An arms dealer on a routine assignment in Afghanistan walks into the middle of a heroin-dealing scheme--with the usual globally monstrous implications. The authors of the scheme come from the Joint Afghan Relief Organization (JARO), originally set up by the British and American governments to dissuade Afghan farmers from growing opium poppies by subsidizing more innocuous crops like wheat, then reduced to paying cash for their poppies and burning them on the spot. But now, Mike McConnell realizes--when he's dragged back to the village where he's just concluded a legal weapons buy for Anglo-American Arms (AAA) and ends up witnessing a massacre and an opium airlift--somebody in JARO has started to swipe the stuff they're supposed to be destroying. When his estranged wife and son are killed back in England while he's visiting them, McConnell vows revenge (``Although not usually a squeamish person, the barbarity revolted me''), but JARO, unperturbed, goes right on trying to kill him before he can put his head (and other organs) together with Russian DEA agent Maria Vosnesensky and his own higher-ups at AAA and discover the extent of JARO's nefarious plot: by smuggling cheap black-market heroin into Germany, JARO bigwigs plan to throw united Germany into chaos and prevent the rise of a Fourth Reich. JARO's clever scheme isn't matched by anything else provided this time by New Zealand veteran Peel (Atoll, 1992, etc.). The action is low-grade, the surprises few, and despite JARO's well-advertised ruthlessness, McConnell never seems to be in serious danger--except, like the reader, from an overdose of routine.