Without Sanction (A Matt lowest Drake high quality Thriller) sale

Without Sanction (A Matt lowest Drake high quality Thriller) sale

Without Sanction (A Matt lowest Drake high quality Thriller) sale

Description

Product Description

After surviving a clandestine operation that went tragically wrong, Matt Drake escaped Syria with his life, but little else. Now, to save the life of another, he must return to Syria and confront his biggest failure in a debut thriller Lee Child calls "sensationally good."

Defense Intelligence Agency operative Matt Drake broke a promise. A promise that cost three people their lives and crippled his best friend. Three months later, he''s paralyzed by survivor''s guilt and haunted by the memories of the fallen. Matt may have left Syria, but Syria hasn''t left him.

In the midst of his self-imposed exile, Matt is dragged back into the world of espionage and assets that he tried to forget. A Pakistani scientist working for an ISIS splinter cell has created a terrifying weapon of mass destruction. The scientist offers to defect with the weapon, but he trusts just one man to bring him out of Syria alive—Matt Drake.

It’s a suicide mission—one man against an army of terrorists. Still, with stakes this high, Matt has no choice but to try. He’s going in on high alert, but he’s blind to his greatest vulnerability. His most dangerous enemy is closer to home—not on the battlefield, but in the Oval Office.

Review

“Sensationally good—I want more Matt Drake.”
Lee Child, #1 New York Times bestselling author

“Don Bentley’s Without Sanction is seriously one of the most compelling debuts in recent memory.
Brilliantly crafted and written, this book is a thoroughly riveting read and Don Bentley is an exciting new voice in the thriller world.”
Mark Greaney, #1  New York Times bestselling author

Without Sanction knocks it out of the park! His hard won wisdom and experience from time downrange grip the reader from the first page to the last. Sign me up for an early read of book two!”
Jack Carr, New York Times bestselling author of Savage Son

“You can smell the cordite, hear the explosions, and feel the fight in this one.  Action jumps from every page thanks to an engaging premise and cross-cutting suspense. Way ahead of the pack.”
Steve Berry, New York Times bestselling author of The Malta Exchange

Without Sanction is a relentless, crackling debut about the fight against terrorism, its unacknowledged costs, and the price paid by its operatives.  Don Bentley has lived this life, and he writes with deep authenticity, a serious swagger, wry wit, and a lyrical heart.  This is one hell of a book."
Nick Petrie, National Bestselling author of Tear It Down

"I am blown away... Without Sanction is top notch"
Sean ParnellNew York Times bestselling author of Outlaw Platoon

"Bentley plumbs the deepest recesses of Syria and the White House, leaving readers unsettled, wondering which arena is in fact more dangerous.  Politics and foreign policy collide in a tempest of backstabbing and intrigue.  Realistic, gritty, and hard-hitting— Without Sanction is an incendiary debut.”
K.J. Howe, International Bestselling Author of  The Freedom Broker

Don Bentley is the real deal. Without Sanction is raw, honest, and thought-provoking. . . But most of all, it’s one heck of a fun ride. Do not miss this powerful, action-packed debut thriller!”
—Ryan Steck, The Real Book Spy

“Without Sanction is one of those rare books that reminds me why I became an author in the first place.  Don Bentley has crafted a gut churning, heart pounding thriller.  An unflinching dive into the soul of the modern warrior that is so beautifully written and expertly executed that I cannot believe it is a debut novel.”
Joshua Hood, author of  Clear by Fire

 “ Without Sanction is without doubt the best thriller I’ve read in years. Don Bentley flies his story like an Apache attack helicopter—full throttle and guns blazing. With a plot as unpredictable as a HAHO jump in high winds, the novel drops you in a hot LZ of whip-smart writing, throat-punching action and laugh-out-loud gallows humor.  A keen political eye, sharply drawn characters and emotional depth accelerate this pulse-pounding free fall. Strap on your bump helmet and hold on tight. You’re in for one helluva ride!
Mike Maden, New York Times bestselling author of  Tom Clancy Firing Point

“Grabs you from the get-go and never lets up. An absolutely fantastic story.”
Marc Cameron, New York Times bestselling author of Tom Clancy Shadow of the Dragon

“Don Bentley has created a gripping tale with an authentic, broken protagonist. The result is a white-knuckle ride through both the Syrian battle grounds and the innermost sanctums of DC politics with deadly twists and turns along the way.”
Matthew Betley, bestselling author of Rules of War and the Logan West series

