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Exclusive Interview: “Tom Clancy’s: The Division: Hunted” Author Thomas Parrott


With Tom Clancy’s The Division: Hunted (paperback, Kindle, audiobook), writer Thomas Parrott is concluding the Operation Crossroads trilogy of technothrillers based on the titular video games, which he started in 2022 with Recruited and continued later that year with Compromised.

In the following email interview, Parrott discusses how this third installment finishes the story (and how he feels about that) as well as what influenced this final novel.

Thomas Parrott Tom Clancy's The Division Hunted Operation Crossroads

For people who didn’t read them, or the interviews we did about them [which you can read here and here, respectfully], what were your previous Division novels, Recruited and Compromised, about and when and where were they set in relation to the games The Division and The Division 2?

Recruited and Compromised are books following the trials and travails of Maira Kanhai, the Last Division Recruit (because I believe canonically she is the only one to be recruited after the Green Poison has taken its toll).

Recruited is about how she meets Division agents for the first time and joins them on an expedition into the heart of the pandemic-ravaged United States in an effort to forestall a famine. It picks up in September following the initial outbreak, about 9 months after The Division and about 2 or 3 after The Division 2‘s story began. As of when I’m answering these questions, that book is now concurrent with the ongoing seasonal story updates.

Compromised continues the tale six months later. Maira is a full-fledged Division agent, and must journey with her cell to confront a new danger rising in the Gulf Coast region. The stakes continue to rise, even as a life of danger and violence takes its toll.

And then what is The Division: Hunted about, and when does it take place in relation to your novels and the games?

Hunted is the final part of the Operation: Crossroads trilogy. It continues Maira’s story where Compromised left off.

Well, technically it picks up three months later with Maira running for her life, and a big part of the book is the question of how she ended up in those straits.

So, broadly: The Division, The Division 2, The Division 2 seasonal content + Recruited, Compromised, and finally Hunted. That’s the current timeline

You make it sound like Maira, who was the main character of Recruited and Compromised, is the villain of The Division: Hunted. Or rather that The Division thinks she’s the villain. Or am I misreading this?

You’re not misreading. Maira has been missing and presumed dead for three months, and shown up again under…questionable circumstances. A lot of people think she’s gone bad.

Why did you decide to make The Division think Maira is a villain in The Division: Hunted?

There is a thread running through the trilogy examining what it means to “go rogue.” The rogues we’ve encountered so far have been at best people with sympathetic goals but extremely questionable means. It felt like a natural continuance to have Maira end up on the other side of that line, and to examine what right and wrong mean beyond the binary nature of the color your watch glows.

In the interview we did about The Division: Recruited, you disagreed with my assumption that it, like the games, was a post-apocalyptic techno sci-fi thriller. Instead, you said it was more grounded than sci-fi, while the people who make The Division games think of them as “preventing a disaster, not just living in the wake of one.” How then, genre-wise, would you describe The Division: Hunted?

The same, pretty much. It’s still a technothriller. I tried to keep it action packed. We do introduce some new technologies to the setting, but we did so by basing them on the cutting edge of the real world, not just a handwave and magic-in-all-but-name. And they’re still struggling to try to keep the scraps of the world from crumbling the rest of the way. In a way, that might be one of the in-universe Division’s greatest weaknesses: they are ultimately a reactive organization, always on the backfoot.

Thomas Parrott Tom Clancy's The Division Hunted Operation Crossroads

You also said in The Division: Recruited interview that you’d never read any of Tom Clancy’s novels, though you had liked the movies and the Shadow Recruit TV show. Have you read any of Clancy’s books since then?

I haven’t. I worked in a Clancy-inspired world, but I think if I chased that too hard, I’d end up a cheap knockoff by nature. Wal-Mart Brand Clancy. Instead, my goal is to bring readers the best writing I can muster. I would rather be premium Tom Parrott than Great Deals Tom Clancy.

Moving on to the always beloved questions of influence: Not including The Division games, of course, do you think The Division: Hunted was influenced by any movies, TV shows, or games?

The HBO miniseries Band Of Brothers comes to mind, actually. And thereby, of course, the actual memoir it was based on [Stephen E. Ambrose’s Band Of Brothers]. This book features the largest set piece battles I’ve yet portrayed in this setting, and I was definitely inspired by the brutality, chaos, and heartbreak of combat that those examined.

And what about the good people at Massive Entertainment, who actually make The Division games. How, if at all, did they influence The Division: Hunted?

Oh, tremendously. I couldn’t have done this series without close collaboration with Lauren Stone, the narrative director for the games. She has a grand design of a story told across media, and these books are just a part of it. She answered questions all over the place, and helped me find the tone of the world.

Massive are currently working on The Division 3. In writing The Division: Hunted, did they ever ask you to remove anything or change anything because it would conflict with the third game? Or maybe because they wanted to steal it for the game?

Ha! Um, I actually don’t know. Honest truth. Certainly, I have been told “you can’t do that / go there / use this” at various times when writing the book. Whether that was to reserve an element for use in the upcoming game, I have no clue. I don’t question. If something is off limits, I busy myself with figuring out how to work around it rather than worrying about the whys and the whynots.

Now, as you mentioned, The Division: Hunted is the third and final book in the Operation Crossroads trilogy. But is this the end to you writing stories in the Division-verse as well?

I feel so lucky that we actually got to go the distance and do all three books like we wanted to. I am satisfied with the note we end this series on.

That said, I did my best to just make the books into a window into a living world. And the thing about a living world is, there are no neat conclusions. Nothing is ever truly tied up with a bow. So could there be more stories? Of course. But there’s no plan to do more. (Not as novels, anyway. The games continue, and the story lives on through them.) I think this is the end, and I hope people enjoy it as such.

So, is there anything else you think people need to know about Tom Clancy’s The Division: Hunted?

Only that while I did my absolute best to make each book stand alone, you will definitely enjoy it more in its place in the trilogy. If I have any advice, it’s start at Recruited and read the whole thing.

Thomas Parrott Tom Clancy's The Division Hunted Operation Crossroads

Finally, if someone enjoys Tom Clancy’s The Division: Hunted, and they’ve already read Recruited and Compromised, what similar novel of someone else’s would you suggest they read next?

Depends on why they liked it, I suppose. The catalog of my colleague James Swallow is full of thrillers of various kind, including some video game adaptations. They should definitely check him out. And as noted above, I do suggest anyone with an interest in history to check out the novel Band Of Brothers by Stephen Ambrose. It’s a moving, powerful read.



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