Killer Elite is a fantastic historical military/crime thriller, very well plotted with tension dripping off the pages as the end nears and the fates of characters are revealed, or not revealed. The protagonist, an emotionally detached American contract killer named Daniel de Villiers, isn't your usual good guy but is torn between being a villain and an anti-hero. It's impossible to define him into either grouping. He's in the sociopath diagnosis as he kills innocents for money with his equally amoral hit team colleagues, a perverted tech expert, Meier, and a violent ex-paratrooper, Davies, as they hunt former British commando veteran's of the Dhofar Rebellion for a vengeful sheikh who's son's were killed by the SAS men during the war, murdered, as he says. De Villiers is a little sympathetic, with a childhood tragedy that has mentally scarred him for life, turning him into an orphan, but that doesn't free him from the lives he's taken. He's is pitted against an ex-SAS vigilante, Spike Allen, a high-ranking member of a secret society made up of ex-SAS operatives, dedicated to protecting their elite brothers. Allen is the opposite of de Villiers, a family man, a patriot, but as determined and tenacious as him. The pace is excitingly slow, understandable for this book has an unusual setting. It takes place over the course of 16 years, excluding the 1945 set prologue, from 1975 to 1991. And this is where Fiennes gets into the highly detailed settings of barren Oman, describing the clothes and weapon's used, the engine of a helicopter, even the language nouns of the people of Dhofar province, etc. Very, very uncommon for a writer to go that far into a foreign people's culture. Quite unique insight to how Omani tribes live. Anyway, back to the story, it's not painfully drawn out but Fiennes wants to push the reader into the most built-up climax I've ever read, and that needs time to be stretched for nearly two decades. He's the best author I've seen so far in keeping a person at the end of their seat, not really action-wise. No, no, no. It's more a psychological thriller of close call escapes, predator stalking prey, surveillance, and a brilliantly executed cat-and-mouse game. The assassins make their murders look like accidents in ingenious ways, but Allen isn't fooled. He tracks them down and tries to stop them, using every means at his disposal. Meier and Davies are eventually killed, by not at his hands. De Villiers fall's in love with a woman from South Africa, romantically attuned to the feelings of another human being for the first time in his life, but that takes a tragic turn. At the end, an unexpected conclusion. De Villiers fate is left up in the air,he was let go, as it were, by Allen because, he had "no proof" to put him in jail. What?! Why couldn't have Spike just put a bullet in his head? What person in their right mind would do that?! He spent almost a quarter century of his life looking for him and now this?! It made no sense at all. A lot of implied suggestions and theories are put up by Fiennes, for ultimately, the reader to decide at the closing, like de Villiers fate. It's perfect in every literary supplement except for the ridiculous ending. The poorly received and weak box office take movie adaptation was as good and is my second favorite film with Killer Elite my favorite book. If you're looking for action, boiling tension, a history lesson coupled with a trip back in time, and a mesmerizing look inside the mind of a stone-cold killer in a controversial work of semi-fiction, this is the book you'll want to read. This is the most well-crafted thriller novel ever.