"Bentley imbues the action-packed Without Sanction with plenty of vivid battle scenes and military details that keep the plot churning. But the real strength of Without Sanction is the perceptive look at its characters, their motives and how war has affected each."
South Florida Sun-Sentinel

"Bentley imbues the action-packed Without Sanction with plenty of vivid battle scenes and military details that keep the plot churning. But the real strength of the novel is the perceptive look at its characters, their motives and how war has affected each... Without Sanction is just the beginning of what should be a satisfying series"
—The Virginian-Pilot

About the Author

Don Bentley spent a decade as an Army Apache helicopter pilot, and while deployed in Afghanistan was awarded the Bronze Star Medal and the Air Medal with "V" device for valor. Following his time in the military, Don worked as an FBI special agent focusing on foreign intelligence and counterintelligence and was a Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team member.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

One

Austin, Texas



3 months later



The toddler smiled at me from over her mother''s shoulder, her eyes sparkling. A pudgy hand snuck past the tumbling curls that framed her face, and her tiny fingers waved.



I didn''t wave back.



Not because I didn''t know the little girl. I knew her quite well. Her name was Abir, Arabic for beautiful, and the raven-haired cutie more than lived up to her name. No, I was ignoring her for a different reason altogether. Like her mother and father, Abir had been dead for almost three months.



But that didn''t stop me from seeing her.



I closed my eyes, fighting the urge to return her wave as I had so many times before in the front room of her family''s tiny Syrian apartment. Abir''s laugh had been almost as intoxicating as her grin. Even now, it took everything within me not to smile on the off chance that the dead toddler, visible only to me, might break her silence and gift me with a giggle in return.



But I didn''t smile and I didn''t wave, because men who interacted with imaginary children attracted attention. Austin, Texas, might be the self-professed home of the weird, but I had no desire to make the acquaintance of the TSA men and women who worked at this airport. So I tried to ignore Abir, and the shakes started, right on schedule.



The trembling began with a barely noticeable twitch in my left index finger, but left unchecked, the twitching wouldn''t stay barely noticeable for long. Taking a deep breath, I curled the offending finger, and two of its brethren, into the opening chord of "Take It Easy" by the Eagles, picturing my hand wrapped around the smooth neck of my knockoff Gibson acoustic.



Don''t get me wrong. I liked newer music, too, but Eagles'' songs had deceptively simple chord structures that even amateurs could quickly master. As founding members Don Henley and Glenn Frey had proven with hit after hit, sometimes greatness really was masked by simplicity.



"How they looking, sir?"



With a start, I shifted my attention from the phantom toddler to Jeremiah the shoeshine man, and then to my gleaming Ariat cowboy boots. The airport boasted quite a few shoeshine artists, but only one who''d acquired his skills at the polishing school of hard knocks-Marine boot camp.



"Fine job, Jeremiah."



"Thank you, sir," Jeremiah said, adjusting his ball cap over tufts of patchy white hair. "That''ll be eight dollars."



Jeremiah''s cap was fire-engine red with the words Vietnam Veteran emblazoned across the front in yellow stitching. Above the words hung an embroidered image of his Vietnam service ribbon. That was it. No unit designations, Special Forces tabs, or pins denoting previous ranks or medals. Just a faded red hat announcing that, unlike so many of his wayward generation, Jeremiah had answered his country''s call to service. Though we''d shared numerous shines, Jeremiah had never once spoken about his time in Vietnam, but I knew that he''d been there. One, because he refused to talk about his service, and two, because he had the look.



With Jeremiah, the look manifested as an occasional stare into nothingness-a physical reaction to a mental trauma. In other words, Jeremiah''s eyes had seen things that his mind wished he could somehow unsee.



I knew the feeling.



I took a ten and a five from my wallet and pressed the bills into Jeremiah''s gnarled brown fingers.



"That''s too much, Mr. Drake," Jeremiah said with a frown, the expression highlighting the web of wrinkles furrowing his ebony face.



"For the thousandth time," I said, "call me Matt. And the extra money isn''t charity. It''s to rent your chair for a spell."



Jeremiah shined my boots twice a week-every Monday and Friday at nine a.m.-and had done so for the past six weeks. Even so, we still had a variant of this conversation every time I sat down in one of the four high-backed chairs he called an office.



