Customer Reviews: Covert Warriors (Presidential Agent, Book 7)
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on December 23, 2011
I read it in almost 12 hours. I was so pumped for it. I am an avid devotee of Presidential Series. My opinion? GREAT LET DOWN! For instance, I enjoyed the different stages of drama 1) Possible presidential meltdown of an incompetent CIC 2) Possible retailiation by Putin 3) Drug war influence with introducing a new ally for Castillo 4) But what was delivered by Father and Son was good background intrigue but no follow-up on anything dramatic. Too many open ended questions. For instance, 1) It was implied that Montvale may be involved in the coup d'etat but nothing explored. 2) So much was written about the transfer of Ferris that hardly anything was mentioned on his plight or what was happening behind the scenes that led up to the next to last chapter! Only 1 chapter on the planning and execution of the extraction? 3) No other mention on what Abrego's people were doing or planning or how that played out. That was disappointing. 4) It appeared the rest of Castillo's men or "the Other People" took a break from this book. I don't know why the author's did that especially after the confrontation in the beginning of the book 5) Castillo and Sweaty are going to be parents? That got 2 sentences and nothing else was mentioned. 6) There was also an implication that Abuela's involvement may be the heaviest since the series started but nothing afterwards. 7) There was mention of Naylor and McNab maybe playing a role in making things right, but that was another let down. 8) I'm not sure what side of the fence Montavle, Lammelle, and Cohen are on now. Based on the last book, Lammelle and Montavle owe Castillo and the gang for being in the positions they're in but I'm not sure whose side they're on now. Usually, Natalie Cohen knows everything but she was unusually out-of-the-loop until she and Charley talked. But nothing led up to her being untrustworthy. In closing, I am very disappointed in ending of book. There wasn't the usual excitement in the planning and execution of the mission. Thumbs down.
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on December 23, 2011
I have read Mr. Griffin for more than 25 years and love his work. The Brotherhood of War is clearly his finest work and what I cut my teeth on. Honor Bound was a delight until the last few - but tolerable. It may be reader loyalty, I just don't know - the characters in his novels are old friends I visit frequently. Charley and his Merry Band are fun to read and at least this installment reduces covering old history (except in the last 10% (!) - that was irritating). I will stick with him but he needs to go to his roots and pound out good, reinforced, storytelling that I am used to.
I will keep getting his (and his son's) books - just to see how the old friends are doing. I miss the Old School Griffin. This story would have been 100% better if he had just done what put him in the niche.
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on December 31, 2011
I have read all of the books in the presidential agent series and this is by far not even close to the first several books. As other readers have indicated, the series took a downturn with book 6 and this book #7 was the worst book I have read. Three quarters of the book was referencing and reliving the previous 6. I thought this was about covert warriors. Where was the action? Plot??? People showed up and then disappear. A disappointment and I do not think I will purchase anymore in the series.
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on February 24, 2012
I have read a few of W.E.B. Griffin's novels from some of his other series, but never got engaged in any of those in the same way as I did for the Presidential Agent series. I locked in from the first book of the series, and have continued on with the subsequent works. Initially, the series was really engaging. But with each passing installment, the novels got to be alternately engaging and annoying. Since I am somewhat invested in the series, I purchased "Covert Warriors", and found that the scales have tipped to more annoying than engaging.

The Presidential Agent series has some very relevant, current-day plots that always seem to easily suck the reader in. It leads one to hope that there will be gripping content that will propel the reader through the novel. The problem is that the plot resolution in each book seems to come later and later, with fewer and fewer pages being devoted to it. "Covert Warriors" didn't seem to have any resolution; the hostage rescue - one of several plot threads - was almost summarized in a few pages at the very end of the novel, as if you were listening to a conversation in passing. The dispatch of the suspected moles was also so glossed over that it almost wasn't worth the couple of paragraphs devoted to explaining that in the same ending chapter. The other plot threads involving the President's paranoia, the potential for a coup d'etat, and so on were all left hanging, and the way "Covert Warriors" ended almost made one think that some of that was just conveniently resolved, too.

Character development is an engaging element to the Presidential Agent series, including "Covert Warriors". I do enjoy that several of the primary and secondary characters are fully fleshed out, so as to make them all believable and realistic to the reader. Some of the secondary and tertiary characters through the series aren't of interest to me, but at least the development makes the lack of interest feel more valid because I have gotten to "know" them over the course of the series. However, as with the plot, the annoying part is that with each passing installment, Mr. Griffin and his cohort have leaned too heavily on repeating Charley Castillo's life story ad nauseum. I don't think any reader remains in the same circle of colleagues/family/friends and spends hours re-hashing every detail of one's life - particularly if you know the person really well. This happens multiple times in each novel, and in "Covert Warriors", the life story was re-hashed three or four times (at least). This is definitely not realistic in any way. More importantly, most of the readers of "Covert Warriors" are readers like me who have followed the series from the start. We already know full well Castillo's story, and the overarching plot theme of the series to date, so there is no need to spend so much of the book flogging this same information.

The storytelling seems to get increasingly bogged down with each installment of the series, and "Covert Warriors" is no different. The recurrent trend is that there is much talking/deliberating, traveling, bad jokes told repeatedly, and detail about meals and other trivial details. Early in the series, there was enough of a healthy mix of action woven in to keep the novel moving and the reader engaged. However, as the series has progressed, the bits of action seem to have largely disappeared. "Covert Warriors" is the worst of the series in terms of having to slog through the entire novel without having any real passages with action or any sense of suspense. It just seemed to plod on endlessly, with the overly repetitive elements I mentioned above.

