First Look: "Enemy in the Wire" by Andy Symonds

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posted on August 28, 2018
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Following the death of Osama bin Laden, there was resurgent public interest in the mysterious, shadow-veiled assault teams that carried out the killing. Americans wanted to know more about the lives of the men in Navy SEAL teams, and soon after, new books and interviews provided a glimpse into the secretive world of the SEALs. One of the latest looks in the day-to-day lives of the teams comes in the form of a fiction thriller, "Enemy in the Wire," written by Andy Symonds with input from former Navy SEAL Chris McKinley.

In the book, the United States is hit by a series of bombings, and initial investigations by the FBI shows that the terrorists who committed the attacks might have come from inside the U.S. military, particularly its elite special-operations units. After serving his country faithfully in the Navy SEALs as a silent operator, Senior Chief Dan Westhead suddenly finds himself in the spotlight as a potential suspect in the bombings. Determined to clear his name and the names of his fellow SEAL team comrades, Westhead makes it his mission to find the perpetrators of the attack, and his journey toward the truth takes him deep inside the elite units of the military and leads to some tough decisions.

To ensure that "Enemy in the Wire" provides an accurate, realistic look into the world of the SEALs, Symonds teamed up with McKinley, who served as an operator on SEAL Team Eight in Naval Special Warfare Group II. In his military career, McKinley worked as an instructor in close-quarters combat and urban operations and, after leaving active duty, worked as a private military contractor while supporting Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom and Al' Qaeda in the Lands of the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). He also founded the INVICTUS Group, which is a special-operations consulting consortium. With McKinley's military background, Symonds also added value to the military experience through his childhood growing up on military bases across the world as a military brat. His father had a 33-year career in the U.S. Navy, which meant that Symonds can bring a wealth of experience to the fore.

This body of experience is evident in "Enemy in the Wire," as tactical scenes are illuminated with specific details regarding equipment in-use with elite military operators, such as the Knight's Armament SR-25. Even specifics of actual rounds used, such as the 220-grain Mk 248 MOD I .300 Win. Mag. bullet used in sniping operations, are detailed in the story, bringing a level of realism to this fictional tale that allows readers to get an inkling of experience into what life is like for modern-day operators in the military's elite units.

In fact, though "Enemy in the Wire" is a fictional story, the book is an invaluable resource for those interested in the day-to-day experiences of current-day members of the military's most-elite units, since the details of many of actual missions and deployments experienced by SEAL team veterans like Chris McKinley are locked away in top-secret files and protected by high-level security clearances in the interests of national security. In our lifetimes, we may never know the real-world engagements that many of these men took part in, but books like "Enemy in the Wire" give us actual details of SEAL life we can know without damaging U.S. interests around the world.

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