Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio (Audiobook – 13 September 2022)
Series: Mitch Rapp – Book 21
Length: 9 hours and 23 minutes
My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Fantastic spy fiction author Kyle Mills continues his excellent stewardship of the late, great Vince Flynn’s Mitch Rapp series, with the new action-packed thriller, Oath of Loyalty.
I have had a lot of fun with some cool spy thriller series over the last few years, but one series that keeps on pulling me back in is the ultra-compelling Mitch Rapp series. Originally written by Vince Flynn, the Mitch Rapp series follows rugged American spy Mitch Rapp as he wages a brutal war against America’s enemies. While sometimes a little too nationalistic for my tastes, the Mitch Rapp series nonetheless has some outstanding and inventive scenarios in its arsenal, with the protagonists forced to take on some dangerous enemies and crazy situations. Since Flynn’s death, the series has been taken over by Kyle Mills, who has continued the tradition of compelling high-concept spy action. I have had a great time reading Mills’s recent contributions to this series, with awesome reads like Red War, Lethal Agent, Total Power and Enemy at the Gate, all of which were extremely fascinating stories that proved very hard to put down. As such, I am always very keen to check out the new Mitch Rapp adventure, and I was really drawn into the fascinating plot of the 21st Mitch Rapp novel, Oath of Loyalty.
After a lifetime of protecting the country he loves from terrorists, enemy nations and foreign spies, the shoe is on the other foot as Mitch Rapp finds himself as America’s most wanted man. The corrupt and paranoid President Anthony Cook is determined to shape America into a personal kingdom that he and his calculating wife can rule for years. However, after Mitch Rapp foils Cook’s plan to destroy his greatest rival, Rapp is now in the firing line.
Convinced that Rapp will attempt to assassinate him, especially as his actions have resulted in the death of one of Rapp’s oldest friends, Cook attempts to eliminate him, only to have Rapp slip through his fingers. With neither side wishing to be at war with the other, the President and Rapp manage to negotiate a truce through former-CIA director Irene Kennedy, by which Rapp will remain untouched if he agrees to leave America and stay in plain sight for as long as the Cooks control the White House. However, the ambitious new head of the CIA is determined to win the President’s influence and manages to convince Cook that Rapp still plans to kill him. To stop Rapp from coming after them, the new administration decides to attack those closest to him by leaking the identity and location of Rapp’s partner, Claudia Gould, to her many enemies.
Soon, everyone Claudia and her dead assassin husband ever crossed is out to get her. Despite Rapp’s violent reprisals against her attackers, the threat increases dramatically when one of Claudia’s old enemies hires the infamous Legion. Legion is a completely anonymous team of assassins who rely on secrecy and never meet their client in person. No one knows who they are; all they know is that once Legion accepts a contract they don’t stop until their target is dead, no matter how long that may take. With their country turned against them, can Rapp and his allies save Claudia from this new threat before it is too late, or will he lose another woman he loves?
Kyle Mills continues to showcase just how awesome a Mitch Rapp novel can be with this fantastic new entry. Perfectly utilising all the typical action, intrigue and political insight that the latest Mitch Rapp books have all been known for, Oath of Loyalty features a fantastic narrative that I really got stuck into. This was another impressive and fun spy thriller read, and I ended up powering through this book in no time at all.
Oath of Loyalty had another excellent Mills narrative that took the protagonist on a wild adventure of survival, revenge, and political upheaval. The start of the book contains a detailed prologue that replays the closing scene of the prior novel, Enemy at the Gate, which was a good recap to start off with. The rest of Oath of Loyalty seamlessly follows on, showing Mitch Rapp in the crosshairs of the new President and his corrupt administration. After a great escape sequence, Rapp flees to South Africa and arranges a truce, and begins to watch the decline of America from afar. However, the President is far from done with him, and his fearmongering advisor convinces him to keep Rapp occupied while they prepare for his potential retaliation. Rapp is forced to defend Claudia and her daughter from several dangerous assassins, which includes one particularly impressive action sequence as Rapp fends off an entire hit squad by himself. This results in some A-grade vengeance as Rapp goes after Claudia’s enemies in retaliation, which naturally includes some very over-the-top results.
However, the characters find themselves in dire straights when one enemy hires the unstoppable Legion assassin team, who specialise in elaborate kills. Mills sets up Legion extremely well, and the reader is soon engrossed in watching the cat-and-mouse game that emerges between them and Rapp. At the same time, Rapp and his allies are forced to contend with a selfish and power hungry president who is determined to destroy them all. The second half of the book has some great sequences, and I loved seeing Legion’s actions and their attempts to get past Rapp, and the protagonist finds himself in a tough situation, especially as his limited help sometimes proves to be even more dangerous than his opponents are. Everything leads up to a fantastic and very entertaining conclusion, which I think worked very well. While I did think that part of the solution was a little silly when it came to just how threatening the protagonist could be, this was a pretty amazing story and I had a wonderful time getting through it.
