State of Terror: A Novel - book cover
Thrillers & Suspense
  • Publisher : Simon & Schuster/St. Martin’s Press
  • Published : 12 Oct 2021
  • Pages : 512
  • ISBN-10 : 198217367X
  • ISBN-13 : 9781982173678
  • Language : English

State of Terror: A Novel


Named one of the most anticipated novels of the season by People, Associated Press, Time, Los Angeles Times, Parade, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, The Guardian, Publishers Weekly, and more.

From the #1 bestselling authors Hillary Clinton and Louise Penny comes a novel of unsurpassed thrills and incomparable insider expertise-State of Terror.

After a tumultuous period in American politics, a new administration has just been sworn in, and to everyone's surprise the president chooses a political enemy for the vital position of secretary of state.

There is no love lost between the president of the United States and Ellen Adams, his new secretary of state. But it's a canny move on the part of the president. With this appointment, he silences one of his harshest critics, since taking the job means Adams must step down as head of her multinational media conglomerate.

As the new president addresses Congress for the first time, with Secretary Adams in attendance, Anahita Dahir, a young foreign service officer (FSO) on the Pakistan desk at the State Department, receives a baffling text from an anonymous source.

Too late, she realizes the message was a hastily coded warning.

What begins as a series of apparent terrorist attacks is revealed to be the beginning of an international chess game involving the volatile and Byzantine politics of Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Iran; the race to develop nuclear weapons in the region; the Russian mob; a burgeoning rogue terrorist organization; and an American government set back on its heels in the international arena.

As the horrifying scale of the threat becomes clear, Secretary Adams and her team realize it has been carefully planned to take advantage of four years of an American government out of touch with international affairs, out of practice with diplomacy, and out of power in the places where it counts the most.

To defeat such an intricate, carefully constructed conspiracy, it will take the skills of a unique team: a passionate young FSO; a dedicated journalist; and a smart, determined, but as yet untested new secretary of state.

State of Terror is a unique and utterly compelling international thriller cowritten by Hillary Rodham Clinton, the 67th secretary of state, and Louise Penny, a multiple award-winning #1 New York Times bestselling novelist.

Editorial Reviews

"[A] pulsating thriller." ― People

"A Page-Turner Part Sly, Part Sweet….Surprising...The plot is ambitious and apocalyptic…. [and] a high-speed diplomatic race... This is a romp. The authors have a great deal of fun throwing up red herrings…. Political junkies will relish the veiled insults to real-life people….The emotional cast to the writing, the tendency to dangle portents and wait some time before resolving them, the depiction of friendship, the short paragraphs, the philosophical aperçus - these are all marks of Penny's writing....If Clinton is slyly settling old political scores, she is also, sweetly, celebrating women's support of one another later in life." ― New York Times

"To say more would rob readers of the pleasures of discovery in this taut thriller, a story made all the more relevant by the U.S.'s recent withdrawal from Afghanistan. Possessed of both head and heart, 'State of Terror's' layering of ethical tradeoffs, political intrigue, high-level espionage and pure evil perfectly melds Clinton's intimate knowledge of the State Department and foreign policy with Penny's mastery of genre mechanics." ― Los Angeles Times

"Consistently entertaining….Penny and Clinton demonstrate a sure hand at international intrigue and narrative pacing….The real key to ‘State of Terror,' though, is its secret weapon: female friendship." ― The Washington Post

"Hillary Rodham Clinton pairs up with powerhouse mystery novelist Louise Penny for State of Terror, a political thriller full of action and intrigue...Clinton and Penny create a heart-pounding mystery about terrorism, corruption and diplomacy, meticulously written with the promise of details only someone on the inside could contribute." ― TIME Magazine

"The real-life inspiration is clear, but this version is way more fun." ― Entertainment Weekly

"State of Terror is a plot-driven concoction, featuring a classic race against time to out-maneuver international terrorists and homegrown traitors hellbent on turning the United States into a Russian satellite state...State of Terror is a giddy read, particularly for women of a certain age... All thrillers are fantasy stories - fantasies about power and ingenuity. In State of Terror, an older woman draws on her expertise, a reserve of female solidarity, and the magic of a tool James Bond never scored - a pair of Spanx - and she manages to avert disaster. As thriller fantasies go, this one feels a lot more plausible to me than most."