In a way, the normality associated with our routine was comforting. Some people had service dogs, a shrink on retainer, or a medicine cabinet stocked with pills. I had a seventy-year-old African American shoeshine artist and a secondhand guitar. I guess I was doing pretty well, all things considered.



"Them shakes ain''t good, Mr. Drake," Jeremiah said, pointing a shoe-polish-stained finger at my trembling hand.



Or not.



The spasms had crept past my fingers, and now the muscles in my forearms were dancing. I mentally switched songs, from "Take It Easy" to "Ants Marching," trading the simple G-D-C progression for the series of vexing bar chords that Dave Matthews floated across so effortlessly.



No luck.



If I didn''t stop the cycle soon, the tremors would evolve into something mirroring a full-fledged seizure, and that couldn''t happen. Not now. Because the arrivals-and-departures monitor hanging over Jeremiah''s right shoulder showed that the direct flight from San Diego had just arrived at gate five. In less than ten short minutes, my reason for sitting at this airport every Monday and Friday would cross the busy passenger thoroughfare in front of me, heading to gate nine and her connecting flight to Reagan. A ticket for that same flight rested in my right front pocket. Maybe today would be the day I finally used it.



"Mr. Drake?"



"It''s Matt, Jeremiah-Matt."



"Mr. Drake, I think the Lord has a word for you."



I looked from the monitor to Jeremiah. This was unexplored territory. In the forty or so days we''d known each other, our conversations had never progressed past the safety of the superficial. Despite my nonregulation-length hair and scruffy beard, Jeremiah had seemed to intuit that he and I shared something of a history. Maybe it was because my broad shoulders and scarred knuckles seemed at odds with my carefully cultivated ragamuffin appearance.



Or maybe the look on my face mirrored his.



Either way, Jeremiah knew that he and I belonged to the same fraternity. Though I was probably at least forty years Jeremiah''s junior, and his war had not been mine, we''d still enjoyed the quiet camaraderie of those who had seen the elephant and lived to tell the tale. But based on Jeremiah''s earnest expression, this unacknowledged dŽtente was about to end.



"If you''ve got a message from the Almighty," I said, wearing a smile I didn''t quite feel, "I''m all ears."



I risked a look to my right, toward the food court full of tables neatly arranged around a small raised stage. A kid in a retro T-shirt and faded jeans was strumming his way through a fairly respectable version of "Amy''s Back in Austin." The space next to the breakfast taco stand, where I''d seen Abir waving from over her mother''s shoulder, was now empty, but my shakes continued all the same.



"The Lord wants you to know," Jeremiah said, gripping my trembling forearm with surprisingly strong fingers, "that you can''t go back."



At his touch, the tremors ceased. I started to ask the obvious question when two things happened in quick succession. One, the cell phone in my pocket began to vibrate. Two, a man slid into the chair next to mine.



A man with a gun.



Two



For most people, the buzzing of a cell phone is not a day-altering event. I am not most people. In the six weeks since I''d purchased the phone wedged into my right front pocket, it had never rung.



Not once.



This was because the number of people who knew it was in my possession totaled exactly one. Me.



Unlike the NSA Suite B-encrypted, government-issued smartphone that had been its predecessor, this cell was a simple burner I''d picked up at Costco with a pay-as-you-go plan. I''d left my old phone when I''d left my old life, but in my world, former lives had a way of intruding into new ones.



In the seat next to me, the man with a gun picked up one of the newspapers Jeremiah had arranged in neat piles for his customers. The above-the-fold headline read: Presidential Race Comes Down to the Wire.



That might have been the understatement of the century.



"Shine, sir?" Jeremiah asked.



The man with a gun nodded.



To be fair, my new friend was doing his best to pretend he wasn''t armed. He had a stylish haircut, and he was wearing a sport coat, slacks, a button-down shirt, and lace-up dress shoes. I might not have even noticed the pistol holstered at his waist except that his sport coat was a bit too tight in the shoulders, forcing the fabric to gather in a familiar clump as he''d climbed into Jeremiah''s chair.



Although he''d approached from my left, the man with a gun had ignored the first available empty chair in favor of the one to my right. A cynical person might have believed that he was trying to put as much space between me and the pistol on his right hip as possible.



Interesting.



I fished the vibrating phone from my pocket, looked at the number displayed on its screen, and sighed.



My former boss was a lot of things, but subtle he was not. Most calls originating from the Defense Intelligence Agency Headquarters, located on Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling in Washington, D.C., registered on caller ID as a string of random numbers.



