The Blackbriar Genesis
February 11, 2023

Book Review

The Blackbriar Genesis

reviewed by Pam Guynn

Simon Gervais has a way of starting his novels with a shocking and powerful opening scene. His first novel in the Blackbriar series, Robert Ludlum’s The Blackbriar Genesis is no different.

Action, suspense, treachery, and intrigue keep this novel moving at a terrific pace. It has aspects of espionage, political, and military thrillers. While set mostly in the Czech Republic and Egypt, readers also travel to Greece, North Macedonia, Mexico, and the United States. This series is within the Jason Bourne universe.

A car explosion in Prague causes the death of an undercover Treadstone agent. While this can happen agents in the field, none of his superiors know why he was in Prague instead of Switzerland. Two Blackbriar operatives, Helen Jouvert and Donovan Wade, are in the region and are sent to investigate. While Treadstone is a covert clandestine assassination group, Blackbriar focuses on covert counterintelligence, counterespionage, and intelligence gathering activities.

While there are several characters in this novel, the focus is on Helen, Donovan, and their boss, Oliver Manton. While all the main characters had depth, I felt Helen was the most dynamic. She’s the team leader, multi-lingual, has great investigating skills and hand-to-hand fighting skills. She’s also competitive and his good instincts, but lacks the experience Donovan has in a firefight. Donovan is a good partner, thinks fast, and keeps his past private, but can be tough to read. Oliver is still adjusting to his new role. Readers get some insights into how he got the position as well as how he treats those reporting to him.

This suspenseful and action-filled story moves at a blistering pace. The author’s military and federal experiences are reflected in well-crafted action situations and counter-surveillance activities that felt authentic. Each rapidly turned page provided new thrills and danger. The ultimate threat to be thwarted felt extremely realistic in today’s world. My one quibble with the story was the multiple missions Helen and Donovan experienced back-to-back. I felt their lack of downtime would have made them less effective than they actually were.

Overall, this is novel was riveting, fast-paced, and engaging. If you enjoy espionage or military thrillers with strong lead characters, then this may be the series for you. The combination of a thought-provoking and convincing story line, pulse-activating action, breakneck speed, and terrific global settings makes this an intoxicating novel. I am looking forward to reading the next book in the series.

All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are my own. Publication date was October 18, 2022.


The Blackbriar Genesis available at:


Political Thriller Features