Oddly, I feel some sort of conflict after reading "Covert Warriors". There is a part of me that just wants to give up on the series - assuming it continues - because each passing installment leaves me increasingly underwhelmed, and "Covert Warriors" is (for now) the acme of that disenchantment. But there is another part of me that knows that if/when the next installment comes out, I will very likely read it, because I've already invested myself in the Presidential Agent series and want to see it through to the end - however frustrating it may continue to be.

I suspect that I am not alone in my sense of conflict about the series and "Covert Warriors" specifically. What I have seen of previous reviews suggests there are plenty of readers who do agree with me. I think we are all wrestling with this aspect of having the engaging elements of good storytelling, countered by the annoying elements that I have summarized here. I can't recommend "Covert Warriors", whether you have read the previous books in the Presidential Agent series or not. For those of us who have read everything in the series to date, it is yet another speed bump to wherever the Charley Castillo story is headed, and - unless Mr. Griffin and his cohorts pay some heed to the reader frustration - it will continue to be an annoying ride.
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on December 25, 2011
I have read all of WEB Griffin's books more than once. More than a few times, in fact. When I read that this book was being co-authored with his son, I was a bit worried, given that not all of the books so co-authored were a success.

That being said, it was a decent book. Not Griffin at his best, however. And as usual, far too many pages were devoted to the backstory. The fans don't need that and new readers can read the other books to fill them in.
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on December 30, 2011
This has got to me the "let down" of my Christmas season. I am an avid fan of the author and was excited to know that a new book of his (even if written by William) was going to be out around Christmas time (all of those hours I would have to sit and enjoy this book). Wow, I kept picking it up giving it chance after chance to pull everything together so that I could have a moment of "ahhhh, now I see where it was going" - but to my surprise and dismay, my only "ahhhhh" moment came when I finished the book "Ahhhhhh, finally done with that disaster".

I'm with the others, past books were great. This one, skip it and you will not be disappointed or left behind in the series.
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on December 30, 2011
I've read every WEB Griffin book and loved most of them. The Presidential Agent Series has never been my favorite but this book has reached a new low. I forced myself to get through about 100 pages. Rarely do I leave a book unfinished, but I just could not continue reading this. Many characters from preceding books were in and out with no apparent reason, except maybe to keep them alive for future novels. It seems this book somehow skipped the editing process.

I long for the days of The Brotherood of War and The Corps series.
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on February 29, 2012
I've read every series W.E.B. Griffin has written whether it be on his own or w/ his son. The Brotherhood of War is my favorite series of all time and not just my favorite W.E.B. Griffin series.

The Presidential Agent series started out fairly well but has gone rapidly downhill with each new book starting after book two. The continual rehashing of the same ole, same ole has gotten to the point that I don't see me wasting my money on the next book, if indeed the publisher decides to bother w/ another book in this series. Not only does this book reuse similar banter from this series, it steals from the other Griffin series' as well.

This book is beyond predictable, uses the same discussions between characters that we've read in the past several books, using the same sayings and catch phrases we've read time and again and possibly worst of all, has characters talk about military stuff but not the way real military guys talk. I am a retired UH60 driver and I NEVER talked to my guys by saying things like, "we'll send the UH60Fs". We never referred to them as UH60Fs, UH60As, UH60Ls, UH60Ks or whatever, it was always 'Hawks or 60s or Limas, Mikes, Kilos or whatever but never the whole thing. Nobody uses the full nomenclature of anything whether it's aircraft, vehicles or weapons and WEB Griffin and his boy should know that if they're so tight w/ the fellas they're writing about. I got that at some point you need to spell stuff out but not in books that are mostly read by military guys anyway. Griffin has a good way of introducing a weapon or a piece of equipment the first time by giving the whole nomenclature and all its attributes but the first time should be the only time. From that point forward talk like Army guys talk not like some clown who doesn't know anything about anything.

My recommendation to the Griffins is to show their next book to some of the fellas and then rewrite it when they say we don't talk like that. My recommendation to anyone who reads this review is don't waste dime one on this book. If you must, go to the library and check it out for free. I got cheated and I got change comin', learn from my mistake.
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on January 5, 2012
Like all of his previous books I've read (which is most of them, and all of this series) I was fully captivated by the story and engulfed in the plot, right up to the almost end. The final chapter sums up what should have been taken another 6 or 8 chapters, and I could not help but feel that the book was taking too long, and instead of delaying the release, the publisher forced WEB and son to finish the entire book (aka write that final chapter) in an afternoon.

The ending was such a pitiful letdown I have changed my mind to NOT preorder the next book in the Men at War series (The Spymasters) as I have the past 4-5 books he has released, and instead wait to read the review of that after it comes out. If for some reason it has this type of rushed, half assed approach this did, I will refuse to purchase it, or any other new books WEB and son puts out going forward.
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on February 24, 2012
I have read and been a fan of all the books in the Presidential Agent series. I'm not sure what happened with Covert Warriors, but it is not up to Griffin's usual high standard. My two issues with this novel are as follows. 1st, although known for attention to detail, Griffin has gone overboard this time. To repeat every character's full title/rank each time they are mentioned in the book just seems like a dragging space-filler to me. My second issue is that after hundreds of pages of build up, the book just ends by crossing the finish line with a whimper. I really don't know if I will invest in or continue reading this series.
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