RULES OF BETRAYAL by Christopher Reich


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A nuclear warhead is loose, and only Dr. Jonathan Ransom can retrieve it—if he can get past that rogue wife of his.

Back in 1984, a fiery mishap aboard an American aircraft stranded a powerful nuclear device atop an isolated peak in Pakistan. Now there are telltale signs that the deadly warhead has been recovered by Punjabi-English arms merchant Ashok Balfour Armitraj, who, true to his business instincts, intends to sell it for the highest price he can get. Frank Connor, the head of that supersecret espionage division called Division, has only one chance to infiltrate Balfour’s Swiss compound before he can turn over the weapon. Send in Jonathan Ransom, who’s already been reluctantly entangled with Division more than once (Rules of Vengeance, 2009, etc.), to impersonate Dr. Michel Revy, the cosmetic surgeon slated to give Balfour a new look so that he can vanish with his ill-gotten millions from his pursuers’ radar. Apart from being a crack surgeon, Ransom doesn’t have any notable credentials for the assignment, and before he can be sent into the Alps, he’ll have to be put through a series of training sessions in close-quarters combat, spycraft and counter-espionage at the hands of Israeli mentor Danni Pine. The biggest fly in the ointment, however, is the highly predictable involvement of Ransom’s wife Emma, who’s been forced to help Balfour pluck the warhead from its perch and is still keeping company with the arms dealer. Will the Taliban drug lords waiting to purchase the bomb succeed in annihilating a high-value American target? Can Connor identify the mole inside Division who’s compromised one of his best agents before Connor is neutralized himself? And what sort of connubial reunion awaits the on-again/off-again Ransoms high in the Alps?

Good questions, all of them, but you’d never know from this mashup which of them is most important. Maybe the Ransoms—think Nick and Nora without the laughs—deserve a break the next time life as we know it is under the gun.

Pub Date: July 13th, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-385-53154-2
Page count: 368pp
Publisher: Doubleday
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1st, 2010


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