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Review: Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Firewall by James SwallowTom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Firewall by James Swallow

As usual I want to start by thanking Netgalley and Aconyte books for allowing me access to this E-ARC to review. As with the recent Tom Clancy’s The Division ARC this has managed to flag up nostalgia but fan and old love of Splinter Cell which I may have let slide over the years. If you know me it’s no secret I like to game. Some games I hold dear for my firsts. Lion King on the Sega inducing rage quitting, Tomb Raider on the PS1 causing me a moral dilemma of do I really want to kill dinosaurs!? Splinter Cell is definitely up there, it introduced me to more stealth tied with action. I remember first playing it on the PS2 and being hooked. I did end up drifting a little to more fantasy themed games but I would still go back to Splinter Cell.

So by no means am I superfan but when I saw this title I did get excited – particularly with the addition of Sarah Fisher to the lineup and seeing James Swallow at the helm I knew it would be good. I was right.

Firewall sees Sam Fisher, legendary agent, team up with one of the newest NSA recruits, his own daughter, to save the world! Fourth Echelon veteran agent Sam Fisher has a new mission, recruiting and training the next generations of Splinter Cell operatives for the NSA’s covert action division, including his daughter Sarah. When a lethal assassin from Fisher’s past returns from the dead on a mission of murder, father and daughter are thrust into a race against time as a sinister threat to global security is revealed. A dangerous cyberwarfare technology known as Gordian Sword – capable of crashing airliners, destroying computer networks and plunging entire cities into darkness – is being auctioned off to whichever rogue state makes the highest bid. Sam and Sarah must call on their very singular set of skills to neutralize Gordian Sword and stop the weapon falling into the wrong hands – at any cost.

An action-packed page-turner Firewall is everything you could expect from a novel set in the Splinter Cell universe. The characterization within the novel is amazing, of the characters we know and love from the videogame universe they are true to themselves and we get a deeper glimpse into them in the prose format. The mixture of personalities is refreshing. The action is near non-stop from losing assassins in metropolitan cityscapes to navigating facilities. Swallow is a master at building tension within the narrative. As always I don’t want to spoil the plot too much, but I will say that it really feels like it could be within the game itself.

Most definitely a must read for fans of Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell universe or high octane thrillers. It was amazing to see more lore developed for Sarah and the relationship with her father and other members of the Fourth Echelon. I also loved the questions the novel poses, the idea of doing what needs to be done, following orders, or doing what is right to the person’s moral compass, as well as the progression and work on Sarah’s character. What also surprised me, in a good way, was the insight to Sam and Sarah’s relationship, and while not conventional, we are dealing with two generations of agents it still captured some tender moments for the pair.

Again, no spoilers, but the ending was also fantastic, it leaves a wonderful opening for more in this fantastic line as well as potential repercussions from the actions and choices of the characters in the story. I think every Splinter Cell fan likes Sam but I am extremely excited to see what happens next for Sarah and how Sam, no doubt, gets involved!

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