One Kingdom Under Heaven by Alastair Luft

3 Minutes Reading Time

I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.

This book tries to trick you into believing it’s a politician thriller, but it is so much more than that. A compelling social commentary set in the near future, ‘One Kingdom Under Heaven’ brings the darkest possibilities of contemporary politics into sharp relief. 

Laya V Smith, author of The Lumbermill
Book Cover: One Kingdom Under Heaven by Alastiar Luft.

Language: English

Print Length: 320 pages

Text-to-Speech | Screen Reader | Enhanced Typesetting | Word Wise | Lending

Publication Date: 17 June 2021

Categories: Political Thriller | Action/Adventure | International Fiction | Navy Seals

Trigger Warnings: Violence | Death | Profanity | Deity Swears

Read the Blurb on Amazon

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One Kingdom Under Heaven is the third book by Canadian author Alastair Luft. He published his first book, The Battle Within, in 2017. Followed in 2019 by Jihadi Bride. He is a veteran of the Canadian Armed Forces and often speaks at events. His favourite topic is: 

“how violence begets violence, and the importance of discovering one’s passion.” – Amazon Author Page

One Kindom Under Heaven is a political thriller set in the year 2029. It features China, a Navy Seal, and a murderous trek through the Taklamakan desert.  It spans April to December 2029 and gives us a possible view of our political feature post-Covid.


After China’s attack caused the death of his wife and son, Malcolm Kwong, ex-Navy Seal, set out on a mission. He wants to assassinate Zhao Guozing – the President of the People’s Republic of China. His mission will take him to the Taklamakan desert to meet with Ismail Khoja. The man who failed to assassinate President Zhao five years earlier. He needs his knowledge of the Great Hall and its underlying tunnels to reach Zhao during an annual Economic Work Conference.  

Also Read:  Red Velvet and Anemones by M.M. Ward

From there, accompanied by his small team, they will continue through the desert. They plan to enter China at the crossing of the Torugart and Irkeshtam border crossings. After a few days of surveillance, the day of the planned attack arrives. Will Malcolm be able to complete his mission and escape with his life?

What did I love?

The author uses a unique structure for his narrative. The book consists of nine chapters, alternating between 18 December 2029 and 29 April 2029. The first six chapters have a considerable difference in length. The shorter chapters one, three, and five pictures the interrogation of Malcolm Kwong by President Zhao. The longer chapters two, four, six, and eight tells Malcolm’s story, but each as a different version. Chapter two starts his story and continues in chapter four. In chapter six, we hear Zao’s version of Malcolm’s story, and in chapter 8, the author adds details omitted in Malcolm’s original version. From chapter seven, all the chapters are longer, leading up to the climax – a finale hinted at through the narrative but still unexpected.

Also Read:  Blood Dragon by Freddie P Peters

And not so much?

Even though the author breaks longer chapters into parts using asterisks, I’ve found these chapters tiring to read. The short chapters contain most of the action, while the longer chapters feature more background information (Malcolm’s story and the trek through the desert). Although the author provides interesting information about the desert, I would have expected more action in a thriller. 

Should you read it?

The narrative provides an insightful possibility of the political climate in the future in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic. And we see how easy loyalties can shift within a political environment.

I recommend One Kingdom Under Heaven for readers of spy and political thrillers and action novels. Similar books are Cyber Storm by Matthew Mather | Quantum by Patricia Cornwell | The Jack Reacher Experiment Books 1-9

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Meet Susan

Susan van der Walt is an avid reader of genres like crime, thrillers, adventure, and true stories. On Read or Rot she shares her favourite books and quotes with you. She also writes articles, book reviews and book recommendations. She lives in Alberton (South Africa) with her husband, Warrick, and fur baby, Pixie.

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