A political thriller that imagines a world brought to the brink of nuclear war by an Iranian plot to attack Israel and the United States.
Col. Arshad Sassani is a high-ranking Iranian intelligence officer who’s also a valuable informant for Israel. He’s been funneling the Mossad details about Iran’s nuclear capabilities and ambitions. After he reveals a plot to launch missiles against major cities in Israel (Tel Aviv) and the United States (Washington, D.C., and New York City), the Israeli government dispatches Maj. Yaacov “Jake” Rafaeli, a top Mossad agent, to extract Sassani. Israeli authorities believe the planned attack will be nearly impossible to prevent by conventional military means, so they hatch a plan to use a deadly biological weapon to pre-emptively wipe out Iran’s entire population. However, the plan would also affect the majority of the surrounding region—14 nations in total. Israeli scientists develop an antidote to protect their own people, and their government tries to blackmail the United States into assisting in the operation by threatening to release the virus on American soil. Then Shannon Parks, the deputy director of the CIA, brokers a deal with Mossad head Shlomo Mizrahi to take out Iran’s nuclear missiles instead. Meanwhile, Iran races to find and silence Sassani and arrest and torture his family members to assess the damage he’s done. Debut author Levy sets the story in 2028, a world that’s seen a brutal reprisal of the 9/11 attacks on America, ceaseless turmoil in the Middle East, and a bellicose Russia, still led by a ruthless Vladimir Putin. The prose is clear and crisp, and the action is relentless, fueled by a combination of brooding cynicism and the imminent prospect of catastrophe. Overall, this is a bombastic and cinematic thriller, so it’s unsurprising that it abandons any sense of political plausibility from the start. Also, the dialogue can be breathlessly melodramatic at times, as when an Israeli scientist describes the biological weapon: “Gentlemen, Plague Ten is truly the incarnate Angel of Death.”
A fleet and dramatic, if far-fetched, tale of global conflict.