Mark Zuckerberg meets James Bond in this origin story that’s part international terrorism thriller, part wish fulfillment fantasy.
In her first novel, Bourne attempts to reshape the past. Her main character is based on cherished former colleague Danny Lewin, an elite commando in the Israeli Defense Force’s Sayeret Matkal and founder of Akamai Technologies. Lewin was on Flight 11 out of Boston on Sept. 11, 2001. In a powerful and poignant author’s note, Bourne writes that a government report found that Lewin “fought to defend the stewardesses and cockpit from the hijackers,” who cut his throat. His heroics inspired this propulsive race-against-time narrative. Edwin Hoff, code named Raptor, is introduced in a suspenseful prologue in which he destroys a ricin manufacturer and his alter ego is revealed: an Internet entrepreneur and motivational guru about to take his company public. “It’s the chocolate factory, and you have one of the golden tickets,” he tells one employee in need of his mentorship. Edwin is charged with foiling a 9/11 plot to unleash a weaponized pneumonic plague aboard one of the hijacked aircrafts. That’s only the beginning of the globe-trotting adventure that transports readers from the Caribbean to Cambridge, Massachusetts, to Cairo and other international locales. Bourne deftly juggles the action with informed yet accessible writing about the dot-com boom and subsequent bust while advancing the story through the perspectives of a gallery of vividly drawn supporting characters. While the book doesn’t exactly set one’s hair on fire—a term Bourne uses to describe Edwin’s inspirational genius—it handily delivers the genre goods. Fortunately, a sequel’s on the way.
A charismatic new action hero worth following on further missions.