Piercing The Veil by Eric Wentz is a good, old-fashioned military, spy, thriller that hits most of the right buttons. Lieutenant Commander Grant Chisholm of the US Navy Special Forces is seconded to Britain to work with a deep cover, black ops. team run by the British. Chisholm has a vested interest in living and working in Britain, though. Not long after the end of World War II, his grandfather had returned to Scotland for a reunion of his own WWII commando force. He never returned and Grant is keen to discover what fate befell the grandfather he never knew. Tie in a megalomaniac self-proclaimed ruler of an as yet non-existent Sub-Saharan African country, involved in the “blood diamond” trade as well as claiming the continent for Christianity, along with some not-so-Christian Catholic Priests and you already have a potent mix for a rollicking novel. Just to add more interest to the story there are Celtic remnants that threaten to become the greatest archaeological find of the Century and a love interest for Grant, in eminent archaeologist, Blanche.
There are a lot of different and seemingly disparate arcs running through Piercing The Veil and Wentz does well to manage to tie them altogether satisfactorily by the end. The characters are well drawn, especially with respect to their capabilities as current or former Special Forces soldiers and Jomo, the leader of the Soldiers of Christ definitely comes across as a powerful, charismatic leader, with just the right touch of madness and civility, a credit to the author. The story runs at a breakneck pace as you’d expect from a thriller and takes us from Britain to Turkey, Amsterdam and the heart of Africa. Of course, the violence is endemic in the story, but I felt sensitively handled by the author. Piercing the Veil is a solid, action, thriller.