No Fortunate Son by Brad Taylor is a riveting thriller that explores several moral issues. Using the specific song by Creedence Clearwater Revival concentrating on the line “I ain’t no Senator’s son,” the author puts a twist to the song. The theme centers around how much manpower should be used to rescue a VIP or a VIP’s child when kidnapped. In this case, key members of the US government have a child serving in the military who has been captured by terrorists.
Taylor noted to blackfive.net, “I know the military put enormous effort in attempting to free Bergdahl before he was released. Regardless if he was a traitor or not he was relatively a nobody. That got me thinking, how far would an administration go if someone like John McCain or Joe Biden’s son, who are also serving in the military, were captured. Are they considered more important than any one soldier?”
A developing situation has the Task Force, a unit created to contain terrorist plots and global threats, now attempting a hostage rescue. A terrorist organization has targeted five military relatives of key members of the US government, including the vice president’s son, the Texas Governor’s husband, the son of the Secretary of Defense, and the children of the chairman of the Senate Intelligence committee. The seizure of hostages was far-reaching and meticulously coordinated, and the full extent of the threat, and potential demands, has thrown the government into turmoil. They face a terrible choice: Cease counter-terrorist operations, or watch hostages die one by one. Besides exploring how much is a single life worth, the book has non-stop action as Pike Logan and Jennifer Cahill try to rescue the Task Force’s leaders niece, Kylie Hale, who Pike regards as a daughter figure.
The author commented, “I have seen a lot of people who are willing to deflate everything the Defense Department does into one big bubble. They just do not understand the enormous complexity and that there is no monolific ‘they.’ I used the example of the commander, Colonel Kurt Hale’s sister, Kathy, who can best be described as a ‘peace-nik’ having her head in the sand. Once her daughter went missing she had no moral problem doing whatever is necessary to rescue Kylie. She basically turned a blind eye.”
Since Taylor retired as a Special Forces Lieutenant Colonel after more than 20 years of experience in the U.S. Army Infantry and Special Forces, he is able to use his experiences to write realistic thrillers. Other issues he explores in this book are the rules of engagement, what are the moralistic implications, and how much technology should be used. It also appears that Jennifer is being heavily influenced by Pike’s way of thinking, do whatever is necessary to ensure a mission’s success.
He is hoping that readers understand the two point of views presented through Jennifer and Pike’s eyes. “Jennifer bases her decisions on the theories of Immanuel Kant, deontological ethical theory. It basically states that people actions are bound by the moral will. For example, you will never kill a civilian; you will never steal, even if it means stealing a loaf of bread would feed a starving family. Pike on the other hand believes in John Stuart Mill’s theory of Utilitarianism. Actions should be done for the greater good. I’m not taking sides on the torture debate, but some on the greater good side would say it’s acceptable to torture.”
No Fortunate Son is a gripping and insightful novel. He skillfully switches between third-person narration and Pike’s first-person point of view. The plot and characters are so very well developed readers will not want to put the book down.
He also gave a heads up about his next book, Insider Threat, which deals with the Islamic State. The Israeli Mossad agent, Shoshana will return as well as her moral compass, Aaron. However they will be working with the Task Force off the books so no fingerprint can be traced back to Mossad.