A NEW ORDER, N.J. Lujan’s second book in THE ATROPOS MAKER series, takes place five years after the events of the previous novel. It is also centered around the daring exploits of Antropos, the clandestine intelligence network tasked with carrying out some of the most top secret (and deadly) assignments in the world. Norma, the hero of the first book, returns alongside Alex and their son Alexander and this time around the team has to take down one of the modern world’s worst scourges—human trafficking.
A NEW ORDER starts off with a bang as Norma and Alex, now in their mid-forties, learn from Atropos director Donovan that their son has been “compromised.” This starts a snowball effect which ultimately leads to an attempted attack on Alexander that has its roots with very dangerous individuals in Iraqi Kurdistan. The assignment, as the team learns back in Washington, D.C., stems from an Iraqi terrorist network deeply involved in the buying and selling of Christian women and children on the worldwide black market. Drugs, weapons, and various groups such as Al-Qaeda and others are tied into the operation as well, thus its take down requires the expertise of Atropos.
Lujan’s writing is as sharp as ever, with next to no wasted words. Each chapter pushes the story forward, and every one contains something worthy of creating goosebumps. A NEW ORDER also increases the paranoia of the first book, which makes sense given the fact that the novel is concerned with the realities of espionage and covert action. One cat-and-mouse scene involving Alexander and a Mr. Henry is particularly well done.
The one weakness of the novel is its occasional moments of rushed composition. The middle portion relies on genre clichés, while overall the plot is not nearly as innovative as its predecessor. That said, the story does bring attention to the awful reality of international human trafficking—a reality that indeed includes a nexus wherein sex, drugs, and extremism commingle.
A NEW ORDER is a solid sequel to N.J. Lujan’s first book and a high-octane political thriller that trots the globe, from Iraqi Kurdistan to the mean streets of urban America.
~Benjamin Welton for IndieReader