Haig, Brian 1953–
Haig, Brian 1953–
Author. U.S. Army, career infantry officer and military strategist; served as special assistant to General John M. Shalikashvili, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; International Business Communications, executive.
"SEAN DRUMMOND" SERIES
Secret Sanction, Warner Books (New York, NY), 2001.
Mortal Allies, Warner Books (New York, NY), 2002.
The Kingmaker, Warner Books (New York, NY), 2003.
Private Sector, Warner Books (New York, NY), 2003.
The President's Assassin, Warner Books (New York, NY), 2005.
Man in the Middle, Warner Books (New York, NY), 2007.
Contributor to periodicals, including New York Times, USA Today, and Harvard Journal.
Secret Sanction was optioned for film by Intermedia; all novels in the "Sean Drummond" series have been adapted to audio and e-book formats by Time Warner.
Adding to his growing list of novels featuring U.S. Army Judge Advocate General (JAG) lawyer Sean Drummond has replaced Brian Haig's own military career, during which time he was an officer and strategist. Haig was also a special assistant to General John M. Shalikashvili, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, a position that helped prepare Haig for writing his international thrillers.
Haig is the son of former Secretary of State Alexander Haig, and a number of his family members are in the legal profession, including Haig's attorney brother who practices in Washington, DC. When Shalikashvili retired, Haig accepted a lucrative offer that then fell through, and during his time without work, he began to read novels. Haig worked for an international company for one year, but when he left, he took a year to write. He was a stay-at-home father, helping with his children's needs, but in that year he also finished three books. Warner bought two and contracted for four more; with Nicholas Cage's production company optioning all of them for film, Haig was firmly established as a successful writer.
The first novel in the "Sean Drummond" series, Secret Sanction, called "an excellent military legal thriller" by Library Journal's Robert Conroy, finds Drummond in Bosnia to investigate the guilt or innocence of a U.S. Special Forces team. Thirty-five Serbs have been found dead of close-range bullet wounds to the head, and the Serbs are accusing the Green Berets of the massacre. While the Washington Post Book World's John Greenya remarked that the book contained "clumsy foreshadowing and an excess of cardboard in too many of the characterizations," a Kirkus Reviews contributor called Drummond "a combination hard-nose and closet romantic," and noted that the novel is "well-written and briskly paced."
In Mortal Allies, Drummond is called upon to defend an army officer accused of the rape and murder of the son of a high-level South Korean official. His cocounsel is former classmate and polar opposite Katherine Carlson, an attorney who specializes in defending controversial cases. The case inflames both gay-rights groups and religious activists, and the extensive media coverage threatens to cause the expulsion of U.S. troops from South Korea. A Publishers Weekly reviewer wrote that "Korean culture and the country's North/South divide play an important role in the novel's denouement, as Haig successfully kindles his powder keg of a plot."
The Kingmaker finds Drummond defending William Morrison, an unlikable general who is charged with murder and treason. In this novel, Drummond's ambivalence about defending Morrison is complicated by his romantic history with the general's wife. Booklist's George Cohen called Haig's plot "a rather standard story line," but remarked on the writer's "sharply drawn characters." Writing in the Library Journal, Robert Conroy stated that "Drummond is a marvelously imperfect hero."
Drummond has just been temporarily assigned to work in a civilian law firm in Private Sector, when a former Army colleague working on a Department of Defense case turns up dead. Drummond is drawn into the investigation, which has links to a corporate case he is currently working on. A critic for Publishers Weekly remarked that "though the novel is overlong, the hero's sharp and devilish style should keep reader interest high until the surprising conclusion." Robert Conroy commented in a review for the Library Journal that Private Sector is "enormously exciting, timely, and entertaining."
The President's Assassin, the fifth title in the series, sees Drummond investigating the murders of several key political figures, including the chief of staff, a Supreme Court justice, and the chairman of the Republican Party. With the president's life in grave danger, Drummond is up against a killer who seems to have inside information into the investigation. A Kirkus Reviews contributor commented: "When on his game, as he is here, the mouthy lawyer with the susceptible heart is as good as the genre offers." "David Pitt, writing for Booklist, felt that the novel marked an improvement in Haig's writing style. "Action is still his [Haig's] calling card, but his supporting characters are becoming more fleshed out," Pitt remarked. A reviewer for MBR Bookwatch found the novel "perhaps the best of a strong series as Brian Haig provides a fabulous political investigative thriller that grips the audience from the moment Sean opens his mouth."
In Haig's next series offering, Man in the Middle, Drummond is temporarily assigned to the CIA and sent to look into the apparent suicide of a Department of Defense official. Over the course of the investigation Drummond uncovers links between al-Qaeda and the highest levels of the American government, all within weeks of the presidential election. Booklist reviewer David Pitt found the novel "as satisfying as its forerunners," describing the series as made up of "big, action-packed thrillers that say something meaningful." Robert Conroy remarked that the novel, like the series as a whole, features "excellent writing, smart dialog, interesting characters, intriguing and often Byzantine plots, and lots of action." Although a Kirkus Reviews contributor found the novel overly long—"unnecessary chattiness adds about a hundred pages"—the overall verdict was that Man in the Middle is a "pretty good novel."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, April 1, 2001, David Pitt, review of Secret Sanction, p. 1428; May 1, 2002, George Cohen, review of Mortal Allies, p. 1506; November 15, 2002, George Cohen, review of The Kingmaker, p. 568; February 1, 2005, David Pitt, review of The President's Assassin, p. 945; December 15, 2006, David Pitt, review of Man in the Middle, p. 26.
Kirkus Reviews, April 15, 2001, review of Secret Sanction, p. 522; November 1, 2002, review of The Kingmaker, p. 1554; August 15, 2003, review of Private Sector, p. 1035; January 1, 2005, review of The President's Assassin, p. 9; November 15, 2006, review of Man in the Middle, p. 1146.
Library Journal, June 1, 2001, Robert Conroy, review of Secret Sanction, p. 216; May 15, 2002, Robert Conroy, review of Mortal Allies, p. 124; December, 2002, Robert Conroy, review of The Kingmaker, p. 178; September 1, 2003, Robert Conroy, review of Private Sector, p. 206; December 1, 2006, Robert Conroy, review of Man in the Middle, p. 110.
MBR Bookwatch, April, 2005, review of The President's Assassin.
Publishers Weekly, May 13, 2002, review of Mortal Allies, p. 52; November 18, 2002, review of The Kingmaker, p. 41; August 18, 2003, review of Private Sector, p. 56.
Washington Post Book World, August 12, 2001, John Greenya, review of Secret Sanction, p. 8.
Bookreporter.com,http://www.bookreporter.com/ (April 30, 2003), Joe Hartlaub, reviews of Secret Sanction, Mortal Allies, and The Kingmaker.
Brian Haig Home Page,http://www.brianhaig.com (September 1, 2007).