But not when Branch Chief James Glass wanted your attention.



James had somehow rigged his phone so that the digits 911 repeating in sequence showed as the callback number. When James demanded your attention, he wanted there to be no doubt who was summoning you.



Still, contrary to what James might have believed, I was no longer in the DIA''s employ. Now was as good a time as any to reinforce that message.



Flipping the still-pulsing phone on its side, I popped open the case, removed the SIM card, and snapped it in two. I considered saving the phone, but decided that safe was better than sorry. Turning, I pitched the components into the trash can next to my chair.



In theory, a new SIM card would have rendered the burner phone safe, but theories tended to pale when confronted with the technological might of the National Security Agency. Many a cocksure terrorist had been reduced to a Hellfire missile-induced cloud of organic vapor after the NSA cracked his supposedly impenetrable cell phone. Technically speaking, bringing the NSA''s strength to bear against a U.S. citizen was illegal.



Then again, James didn''t much stand for technicalities.



A multitone electronic chime, akin more to the warning klaxon of a nuclear reactor about to go critical than to a cell''s ringtone, emanated from the armed man''s jacket. With his nonshooting hand, my companion reached into his coat''s interior pocket and came out with a BlackBerry that he put to his ear.



Jeremiah, who had glanced up when the phone first rang, wore a look of annoyance that quickly turned to something else when the armed man''s sport coat briefly opened. The shoeshine artist''s brown eyes found mine, and I slowly shook my head.



I didn''t know what was going on and didn''t much care so long as it concluded in the next two minutes and thirty seconds. Based on experience, that was when she would appear. Then, and only then, would I find out if this day would be any different from the slew of Mondays and Fridays that had preceded it.



"What?" the armed man said into his phone.



I ignored him in favor of searching the now-crowded thoroughfare for her familiar face.



A family of hipsters pushing a designer stroller jostled for space with a young girl in cutoff shorts carrying a guitar case over her shoulder. A businessman, talking into his cell, shuffled to his right, making way for a pair of cowboys in skintight Wrangler jeans and dusty boots.



This was Austin at her eccentric finest, but I had yet to see the purpose of my visit.



I had yet to see her.



"I''ve got him," the armed man said.



Any minute now. Unless . . .



I didn''t follow the thought through to fruition. Couldn''t. Not now. I needed to believe that today, things would be different. Instead of my transferring my unused ticket to a future flight yet again, things would return to normal. Today, I would board the flight to D.C.



"My name is Special Agent Rawlings," the armed man said, turning to me as he rested his phone on his leg. "I need you to come with me."



"No."



A space in the crowd opened. My heart beat faster.



"This isn''t a request. Get out of the chair. Now."



The thing about federal agents was that they worked for bureaucracies, and bureaucracies had their own idiosyncrasies and tribal languages. Over the course of my five years with the DIA, I''d learned that clear, concise communication was critical when working with federal partners. With that in mind, I replied to Special Agent Rawlings in terms I knew that he''d understand.



"Fuck off."



I didn''t know why Agent Rawlings had suddenly entered my life, and I didn''t care. We were still in the great state of Texas, which meant that police officers could not just arrest people. Not without probable cause or an arrest warrant, anyway. Since my new friend hadn''t used any of those magic words, he was relying on intimidation, rather than the force of law, to ensure my compliance. This was unfortunate for him because I didn''t really do intimidation.



Rawlings said something in return, and though I''m sure it was both witty and relevant, I wasn''t listening. She had just appeared.



Like the silence that breaks out when the houselights dim and the curtain slowly rises, the crowd''s murmur faded as Laila took center stage. She''d once studied at the School of American Ballet and still moved with a dancer''s measured grace. My role in this Greek tragedy wasn''t yet finished-Agent Rawlings was waving over reinforcements while Jeremiah looked from me to the hulking federal agent, trying to pick a side-but I had eyes only for Laila.



To be fair, Laila was an exquisitely beautiful woman. Her Pakistani father and Afghan mother had provided her with a melting pot of genes from one of the most ethnically diverse territories on earth. The areas that were now Afghanistan and Pakistan had hosted countless foreign conquerors, from Alexander the Great to the Mongol Horde, and the region''s collective influence was reflected in Laila''s appearance. Her dark complexion, and the waves of midnight hair that tumbled to her shoulders, made her unexpectedly green eyes all the more striking.



