The secret-agent wife a Doctors Without Borders physician thought had been killed at the beginning of Rules of Deception (2008) is still alive enough to make big trouble for him and the rest of the world.
Dr. Jonathan Ransom, who’s left Africa to address a conference in London, is conveniently on hand when Lord Robert Russell is murdered in his Mayfair penthouse by a wraithlike intruder, available to meet his wife Emma when she unexpectedly pops up in town, and right on the scene when she detonates a bomb directed at a motorcade passing through Storey’s Gate. Wounded Russian Interior Minister Igor Ivanov tells DCI Kate Ford and Colonel Charles Graves of MI5 that he was the intended target, but they’re more concerned with catching the bomber. Emma, a veteran agent of Division, the U.S. Department of Defense agency that “ran the blackest of black ops,” has of course vamoosed, leaving her husband to hold the bag, and in short order the Metropolitan Police oblige by arresting him. Fans of Reich’s greased-lightning thrillers, however, won’t expect Jonathan to be charged and jailed. Instead, they’ll wait, like him, for the moment when he can overpower his captors and make his escape to the continent, across which the authorities chase him as avidly as he’s chasing Emma, who’s evidently determined to blow up a nuclear reactor. Just to keep things interesting, Reich also throws in a couple of wild cards: Frank Connor, ambitious new acting director of Division, whose agenda may not be exactly the same as Emma’s, and Ivanov’s rival Sergei Shvets, the even more megalomaniacal head of Russia’s Federal Security Service. Will Europe end with a bang? Will brilliant, clueless Jonathan enjoy a tearful reunion with the wife who keeps bamboozling him? Will he at least be able to clear himself of criminal charges? And what about the sequel?
Like 007’s obsession with Blofeld, Jonathan’s hyperinflated connubial problems seem intended to turn international terrorism into good, clean human-scale fun.