One of my best friends, Bill Bleich, is a fabulously-successful screenwriter. And he is generous with his advice. He once told me:

You can boil down the plot of anything – a Greek Tragedy, a novel, a movie, you name it – into this: “What do these guys want, why do they want it, and what’s keeping them from getting it?” If you think about just about anything you’ve read or watched, I’m confident you’ll likely reach the same conclusion about that story.

When we came up with the high-concept for Tom Clancy’s Op-Center: Scorched Earth, we were firm in our decision that we’d focus intently on the Islamic State – also known as ISIS or ISIL.

The book was just released (August 2) as a trade paperback and if you read it – and we hope you will – you’ll see the sharp focus on the Islamic State.

Still, for many who feel whipsawed reading news reports or what the Islamic State is doing, it’s tough to understand what ISIL is doing and why they’re doing it. As we researched the subject we came across a wealth of material – some of it useful, some not so much. One of the great resources we uncovered was a March 2015 article in The Atlantic. Here is part of what it said:

The Islamic State is no mere collection of psychopaths. It is a religious group with carefully considered beliefs, among them that it is a key agent of the coming apocalypse. Here’s what that means for its strategy—and for how to stop it.

If you want to better understand “What do these guys want, why do they want it, and what’s keeping them from getting it?”   Read more of this outstanding report here.

If you want to see how life imitates art, read more about our New York Times best-selling Tom Clancy’s Op-Center series and our just-released Scorched Earth here.