Seeing her across a crowded room still caused my heart to stutter.



A second federal agent answered Rawlings''s summons from the food court. He was clearly the muscle in the relationship and looked the part with his shaved head, Harley-Davidson T-shirt, jeans, and scuffed work boots. He was built like a fire hydrant, and the practiced ease with which his meaty hands found my left shoulder and arm suggested that this wasn''t his first rodeo.

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Slaven
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Best debut author of 2020!! Get this book..
Reviewed in the United States on March 3, 2020
Debut author Don Bentley spent a decade as an Army Apache helicopter pilot, while deployed to OEF, he earned a Bronze Star Medal and the Air Medal with “V” for valor. After his stint in the Army, Don got out as a Captain and joined the FBI. There, Special Agent Bentley... See more
Debut author Don Bentley spent a decade as an Army Apache helicopter pilot, while deployed to OEF, he earned a Bronze Star Medal and the Air Medal with “V” for valor. After his stint in the Army, Don got out as a Captain and joined the FBI. There, Special Agent Bentley focused on foreign intelligence and counterintelligence, completing his career with the FBI as a member of their elite SWAT.

Without Sanction introduces to the world Matt Drake, an Army Ranger (RLTW) veteran and analyst for the Defense Intelligence Agency or DIA. When we meet Matt, he’s a broken man. Unsure of what is happening to him, he has quit his job and became a recluse. Battling his demons every day, trying and failing to find a way back into society, to his friends, to his wife. For months he battles the same battle of survivor’s guilt, post-traumatic stress disorder, tremors, nightmares, anxiety, and depression that many real-world veterans go through. An accurate type of description only an author that has been there and done that can express.

Without Sanction has quite a bit of political drama, on par with a Vince Flynn novel, Bentley does a fantastic job giving these characters a purpose and meaning to where they think their way is the only way to handle a certain situation. Many are ambitious and use their power to get what most in politics want, more power. Amongst those characters is a politician that’s not a prick, President Jorge Gonzales. Nearing the end of his first term and trying to get re-elected. To shield him from all the chaos, Peter Redman, his Chief of Staff, is forced to deal with this mess created a mere few days before the Presidential election.

A spy thriller, a political thriller, with a dose of espionage and hardcore military action, this novel has is it all. Some high praise worthy writing that deserve a mention is when Drake needs to insert himself into a denied area of operations without being detected by the many forces that call this battles space home, remnants of ISIS are everywhere, the Free Syrian Army, Assad’s Army, and of course the Russians to name a few. Drake enters this battlespace utilizing a unique method that will have you at the edge of your seat.

Following the badassery there, the emotional surprises, the dangers, the determination of Drake to see this through, the humor, and the few allies Drake has left willing to help him complete his mission is few and far between. But when the Ranger Creed is driving you, the choice is an easy one, quitting is not an option. What we have is an absolute must-read debut novel from a very talented rising star. If I had to compare Without Sanction to prior debuts, I think Vince Flynn’s Term Limits and Jack Carr’s The Terminal List would be the most accurate comparison. As a new author, Don Bentley is standing out among the very best the thriller community has to offer. I very much look forward to more Matt Drake in the future. Earning itself a Lima Charlie Review rating of a DIRTY BOMB! A 9.25/10 Lima Charlie Rating.
24 people found this helpful
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Steve Netter
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Fantastic debut by Don Bentley
Reviewed in the United States on March 17, 2020
I heard a lot of hype on social medial surrounding Don Bentley''s debut novel Without Sanction. After finishing it I can honestly say it lives up to the hype and more! Don absolutely crushes this book. It has everything you can want in a thriller - interesting plot, mix... See more
I heard a lot of hype on social medial surrounding Don Bentley''s debut novel Without Sanction. After finishing it I can honestly say it lives up to the hype and more! Don absolutely crushes this book. It has everything you can want in a thriller - interesting plot, mix of action and politics, great characters, etc. Also, it has great pace without sacrificing necessary setup and character development.

What I love the most about the book is that everything isn''t perfect. The good guys - Matt Drake & Frodo - are brave, hard-nosed elite operators, but they are also damaged and flawed in their own ways. And the big mission to save the day keeps running into problems and seems in doubt until the end. It''s easy to create characters and missions that go perfectly, so this is refreshing to see what happens when things go sideways with characters who are questioning their ability to finish the job. Really adds a lot to the book.

