ABOUT John Fenzel

John Fenzel
From commanding Green Berets in wartime to serving in the White House and in the Immediate Office of the Secretary of Defense, John Fenzel’s qualifications and experiences are both unique and first hand.  He has commanded numerous Special Forces organizations, leading the first-ever dep More...



In Bosnia, the past is prologue for one man who must come to terms with a violent and tragic past in order to prevent a renewed war... and an unimaginable holocaust.  An explosive international thriller, The Lazarus Covenant explores the scourge of extremism, terrorism and war in a haunting tale of friendship, faith and forgiveness. Writing from his own experiences, John Fenzel relates this story authentically in dramatic settings that extend from the Oval Office to the Balkans, all in a time of extreme crisis.

From a brutal turn in the lyrical opening passage to its gripping end, this novel will captivate readers with the story of Serbian-born, Northern Ireland-raised European Union Police Commissioner Mark Lyons. A former officer in the British SAS and Police Chief in Belfast, Lyons is dispatched to his native Balkans on a mission that turns up not only a terrorist plot propelled by the region’s ethnic and religious feuding but also unresolved mysteries from his own troubled past. Author John Fenzel, an officer in the U.S. Special Forces, brings authenticity and rich detail to the story based on his own experience from the White House Situation Room to the bloody war zones of central Europe.
Ann Scott Tyson, Washington Post

If John le Carre were to visit the Balkans, this is the kind of thriller he would produce. Fenzel probes the dark secrets of one of Europe's most intriguing places--Bosnia--bringing its tortured history to life while crafting an even more disturbing story involving ruthless terrorists, loose nukes, and a team of secret operatives racing to prevent disaster. And this author is no armchair commando. Fenzel, a special operations officer in the U.S. Army, has generated fascinating prose that can only come from someone who has seen the intel, belly-crawled across unknown battlefields, and helped manage crises in the West Wing. The Lazarus Covenant explores a secretive world with rare verisimilitude, while deftly plumbing some questions of good and evil.
Rick Newman, Firefight: Inside the Battle to Save the Pentagon on 9-11, and correspondent, U.S.News & World Report

No publisher will give me the column inches I need to comment on this novel. To say I enjoyed it and turned the pages furiously is an understatement. I was totally absorbed in this compelling and exciting work.  John Fenzel’s military experiences, his sense of history and place, and the blend of characters and conflict make this a truly suspenseful, impressive and easy read.
Tom Ridge, Former Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security

The Lazarus Covenant races along the razor edge of a darkly dangerous precipice—a compelling story written by an author whose real life traced that same razor edge.”
Robert Andrews, A Murder of Justice (G.P. Putnam)

John Fenzel has written a gripping modern Balkans intrigue with action that is both fast and believable as he weaves in the political, military, ethnic and religious stresses of the region.
Admiral Steve Abbot (USN, Ret.), Former Commander of the Sixth Fleet and Former Deputy Homeland Security Advisor

The Lazarus Covenant weaves the haunting history of the Balkan wars with a contemporary tale of nuclear terrorists on the loose, all the while catapulting the reader through the hairpin turns of its suspenseful plot.  Each of Covenant’s many unexpected revelations unveils another layer of intrigue and draws us closer to the intrepid Mark Lyons and the villains he must identify and stop before it’s too late.  John Fenzel masterfully combines key elements—grisly Balkan history, the specter of nuclear terrorism, and a compelling level of operational detail—to give his story a gripping, even unsettling, realism.  This novel will reward both veterans and newcomers to these issues with a page-turning adventure not to be missed. I'll look for it on the bestseller lists....
Max Boot, Foreign-Affairs Columnist for the Los Angeles Times, Senior Fellow in National Security Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, Author of  War Made New: (Gotham Books, 2006) 

You cannot write an intriguing, edge of your seat book like this unless you are grounded from experience in actual operations. Colonel John Fenzel has the training and real world experience in the Balkans and with special operating units to bring this story to life.”
Brigadier General (USA, Ret.) David Grange, CNN Military Analyst

In a book infused with history, John Fenzel blends riveting intrigue with multi-layered plots. I found myself caught in a spider's web of suspense that only grew with each chapter. Set in Bosnia in 2007, the narrative unfolds as terrorists plot nuclear Armageddon cunningly using centuries of ethnic and religious conflict to mask their moves. The battlefield stretches from small villages in the Balkans to the White House and the Persian Gulf. Fenzel's extensive field experience with special operations and his intimate knowledge of the inner corridors of power in Washington D.C. infuse The Lazarus Covenant with vivid imagery and a deep-rooted sense of reality that will leave you wondering where art ends and reality begins. 
Donatella Lorch, Director, Knight International Press Fellowships, International Center for Journalists

Colonel John Fenzel's experiences on the front lines of the global war on terror make The Lazarus Covenant an incredibly gripping and compelling read; that he is an equally masterful storyteller also makes this page-turner first-rate entertainment. While the current publishing field is crowded with wanna-be commandos, very few of them have ever been in the weeds, calling an air strike, surviving in a shifting world of intentions and misdirections, where survival is matter of smarts as well as brawn. If you want to know the news behind the news, and to see first-hand the drama of "the human heart in conflict with itself," read Fenzel. Period. His writing career is filled with nothing but promise. The Lazarus Covenant is just the beginning, and it is a superb one.
Doug Stanton, In Harm's Way: The Sinking of the USS Indianapolis and the Extraordinary Story of Its Survivors (Owl Books)

Colonel Fenzel's The Lazarus Covenant is an engrossing adventure story that puts believable men and women in the vortex of Balkan politics. It is a remarkably well-written novel with a graceful style, rich detail, and characters who are entirely believable and whose destinies are of compelling interest. While other authors gather material for their stories in libraries, this book is clearly based on the author's extensive experience inside American Special Forces and on the ground in the Balkans. Only a Green Beret could write such a detailed, convincing, and culturally sensitive novel where the reader is never quite sure how much is fiction and how much is fact. An excellent story told in an excellent way.
Hans Halberstadt, Roughneck Nine One, War Stories of The Green Berets, U.S. Navy Seals In Action, Green Berets -- Unconventional Warriors Under Cover

Riveting! Relentless, brilliantly nuanced, and vividly detailed. Told with an insider’s view of one of the world's flashpoints and the horrors of war, The Lazarus Covenant plunges us headlong into tomorrow's headlines.
Dick Couch, Chosen Soldier and The Sheriff of Ramadi

John Fenzel has witnessed first hand the triumph and tragedy of life in the Balkans.  He has used that experience, and his expert knowledge of the inner workings of government, to produce a brilliant debut novel.  Rich in detail and brimming with suspense, The Lazarus Covenant paints a chilling picture of how the passions of the Balkans could ignite yet another round of conflict....only this time with global consequences.  
Roger Cressey, Former White House Counterterrorism Director and NBC News Terrorism Analyst

I could not put this book down. The Lazarus Covenant is a triumph of smart suspense fiction while remaining true to its setting in Bosnia and Croatia. The characters are intriguing, memorable and remarkably authentic "wartime" personalities.

Kelly Moore, Former Spokeswoman for the United Nations Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina

John Fenzel's extensive knowledge of the Balkans together with his background as a Special Forces officer combine to produce a dynamic plot and absorbing story that will catapult The Lazarus Covenant to the top of the suspense genre. I found it so gripping and realistic, I had a hard time believing it was fiction!
Frank Antenori, Roughneck Nine One (St. Martin’s Press)