer to start with if you've got any interest in bioweapons, ancient paleontology or a history of Roman Europe. If the book has any flaws, it's that the nonstop, cover to cover action definitely focuses more on the action than character development. That seems to be his MO but it's even more pronounced here.
libri_amor on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A recent stay in Myrtle Beach, SC gave me the opportunity to devour a couple of Brad Thor's adventure yarns including Blowback. Once again Thor is focused on the escapades of ex-SEAL Scot Harvath. If you you decide to read Blowback, start with The Lions of Lucerne. Though not critical, Harvath's relationship with FBI Director Lawlor and President Rutledge in Blowback is based somewhat on their mutual experiences in Lions.As with all books in this genre, the reader has to suspend reality abit when it comes to the bad guys trying to kill Harvath. As one of the bad guys in Lions puts it, Scot seems to have more lives than a cat. Of course, Thor doesn't let Harvath escape totally unscathed. He gets wounded, kicked, punched and bruised over most of his body all the while pursuing and being pursued. But of course, by the next encounter Harvath has healed/ recovered just enough to put down a bad guy or rescue his beautiful companion!The overall result is again a book that isn't in the genre of great literature but you will have a hard time putting down. Have some fun and give it a read!
ORFisHome on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A great connect-the-dots thriller but with a couple of drawbacks. The advance blurbs billed this book as a story in which Scot Harvath tries to avoid a dogged Senator that is trying to eject him from the American intelligence and special agent services. This was only a minor part of the book, though, and seemed better suited to a movie script than the storyline of the book. The other quibble was that the story dragged on just a bit too long for me. Parts of it could have been left out, and the story still would have been whole. Nonetheless, I really enjoyed this installment of Brad Thor because of the biowarfare and deep historical lessons presented. It was easy to follow and fascinating to read about the use of technology and biological knowledge in ancient history. This book is a wonderful primer on the roots and goals of radical Islam as well. Thor is a war-gamer and consultant to the American government, and it shows in this book. The plot is eerily similar to many of the things discussed in the more serious analyses of radical Islamic and geopolitics. Another great book from Thor that would appeal to both the shoot-em-up action lovers and the brain-twisting spy lovers.
MSWallack on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book is best described as Secret Agent meets Indiana Jones. The story was pretty good (certainly more enjoyable than State of the Union) if a bit farfetched. While I liked it, it somehow did not feel like a Scot Harvath novel. I also made the mistake of reading this novel in close proximity to one of Vince Flynn's Mitch Rapp books (who, I contend, Scot Harvath most closely resembles). Unfortunately, while Scot Harvath is a good character, he's no Mitch Rapp.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Scott was great book was a little long
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am a gril haveing sex
Anonymous More than 1 year ago