As the brutal war continues to rage in Israel and Palestine, novels like Amir Tsarfati and Steve Yohn’s Out of the Far North take on new meaning. There’s something inherently cinematic and visceral about setting a reality-inspired narrative in the Middle East, let alone against the backdrop of a conflict in one of the most troubled regions in the world. The book is technically the seventh in Tsarfati and Yohn’s Bond-like franchise, titled Nir Tavor Mossad.
The agency in the title is the real-life equivalent to the American CIA, and like any good thriller what Tsarfati and Yohn are able to do is implement universal tenets and themes into a hyper-realistic world built simultaneously on geopolitics, and imaginative escapism. As part of the synopsis reads: “…As Israel’s elite fighting forces and the Mossad go undercover, they detect the Kremlin is planning a major attack against Israel. Hunting for clues, Mossad agents Nir Tavor and Nicole le Roux plunge themselves into the treacherous underworld of Russian oligarch money, power, and decadence. With each danger they face, le Roux’s newfound Christian faith grows stronger. And battle-weary Tavor–haunted by dreams from his past–must confront memories and pain he’d sought to bury.”
The author bios compliment Tsarfati and Yohn’s extensive backgrounds with relation to Israel, likely directly adding to their painting of the narratives in each book: “Amir Tsarfati is a native Israeli and former major in the Israeli Defense Forces. He is the founder and president of Behold Israel–a nonprofit ministry that provides Bible teaching through tours, conferences, and social media. It also provides unique access to news and information about Israel from a biblical and prophetic standpoint. Amir is married with four children and resides in northern Israel. Steve Yohn is a senior writer and editor for Behold Israel. Previously, he served as pastor for a church in Strasburg, Colorado, for ten years. He has coauthored six thriller novels and ghostwritten other works. Steve has one daughter and lives with his wife just outside of Denver.”
Out of the Far North, thanks to the concurrent issues at play reflected in the fictitious actions of the characters and nations involved in the book’s conflict, is arguably the franchise’s darkest yet. There’s a sense of grimness and genuine worldly horror in what the two main characters are attempting to stop. And like any good thriller writers, Tsarfati and Yohn are brilliantly at winding the reading up. They hold potential relief and savior outcomes like carrots on sticks, but rarely do things add up or confirm how they appear.
The fact the real-life stakes of the region are playing across every television screen make this merciless, if not out-and-out sadistic if such traits weren’t genuinely reflective. The sense of there being a genuine, existentially zero sum game at play – regardless of the fictional intrigues – is something every national in the region feels at a core level. There are no Plan Bs. And the ramifications of failure, even in a work arguably with strong escapist quality, never fails to sober because of said reality.