The Fifth Profession

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

Savage is what is euphemistically termed an “executive protector.” Executive protectors accompany the rich and powerful to prevent the attentions of those individuals who would attempt to harm them. Such men (women protectors apparently do not exist) are more than mere bodyguards: they also serve to counter industrial espionage and, on occasion, act as instruments of a client’s vengeance when the courts are unable or unwilling to act to punish the guilty. Savage was quite successful at his chosen profession until a job went bad in a particularly bloody fashion. Now physically recovered from his injuries, he must determine if he retains the mental toughness to resume his duties. The job, on the surface, is rather straight forward: assist his client’s sister, Rachel, in escaping from an abusive relationship and deliver her to safety.

In the course of the escape, however, Savage discovers that a fellow protector, a man he saw decapitated on his last job, is in fact alive. Moreover, once the two men compare notes they realize that their memories, in some technologically sophisticated manner, have been tampered with, so that they are no longer positive what actually happened. More important, Savage and Akira, a contemporary ronin, discover that they--and Rachel--must elude more than just the murderous minions of the abusive husband. These shadowy antagonists wish them dead and buried in unmarked graves. Clearly, a lack of knowledge is a truly dangerous thing for Savage, Rachel, and Akira.

David Morrell, the creator of Rambo and a host of other memorable characters, definitely hits the top of the thriller ladder with THE FIFTH PROFESSION. The plot is every bit as complex as anything Robert Ludlum has produced, while Morrell’s evocation of the culture and mores of contemporary Japanese society is as believable as the best of Eric Van Lustbader. THE FIFTH PROFESSION will keep readers mystified and on the edge of their chairs to the last explosive page.