Matt Drake reminds me a bit of Nick Petrie''s Peter Ash character. Both have issues they''re dealing with but have a sense of duty to help others around them. To me, it''s inspiring to see people fighting their demons yet still find a way to come out on top and triumph over evil.

Highly recommend picking up a copy of Without Sanction. Don Bentley is going to win a lot of awards for this book and I have a feeling we''ll be seeing a lot more of Matt Drake. Get on board from the beginning and enjoy the ride!
19 people found this helpful
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Toolman
2.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Way Over-Hyped, Not Bad Just Ok
Reviewed in the United States on April 30, 2020
Not sure what''s behind all the super-hyped reviews and endorsements. It''s this guy''s first book, and it''s ok but certainly not great. He is not even close to being the next Lee Child etc, yet. In fact, the over the top hype made me not enjoy the book at all because of the... See more
Not sure what''s behind all the super-hyped reviews and endorsements. It''s this guy''s first book, and it''s ok but certainly not great. He is not even close to being the next Lee Child etc, yet. In fact, the over the top hype made me not enjoy the book at all because of the high expectations. The reviews were so positive I felt I had to give it a try....

The book jumps around a lot, creates way too much page filler about the politicians back home....and is mostly a stereotypical novel. In this case it''s the "military operator gets used by the government politicians and has to go rogue to get the job done" type. Yawn. (Hence the title Without Sanction, obviously). There are some good action sections, but are short and not even starting until after about 30% of the book is labored through.

Obviously this is the start of yet another series, with the Book 1 designation. Not sure if I''ll try the next one....I doubt it, but it sure won''t be based on reviews if I do. Perhaps what I didn''t like the most was the $14 price tag...most new author books are around $ to $6 and are a lot better than this one. I''d return it if I could...but I''m outside the Amazon return window.
13 people found this helpful
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Lynn Marie Houston
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
If you like Lee Child, you will like this book
Reviewed in the United States on March 31, 2020
I got this book for my father, who has read all of Lee Child''s books (he loves Jack Reacher!) and is a little bored as we sit home very day during the COVID-19 pandemic. My father once tried to give me a copy of a book he had read (I can''t remember who the author was), and... See more
I got this book for my father, who has read all of Lee Child''s books (he loves Jack Reacher!) and is a little bored as we sit home very day during the COVID-19 pandemic. My father once tried to give me a copy of a book he had read (I can''t remember who the author was), and I just couldn''t get past all the sentence fragments. Don Bentley, however, is an amazing, gifted writer. I was very impressed with the quality of language in his book--not high-brow vocabulary words, but just rich scene setting and complex character development. I only read the first few pages, enough to know that I had done a good job ordering this book as a gift. My father is about 20% through WITHOUT SANCTION now, and he is very happy. He is already eager for the next novel by Don Bentley! I plan to get it for him as soon as it comes out.
9 people found this helpful
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@Jim_Casey_
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Terrific and Fast Paced - Fasten Your Seat Belt
Reviewed in the United States on March 9, 2020
Full Disclosure - I’m a fellow former FBI Agent and I’ve communicated with Don online since before the book came out. That said - I preordered and paid for my copy and I’m glad I did. Great mix of military, intel and complex human nature stories here. I love that Don... See more
Full Disclosure - I’m a fellow former FBI Agent and I’ve communicated with Don online since before the book came out. That said - I preordered and paid for my copy and I’m glad I did. Great mix of military, intel and complex human nature stories here. I love that Don built his story around a lesser known intelligence agency, the DIA. Reminds me of Bill Grainger’s November Man. There are so many great new thriller writers out right now, and Don is right up there at the top of the list. Great book.
10 people found this helpful
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gcssite
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Kept me going from start to finish!
Reviewed in the United States on November 10, 2020
There is no question Matt Drake is a tough dude, but not in the same way as others like James Reece, Scot Harvath, or Mitch Rapp. They are all hard, tough characters but what I like most about Without Sanction is that Matt Drake never caught a break. If something could go... See more
There is no question Matt Drake is a tough dude, but not in the same way as others like James Reece, Scot Harvath, or Mitch Rapp. They are all hard, tough characters but what I like most about Without Sanction is that Matt Drake never caught a break. If something could go wrong, it did. But Matt Drake kept pushing on. A very wise Admiral I worked for always closed letters with "P.O.R!" - "Press On, Regardless," where "regardless is the hardest part. That is Matt Drake in this book! It''ll keep you wondering how much worse can it get for Drake - yet he never quits. As a retired Navy captain, I also appreciated the role of Army Rangers throughout this book. With so many books with leading characters that were SEALS, it was refreshing that Drake was a Ranger. We sometimes forget that our military has exceptional warriors in each of the branches, so presenting Rangers in the very positive light as Don Bentley did in this book was refreshing. Finally, the conclusion Don Bentley provided knitted the beginning to the end in a way that caused me to smile. It snuck up on me and I didn''t see it coming.

