Amazing thrill ride.....very timely!
Just have to say, this is quite an action adventure yarn that had me at the edge of my seat the entire time. Also have to say that the author seemed to have done a lot of research about the Middle Eastern settings and about Islamic terrorism. I'm surprised the real creators of 24 haven't come up with this kind of prequel idea, it could easily be made into a real season. Here we see Jack Bauer start out as an innocent, inexperienced soldier who is thrust into a crisis that molds him into the hero we all know he will eventually become. There are many plot twists worthy of 24 with the web of terrorists and corrupt government officials where nobody can be trusted. On one hand, the story gives us villains we love to hate and we get a sense of satisfaction as Jack and his friends unleash hell on them. On the other hand, the story doesn't shy away from the emotional toll it takes on all of the characters. And be forewarned, this story does get into some disturbing territory, including an extended plot arc involving terrorists storming an Israeli high school and holding children hostage, killing many of them. Unfortunately, this isn't particularly unrealistic in today's world.
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I liked Jack's fictional love interest here who is a young female Israeli soldier named Rachel. Throughout the entire story she is vulnerable and inexperienced, but is still very courageous and dedicated to the mission and to Jack. Audrey still is and will always be my favorite love interest for Jack Bauer followed by Renee, but Rachel is a very believable and likable character and her pairing with Jack was very well written.
My only criticism would be that the action can border on over the top sometimes with an extremely high body count even by 24 standards.