I felt that Mills did a great job setting out Oath of Loyalty’s narrative, and there are many great elements to it that make it so much fun to read. The author makes excellent use of multiple character perspectives to showcase the fun narrative, and it was awesome to see the various sides of the story. I especially liked the parts of the book shown from several antagonists’ standpoints, and it was great to see the simultaneous moves and counter-moves that Rapp and his opponents put into play. Like the rest of the Mitch Rapp books, Oath of Loyalty has several great action scenes that come together extremely well. The brutal combat is crisp and flows off the page perfectly, ensuring that every action junkie can imagine just how the protagonist is kicking ass. This works in concert with the book’s outstanding espionage elements, which Mills features so very well here. I love the author’s take on spy craft in Oath of Loyalty, and there is a gritty realism to how Rapp and his allies go up against their foes, especially as this time they are going up against the American intelligence apparatus. Oath of Loyalty is also well paced out and readers are left with barely a second to breathe between the various exciting or compelling sequences of espionage, or political malfeasance. All this, and more, definitely helped me stayed glued to Oath of Loyalty and I really got stuck into the cool narrative and couldn’t wait to see how it all came together.
While characters are never the strongest part of a Mitch Rapp novel (I always felt that the protagonist was a tad one-dimensional), I did like how some of the recurring figures turned out in Oath of Loyalty. There was some interesting work on Mitch Rapp himself in this book. While he is still the same highly feared and insanely talented assassin and general sadist, you can see that the years are really starting to get to him in this book as he starts to think about winding down. The cynical weariness that infects him in this book as his country turns against him is pretty compelling, and it was interesting to see him as America’s enemy for once. Throw in some growing family concerns and touching relationship moments, and this was an interesting book for Rapp, and I quite enjoyed seeing his deeper thoughts on several matters here.
Several other characters had some fantastic moments in Oath of Loyalty. Irene Kennedy and several of Rapp’s allies find themselves on the wrong side of politics here, and it was compelling to see the loyal American soldiers realise they have been betrayed by their country. Claudia gets quite a lot of focus, especially as her past mistakes are brought into focus, and Mills does a good job of examining how she fits into Rapp’s life and how their relationship has grown. I liked the fantastic backstory around Legion, and Rapp manages to make them appear dangerous and interesting in a very short amount of time, which I really appreciated. Without ruining too much, I also was highly entertained by Rapp’s allies in the second half of the book, especially as they result in a really mental minefield for the protagonist, who finds himself stuck with two damaged people he has no idea how to deal with. Finally, President Cook and his inner circle prove to be entertaining antagonists, and I loved seeing them abuse their power all in an attempt to kill one man. Their ambition, ruthless political savvy and complete disregard for the people they serve makes them quite unlikeable, and it was fun to see them thrown for a loop by a single man as they live in fear of what Rapp may do to them. The growing instability of the president as he gets consumed by his paranoia is particularly fun, and Mills comes up with a great crony character who feeds on that for unique reasons, all of which is very amusing to see. I had an excellent time with all these fantastic characters, and Mills certainly wrapped an awesome story around them.
One of the things I have appreciated with Mills’s last few Mitch Rapp novels is his insights into the current state of American politics and the country’s current divides. All his major American protagonists, who are old hats at politics and espionage, are disillusioned by the direction the country has taken, and this becomes apparent in their discussions and inner thoughts, as many of them begin to wonder what they were fighting to preserve all these years. At the same time, several of the villainous political figures in this book are shown to be quite aware of the divides occurring in America, and are very willing to manipulate it to their own ends. Indeed, many of their discussions about strategy show them actively doing this, and there are several scenes with them attending the sort of rallies and conventions that people familiar with contemporary politics will know and loath. I really appreciated this frank and intriguing look into American politics and the state of the country in Oath of Loyalty, and I honestly felt that the author and the characters were even more critical than in recent books (although some of that was tied into the plot). It is honestly a little refreshing to see this sort of introspection from a series that has always been very pro-American, and it is definitely a sign of the times. However, these political insights aren’t just there for the sake of making the novel stand out, and they play quite a vital role in the plot. The characters have many discussions about the future of America, and their decisions are very tied into how they want it to proceed. It proved to be quite a key part of Oath of Loyalty’s narrative, and I think that Mills did a pretty good job of utilising this modern-day elements in his latest book. It will be quite interesting to see how this is presented going forward, and I really appreciated how Mills is trying to keep the series relevant.
As I have with the last few Mitch Rapp novels, I chose to check out Oath of Loyalty’s audiobook format, which was a great way to enjoy this book. With a run time of just under nine and a half hours, this a relatively short audiobook and I managed to get through it quite quickly once I got stuck into the story. I had an excellent time getting through the Oath of Loyalty audiobook, and I felt that it did a great job enhancing the narrative, especially by picking up the pace of the awesome action sequences. I am however, once again on the fence when it comes to narrator George Guidall, who has lent his voice to most of the Mitch Rapp audiobooks. I always find that Guidall’s voice sounds a little tired when he reads these audiobooks and there really is not that much variation between the various characters, although I never had any issue working out who was talking. While this would ordinarily put me off, I have actually gotten quite used to Guidall as narrator for this series, and I honestly could not imagine anyone else voicing these cool books. I also feel that Guidall’s older, wearier voice perfectly fits the character of Mitch Rapp in these latest books, especially as he is getting sick and tired of all the political games and general BS surrounding him. I was quite happy to listen to Guidall once again in Oath of Loyalty, and I look forward to hearing him again with the next Mitch Rapp audiobook.
Overall, I was very happy with this great book and Oath of Loyalty proved to be an excellent addition to this brilliant long-running series. Kyle Mills continues his impressive run of elaborate and clever Mitch Rapp stories here, and Oath of Loyalty served as an outstanding sequel to the author’s previous book while perfectly continuing some amazing storylines. Exciting, intense and loaded with so much action, Oath of Loyalty is a very easy book to fall in love with, and I had a brilliant time getting through it.