I highly recommend Without Sanction! Thank you Don Bentley for an excellent read! I can''t wait for March and Book 2!
4 people found this helpful
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SteVen H.
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
...weapons ‘hot’ action thriller by Don Bentley.
Reviewed in the United States on March 6, 2021
Book Review - New Author Don Bentley just stormed the action thriller genre with an explosive breaching charge with his debut novel “Without Sanction!” I am always a bit skeptical about starting a new thriller series because there are so many of them that already exist but... See more
Book Review - New Author Don Bentley just stormed the action thriller genre with an explosive breaching charge with his debut novel “Without Sanction!” I am always a bit skeptical about starting a new thriller series because there are so many of them that already exist but a good friend highly recommended reading Bentley because he is also taking over the Jack Ryan, Jr. series in the Tom Clancy books. His recommendation turned out to be another good one! Without Sanction has a new base of characters I have no attachment to, a new author, a new writing style and most importantly a new protagonist with no established backstory. How could I possibly immerse myself in a new character at a level consistent with all my other beloved ‘door kicker’ novels. Well, come to find out, I was all-in by the second chapter. Bentley writes this like a seasoned vet, although, a quick glance at his history confirms he was a real life ‘Badass’ himself and not a writer or at least a published one. I''m one that imagines vivid pictures while I read, I enjoy the action sequences and “ManBook" plot lines and without knowingly doing so, I was easily creating very detailed images of the scenes in Without Sanction like usual. The emotions felt deep, drawn from what were probably real-life events, the tension, the stress and the camaraderie were all there. I''ve become accustom to reading about the strong bonds between the special operators and their military counterparts in other action thriller series and the one between the main character Matt Drake and his partner Froto share an unrivaled loyalty that is truly inspiring. Matt Drake is a former-Airborne Ranger turned DIA (Defense Intelligence Agency) case officer. Struggling with the guilt of a mission gone bad, he is dragged back into the game against his will to help stop a chemical weapons threat. Drake finds himself chasing down a would-be asset with firsthand knowledge of the weapon, while also trying to rescue a fellow Army Ranger who''s been captured and awaiting terrorist assassination via internet livestream. Loads of gut-wrenching action, twists and turns and "he did what!?" fill this non-stop thriller from start to finish. To cap it off, I was genuinely surprised by a plot twist in the final chapters. I thought by this point after reading more than a hundred action/espionage/political thrillers, I couldn''t be surprised anymore! Well, I was surprised...and so will you! Here''s hoping Don Bentley’s second novel, “The Outside Man” (out in March) is as good as his debut thriller, Without Sanction. This was a ‘weapons hot’ read Don, awesome debut!
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RS
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Without Sanction
Reviewed in the United States on June 21, 2020
If you''re a fan of espionage and military thrillers, you need to read this book. On the surface, the novel might seem to cover familiar territory, but Don Bentley throws in enough elements to stand out from the pack. Most notable are the realistic and human... See more
If you''re a fan of espionage and military thrillers, you need to read this book.

On the surface, the novel might seem to cover familiar territory, but Don Bentley throws in enough elements to stand out from the pack. Most notable are the realistic and human characters and the solid prose. The book does feature a WMD, double agents, special forces, and cool action scenes, but it''s really a story about loyalty and redemption.

The characters are mostly soldiers or veterans, portrayed as supremely dedicated to each other and their country, but they also carry physical and emotional scars from their years of service. Even the the double-dealing politician is not without human qualities that makes him at times sympathetic.

Matt Drake is no Mitch Rapp copycat. He is a likable, believable, and damaged protagonist. He''s also a former Ranger and a DIA case officer. Rather than just going around killing terrorists, he recruits and manages assets and collects intelligence. Bentley provides ample detail on tradecraft and technology as Drake goes about infiltrating Syria to make contact with an agent

There are still plenty of action scenes and gunfights, and Bentley provides vivid tactical detail and brings these scenes to life. He also writes one of the most thrilling airborne insertions to be put to print. There''s also an intricate aviation scene that likely demonstrates what Bentley will bring to the table as a future Clancy author.

