Book review: The Ragnarok Conspiracy is a powerful spy thriller

In his debut novel, The Ragnarok Conspiracy, Erec Stebbins takes a look at global terrorism with a twist in an entertaining spy thriller. Photo: AP

CHARLOTTEFebruary 28, 2013 – In his debut espionage thriller, The Ragnarok Conspiracy (, Erec Stebbins takes his James Bond-style novel to a new level where the world is both “shaken and stirred.”

Stebbins spins a taut tale of international intrigue with a unique twist when the Islamic world is confronted with global annihilation through terrorism. It is contemporary story-telling at its riveting best as Stebbins takes us from continent to continent to hunt down a terrorism organization that threatens world stability resulting from its efforts to wipe out Muslims throughout the planet.

FBI agent John Savas has been fighting inner demons after losing his only son on 9/11/2001. Now he finds his personal conflicts ensnared by the challenge of transcending his hatred of Islam in order to bring an enemy to justice.

Not only is the dedicated FBI agent’s team forced into a joint investigation with the CIA, Savas must also endure the intense hostility of having to work with Agent Hussam Jordan, a devout Muslim. 

Stebbins, who was living in New York when the World Trade Center was attacked, says “When we suffer a grievous wrong, instinct pushes us to take revenge. I experienced this firsthand.”

“My stories often come from the raw emotional conflicts created by contemporary events. I strongly believe that the best stories challenge us, so I try to create art with a certain kind of relevant edge.”

Stebbins does, indeed, create “art” with rich description that paints vibrant word pictures. Chapters are generally short taking the reader on a wild constantly changing ride of international espionage.

While Savas is forced to overcome his hatred of Islam by planning operations with Jordan, he must also race against time to stop the retaliation efforts of William Gunn, a wealthy American businessman whose wife was killed on 9/11.

Gunn is recruiting highly efficient covert soldiers to incorporate the al-Qaeda-style tactic of hitting multiple terrorism targets at the same time in different locations. “Mjonir”, the name of Gunn’s organization, derives inspiration from Norse mythology, including a prophecy which details the apocalypse known as “Ragnarok.”

Stebbins cleverly understands that most Americans who lived through the events of 9/11 continue to experience varying levels of personal debate when it comes to the war against terrorism and concepts of forgiveness and embracing your fellow man.

It is a dilemma which, oddly enough, the Muslim, Jordan, has resolved, but which Savas continues to rebel against, even after he has come to terms with his issues with his Islamic colleague.

Stebbins earned a degree in physics from Oberlin College in 1992 and a PhD in biochemistry at Cornell in 1999.

Like so many Americans, Stebbins found himself battling a multitude of emotions that were awakened by the 9/11 attacks. Inverting his initial reactions, Stebbins gradually developed the character of John Savas, who is a victim of conflicting forces deep within his soul. Savas realizes that he must overcome his desire for revenge to channel his energy into a larger crisis that could ultimately determine the fate of the world.

Though a highly plausible work of fiction, Stebbins is intrigued by the unsettling complexities our democracy faces in an increasingly dangerous global community. Compromise is of the essence, but the challenges lie in where to institute the concessions necessary to maximize our security and stability.

The Ragnarok Conspiracy is thoughtfully and intelligently researched to present an epic and powerful drama that speaks to the reader from a modern perspective. The manuscript works because Stebbins conveys situations that are easily internalized by his readers. The possibilities are real which makes the potential outcome explosive, and even a little bit frightening.

Erec Stebbins has created a highly believable, page-turning account of the search for an “American bin Laden.”

As Stebbins says, “The pain is as deep as it can be, the vengeance extreme, the temptation acute to become whatever retribution deems necessary – until we ourselves become as much the enemy as those we pursue.”

In that one sentence, Erec Stebbins summarizes his first novel The Ragnarok Conspiracy. It’s a thriller for anyone who remembers how dramatically the world changed in mere minutes a little more than a decade ago.

The Ragnarok Conspiracy by Erec Stebbins (Seventh Street Books, 346 pages) is available at, Barnes&, and through all major booksellers. 

Contact Bob at  <ahref=””>Google+</a>

Peabod is Bob Taylor, owner of Taylored Media Services in CharlotteNCTaylor is founder of The Magellan Travel Club, which creates, and escorts customized tours to SwitzerlandFrance and Italy for groups of 12 or more.

Inquiries for groups can be made at Taylored Media has produced marketing videos for British Rail, Rail Europe, Switzerland Tourism, the Swedish Travel & Tourism Council, the Finnish Tourist Board, the Swiss Travel System and Japan Railways Group among others.

As author of The Century Club book, Peabod is now attempting to travel to 100 countries or more during his lifetime. To date he has visited 71 countries. Suggest someplace new for Bob to visit; if you want to know where he has been, check his list on Facebook. Bob plans to write a sequel to his book when he reaches his goal of 100 countries. He also played professional baseball for four years and was a sportscaster for

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Bob Taylor

Bob Taylor has been travel writer for more than three decades. Following a career as an award winning sports producer/anchor, Taylor’s media production business produced marketing presentations for Switzerland Tourism, Rail Europe, the Finnish Tourist Board, Japan Railways Group, the Swedish Travel & Tourism Council and the Swiss Travel System among others. He is founder of The Magellan Travel Club ( and his goal is to visit 100 countries or more during his lifetime.


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