The flames of political controversy reach inferno level in this sharply written, if overzealous, military thriller.
Jake Burke, a handsome, powerful CEO in the Jack Ryan mold, loses his wife and daughter in a horrific suicide bombing at the FAO Schwartz in New York City. Despite being nearly crippled by panic attacks, Jake turns his considerable resources to finding the single surviving conspirator, Ashraf Ismail Ibrahim El Biali, the brother of Anwar Sadat’s assassin. With the help of his practical assistant, Miranda, and a host of bankers, detectives and others, Jake tracks the frightened bomber to his home in Cairo, killing him with a hammer to the head (in a case of self-defense, it turns out). Soon, Jake and Miranda are kidnapped by a secretive supergroup of tactical intelligence agents whose leaders hail from the CIA, Mossad and the French Direction GÃ©nÃ©rale de la SÃ©curitÃ© ExtÃ©rieure. They quickly convince Jake to join in their outlandish scheme to â€œfight fire with fire” by attacking Iran’s oil infrastructure with massive conventional weapons, in addition to threatening the use of suitcase-sized nuclear weapons. The band of â€œanti-terrorists” roam across the globe from Iran to London to Amsterdam in a cat-and-mouse game with terrorist Abdel Aziz Rifaat–a game that has deadly consequences for both sides of the ideological conflict. Heroic Jake emerges as a likeable everyman, albeit one with a conveniently exhaustive knowledge of Middle Eastern politics. The novel, reminiscent of Robert Littell’s 1981 espionage thriller The Amateur, maintains a particularly single-minded point of view, but Kahane’s exhaustive, ripped-from-the-headlines research makes it work.
A terrifying scenario–not quite beyond belief–with world-shattering implications.