By far, though, the most compelling parts of the book are those relating to Drake''s internal battles as he seeks to atone for a past failure that resulted in the death of an agent and the agent''s family, and how this impairs him both physically and mentally. There is doubt throughout whether Drake will complete his mission. Even he expects failure, but his determination to persevere all the same is what makes him a compelling protagonist.

Terrific and flawl
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Top reviews from other countries

Lagoon
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A rewarding blend of espionage and action.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 17, 2021
Sent to Syria to bring back a chemical weapons scientist, Matt Drake is, initially, far from fully invested. Of course, once the adrenaline kicks in, there’s no keeping a good man down, and it takes a lot to keep Drake down. As the old maxim has it, it is better to travel...See more
Sent to Syria to bring back a chemical weapons scientist, Matt Drake is, initially, far from fully invested. Of course, once the adrenaline kicks in, there’s no keeping a good man down, and it takes a lot to keep Drake down. As the old maxim has it, it is better to travel than to arrive, and Without Sanction is more about the bigger picture than a grenade blast of activity once the stage is set. From political posturing, personal agenda advancements and grey ops to ieds, haho jumps and weaponised drones, the story here is far more nuanced than many military thrillers and, to my mind, more satisfying for it. If you have read I am Pilgrim, then you’ll have an idea of the feel here. Drake has a keen sense of humour and it’s very easy to spend time in his company. And with the sequel coming out shortly, that’s exactly what I intend to do.
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Stone
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
You don''t read this book, you feel it!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on June 16, 2020
Take the worlds best names, Rolls Royce, Gucci, Rolex and now add Don Bentley to that list. When it comes to description Don Bentley writes like Mozart plays a piano! With every step you take through this book, you taste, smell, feel and live what Matt Drake is going...See more
Take the worlds best names, Rolls Royce, Gucci, Rolex and now add Don Bentley to that list. When it comes to description Don Bentley writes like Mozart plays a piano! With every step you take through this book, you taste, smell, feel and live what Matt Drake is going through. You''re immersed into a world that pulls you in and won''t let you go as the tension build with every chapter. Hard work has gone into the creation of this work of art and you can tell with every sentence. He''s raised the bar so high for a debut author, I can''t wait to read more of his future work!
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Mrs. S. Locke
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Good story great charters
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 7, 2021
Very good story
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Margaret Steacy
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
wow talk about ACTION packed....
Reviewed in Canada on April 1, 2020
well if your a back seat Military action fan this book is for you. a Brand New Author Don Bentley writes with a fresh new fashion that you just cannot even begin to imagine what next will coming around the corner. this Book was thrilling yet exhausting. i felt every emotion...See more
well if your a back seat Military action fan this book is for you. a Brand New Author Don Bentley writes with a fresh new fashion that you just cannot even begin to imagine what next will coming around the corner. this Book was thrilling yet exhausting. i felt every emotion our main characters were displaying. i was unable to put this book down and yet life goes on.. Such a great tough main character , loyal and smart and i want him to be my neighbour.. The Author Don Bentley has produced a great tale and well written. I hope he has the next one in his typewriter as we speak because there has to be a seres that continues on and on on this character. so well done ..
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Thrawn95
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
The spiritual successor of I AM PILGRIM
Reviewed in Germany on June 9, 2020
Don Bentley hooked me from the first sentence and didn’t let go til the very end. In today‘s world of daily new spy thriller releases, it’s not easy for an author to stand out. Bentley pulls of this feat by a combination of four: first his eloquence. Second the engaging...See more
Don Bentley hooked me from the first sentence and didn’t let go til the very end. In today‘s world of daily new spy thriller releases, it’s not easy for an author to stand out. Bentley pulls of this feat by a combination of four: first his eloquence. Second the engaging first-person-narrative. Third the protagonist’s dark sense of humor. And last but not least the emotional heart which permeates the whole story. Every character feels real and relatable - even the so-called bad guy, if you take the effort of putting yourself in his shoes. The heart-wrenching struggle of Matt Drake brought me goosebumps at times. And the author portrays it in a way that not only those how served get what drives this brave man. Through in a plot with relevance, surprising twists and breathtaking action and you have on of the best thrillers currently out there. Don Bentley is a name to watch!
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