On sale today is Hunt the Scorpion, the second installment in Don Mann and Ralph Pezzullo’s SEAL Team Six series, which follows the trail of nuclear weapon components from a ship commandeered by Somali pirates through Libya and into a hornet’s nest of local police forces, terrorists, and the Iranian Revolutionary Corps.
The book’s depiction of post-Gaddafi Libya reads like it came out of this morning’s newspaper, which got me thinking: how much of Hunt the Scorpion is based in fact? Sure, it’s a rip-roaring, action-packed thriller, but Don Mann is a former Navy SEAL, and Ralph Pezzullo has written a previous novel with a CIA operative. Maybe there’s more fact to this fiction than I realized.
Fortunately, my curiosity did not go unslaked for long. Pezzullo kindly responded to my searching questions about Hunt the Scorpion‘s plot:
Yes, a good deal of the ops in the book actually happened. Most Americans probably aren’t aware that we’ve been fighting a clandestine war with Iran. Basically, they’re trying to develop nuclear weapons, and we’re determined to stop them. Iran runs this nasty little organization called the Quds Force, which is part of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution and reports directly to Supreme Leader—in other words, the religious leaders of the country. The role of the Quds Force is exporting Iran’s Islamic revolution. It operates as highly-trained paramilitary unit and has been involved in bombings and assassinations in countries like Iraq, India, Bulgaria, Lebanon, and Thailand.
I keep my ear to the CIA-ops war ground, so to speak, and hear things. One of the most alarming things I’ve heard recently is about the efforts by al-Qaeda and the Quds Force to exploit the chaos in Libya following the overthrow of Gaddafi and get their hands on chemical weapons and nuclear material that had been developed while Gaddafi was in power.
Don and I discussed this and agreed that these events would make a great backdrop for Hunt the Scorpion. I can’t tell you exactly how much of it is true. I always do a lot of research. In this case it involved speaking to a number of people who have been to Libya recently and are familiar with what happened there after the fall of Gaddafi.
There you have it: enjoy Hunt the Scorpion for its nonstop thrills—and the SEALs are a lot of fun to be around!—and appreciate it as an unclassified primer in classified foreign policy.