  ― Maureen Corrigan, NPR "Fresh Air"

 "[W]hen a recent American presidential nominee writes a book with Canada's most beloved mystery author, attention is due....Combining insider knowledge with hi...

Readers Top Reviews

TJ PawleysColleen K.
When the book arrived today, I quickly read the jacket notes and thought I’d peruse the first few chapters. I put it down for dinner and thought I would offset the political nay sayer gnomes out there with a good review. I’m not sure where this is headed and by now I usually have a good idea, so yes it’s well written. Secretary Clinton obviously called on her past experiences and combined them with Louise Penny’s genius to provide the suspenseful twists. I am not one who enjoys a regular diet of novels, but this one is hard to put down and I cant wait to see where it goes next.
Connor Malbeuf
What a fabulous read. Highly recommend to anyone! Thanks Sec. Clinton!
WAIT to buy this one at the dollar store...It truly wish I had my money back. Wish I had the several hours it took to read it back. WASTE OF TIME and MONEY! I will put it up on Ebay for sale maybe I can recoup some of my losses....some left wing dem will get sucked into buying it... heck they buy into Biden's garbage daily... BTW, if she's such a good writer, why would she NEED to "co-write" a fictional novel with such a well known best selling author....OHHH! .... I get it....she probably didn't write much of it at all....I wonder if Ms. Penny will get as much $ as the guy Ms. Clinton paid to write the Russian Dossier?.... Things that make ya' go HMMMM???>>>> She should write a fictional novel about all the political fiction she has created in her political career. WAIT that would be considered an AUTOBIOGRAPHY! Would be a bestseller at the dollar store. BTW...I'm an INDEPENDENT politically>>>>
Derek A. Weakley
I’d like to first point out that the only reason this new novel has 3 stars is because the MAGAts are tanking the ratings. This book is incredible! Well-written, thrilling and full of energy.
(Note – I do not allow politics or the author's personal history to influence my book reviews. I am only concerned with what is in the book. If you dislike HRC because of political reasons, then just don't buy the book; but writing a bad review because you dislike the author doesn't help anyone that might want to know more about the book) This book has 45 chapters, and a total of about 486 pages in the digital version, not including Notes. I don't want to spoil the plot, so I'll just discuss general information about the book, and my personal thoughts after reading it. The main character is Ellen Adams, the new Secretary of State that has been recently appointed by her political rival Douglas Williams. By her side is her friend and adviser Betsy, and together the two of them will immediately face challenges as Secretary Adams attempts to navigate the difficult world international politics. The authors attempt to make Adams seem relatable and realistic, while still being a competent leader. The book deals with multiple terrorist organizations, both fictional and real; and the characters face super high stakes situations, like assassinations and nuclear weapons. There is a bit of mystery also, and certain details aren't revealed until the very end of the book. This book was written before the American withdrawal from Afghanistan, but it is notable that the possible ramifications of that withdrawal are mentioned in the book, rather specifically. I will let you draw your own conclusions there, but the timing is certainly interesting. In the Acknowledgments section, Clinton explains that the main characters in this book were loosely based on actual real life friends of hers with the same first names (Ellen and Betsy), that had recently passed away over the past few years. It is a nice gesture to honor your friends by including them in your book, although it makes me wonder what the real people would've thought of the characters that they inspired... Overall, I had mixed feelings about this book. Some of the plot seemed very cliché, and some of the events seemed so unrealistic that it was hard to suspend disbelief; but at the same time many of the character interactions seemed genuine. This might be because some of the main characters were based on real people, so the authors had a better idea of how these characters would react in certain situations. There was generally enough action to keep me reading, but some of the explanations seemed shaky, and there are some things that are just quickly explained in the very last chapter that I wish would've had more foreshadowing. I'd have to give this book about a 3.7 / 5; it is the kind of book that was interesting enough to keep me reading, but at the end I wasn't blown away with the story that I had just finished.