Total Empire by A. J. Tata #BookReview #Thriller #Military #Political #TotalEmpire #AJTata

General Garrett Sinclair undertakes a rogue mission in the Sahara Desert to thwart an international nuclear threat in Total Empire, an explosive thriller from A. J. Tata.

When Sergeant Major Sylvester “Sly” Morgan is killed on a mission, his daughter, Zoey, tells General Garrett Sinclair that her father’s death wasn’t random. Morgan had recorded a high-level meeting between Chinese, American, and French diplomats as they spoke about a plan for a new global government.

The “Chinese-U.S. Partnership”, or CUSP, intends to combine the world’s two largest economies and militaries to usher in a new era of partnership and leadership. But China’s offer has a deadline and penalties for noncompliance. As a safeguard, China has five high-tech hypersonic glide vehicles armed with nuclear weapons orbiting the Earth ready to strike. When Zoey disappears in Africa, seemingly while in pursuit of her father’s killer, Sinclair and Dagger Team are caught off-guard as they scramble to catch up.

Without authorization, Sinclair takes Dagger Team into Dakhla, Morocco as he attempts to save his goddaughter’s life. With too many missions to complete and not enough information, Sinclair and team discover that the Chinese plan is nearly complete. As one nuclear glide vehicle misses Washington, DC but hits Loudoun County, Virginia, Sinclair’s mission in the Sahara is to stop the Chinese from using its ground based laser targeting system before they can more accurately launch the remaining four. Facing insurmountable odds and without support from his government, Sinclair takes his team into the maw of the Saharan death pit, the Eye of Africa.

Thank you to St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley for the advanced digital copy of this book to read and review.

What’s it about (in a nutshell):

Total Empire by A.J. Tata is an edge-of-your-seat political thriller about General Garrett Sinclair’s personal mission to find his goddaughter in the Chinese-occupied Saharan desert. When a military mission goes very wrong, Sinclair loses his best friend, Sly, and must return home and tell Sly’s daughter, Zoey, that her father died under his command. She sets off for the Saharan desert to find the man responsible for her father’s death and exact her revenge. But, once Sinclair learns what she’s doing, he sets off to save her from the many evils in that desert.

My Reading Experience:

The very personal tale of grief, loss, and the need for revenge held my attention without fail. The suspense and tension kept me glued to the page, and all the twists and turns kept the pages flipping quickly. 

The military parts of the story didn’t go as fast for me, but that was mainly just in the opening chapters. Once the story turned more personal, I was hooked.

Seeing the fictional interactions of people in our government was just terrifying. I loved that the president of the US is a woman and that many of her cabinet appointments are also women. I’m always all for women’s empowerment in fiction and real life. But, the corruption for what boils down to personal gain is absolutely chilling. How politicians manipulate the media and misuse their power is frustrating at best. There’s no denying that it makes for a very compelling story. And if there is ever a time for good to win, it is essential in a story like this that reflects the potential of the real world.


General Garrett Sinclair is an officer that all soldiers should aspire to be. His leadership abilities are just part of who he is, his instincts are good, and his bravery in the face of adversity is unparalleled. His wife’s death still haunts him, so when his best friend, Sergeant Major Sly Morgan, dies in a military mission, he wastes no time going after Sly’s daughter Zoey as she prepares to take down the man who killed her father. He risks his job and life in the race to save Zoey from one of the most scrupulous killers in the world.

All of the characters are well-developed and relatable. Their struggles and loss create layer upon layer of development that holds the story together and keeps me interested in what happens to each of them – no matter how minor.

Narration & Pacing:

The pacing is fast for most of the story. Sometimes my reading felt bogged down with the politics in the story, which slowed the pace. Still, since most of the chapters focus on Sinclair and his mission to find his goddaughter, those periods were brief. Other chapters were written in third-person limited and focused on either the bad guy, Sanson (aka the Executioner), or the president of the US, Kim Campbell, and what was going on in their world, which of course, related back to Sinclair’s and his personal mission.


The Eye of Africa makes such an intriguing setting. I just learned about this natural anomaly that is rumored to be the location of the lost city of Atlantis. It works perfectly in every way with the story’s plot and adds an extra bit of fascination. The Saharan desert, where the Eye is located, adds to the character’s struggles as they try to complete what they set out to do, which helps to keep the pace fast and my eyes glued to the page.

Read if you like:

  • Fast-paced thrillers
  • Character-driven stories
  • Intriguing settings

Overall Rating:⭐⭐⭐⭐💫

Writing Quality10
Character Development8
‘Couldn’t Put It Down’-ness10
Use of Setting10
All scores, except the overall rating, are on a scale of 1-10. The overall rating is converted to the standard 5-point system.

18 Replies to “Total Empire by A. J. Tata #BookReview #Thriller #Military #Political #TotalEmpire #AJTata”

  1. it’s great the U.S. had a female president for a change and there are women involved in government but I believe politics is a muddy business that only gets everyone involved in it dirty. This sounds really good. Amazing review!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I agree with Wendy – this isn’t a book I’d typically pick up, but it sounds compelling. I’d never heard of the Eye of Africa so I had to look it up. Fascinating.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m not so sure I’d get through the politics and military sections, but the personal interactions sound strong, and I love the idea of the Eye of Africa. I’d never heard of it before!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Great review, Tessa. Thank you for sharing it. I doubt I’ll be reading it, but I appreciate knowing about it.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Sounds like a great read, Tessa. I don’t pick up many military/political thrillers, but I do enjoy them. The despicable politics drives me crazy, but that’s the world today. It’s messed up. The emotional aspects of this book make it really compelling for someone who enjoys a character-driven novel. Thanks for the recommendation!

    Liked by 1 person

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