Review

The Profession

by Steven Pressfield

Steven Pressfield has a great mind for military action and intrigue. He recently took readers back to World War II in the stunning book, KILLING ROMMEL. Earlier in his career he wrote the classic war novel GATES OF FIRE, which depicted the famous Battle of Thermopylae featuring the mighty Spartan warriors.

Real-world issues of today are turned into plausible and terrifying fiction by ex-Marine Steven Pressfield, who has written a novel that will appeal to fans of military fiction and super-charged international thrillers.

Now, with the release of his new thriller, THE PROFESSION, Pressfield has opted to take a look forward in time to the year 2032. Even though this is an entire generation from today, the troubles of the world and the crisis in the Middle East are still as prevalent and incendiary as it is in present times. At the onset of the novel, we are placed in a scenario where the third Iran-Iraq war has ended, and 11/11 is the new significant date in the war on terror as it symbolizes the destruction of a dirty bomb attack in Long Beach, California.

The chief concern in the world remains the struggle for oil. Global oil companies such as BP, ExxonMobil and Lukoil have each hired their own privately funded armies made up of mercenaries to protect their interests. These mercenary armies are the latest in cutting-edge military might and have become the protectors of choice even over the traditional military outfits that have fought for centuries. The world of 2032 is experiencing a "new" New World Order, where the country or organization with the mightiest army can bully their way out of any skirmish and hopefully squash global terrorism in the process.

Out of the ranks of this new mercenary warfare comes General James Salter. Once a well-respected and highly decorated U.S. military officer, Salter has now been exiled by U.S. President Cole and stripped of his marine stripes. He was accused of taunting the Chinese government during a potential nuclear skirmish that may have put the lives of millions at risk. Now, banished to the Far East, Salter decides not to go away quietly. Being a brilliant military strategist presents him with the opportunity to seize huge oil fields with his band of ruthless mercenaries and quickly position himself as one of the most feared and powerful people on the planet.

Just as today, where countries refuse to negotiate with terrorists, the global superpowers choose not to knuckle under to Salter's pressure and instead plot to take him down. To do so, they must task Gilbert "Gent" Gentilhomme --- once General Salter's most loyal foot soldier --- with bringing the deposed military man down. Gent is conflicted heavily by this burden as Salter is more than just a respected ex-leader but also a father figure to him. However, Gent recognizes the threat Salter poses to the U.S. and the rest of the world, and learns that his vengeance has no bounds. Salter will not stop until those who exiled are punished, and he sets himself up as the new Commander in Chief of the U.S. military.

THE PROFESSION draws obvious comparisons to recent military-for-hire groups like the Blackwater team that has been operating since the Gulf War. Seemingly under the radar, these mercenary bands have found a strong toehold in the war on terror as the founder of Blackwater, Erik Prince, has recently been hired by a world leader to protect the interests of the United Arab Emirates territory. Real-world issues of today are turned into plausible and terrifying fiction by ex-Marine Steven Pressfield, who has written a novel that will appeal to fans of military fiction and super-charged international thrillers.

Reviewed by Ray Palen on July 3, 2011

The Profession
by Steven Pressfield

  • Publication Date: May 15, 2012
  • Genres: Fiction, Thriller
  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Broadway
  • ISBN-10: 0767931173
  • ISBN-13: 9780767931175