In Shaftoe’s (Forged in the Jungles of Burma, 2010, etc.) thriller sequel, a newly married couple finds out that marriage can be difficult when people are trying to kill you.
MI-5 agent John Brock has recently returned from the jungles of Burma with his new wife, Caroline, who now works as his administrative assistant. She’s eager to start field training, but after going through hell in Southeast Asia, all John wants to do is to carry out his duties as the head of the counterterrorism unit and keep Caroline safe. But it appears that someone has other plans, and sent an assassin after John. He thinks it’s in his wife’s best interest not to tell her, but Caroline’s desire to be an agent proves to be more forceful than he expected. Soon the couple is working together, and the action moves from London to Oslo to South Korea as they race to find out who wants John dead and why, and what lengths they will go to for revenge. This novel is as much an exploration of what makes a marriage work as it is a spy thriller, interweaving scenes of the Brocks’ relationship with adrenaline-fueled action set pieces. Shaftoe crafts a sequel that stands on its own; the previous book’s plot is easy to pick up, and the new story quickly reels readers in with a mixture of James Bond-style action, political intrigue and sympathetic characters. Although the book is a bit slow to start, it’s difficult to put down once it picks up speed, as this isn’t a generic spy story, but a thoughtful novel populated with real people. The book contains some Christian themes, but these interludes are never preachy or offensive. Shaftoe’s gift for suspense and willingness to put her characters in real danger ups the stakes, resulting in a vividly realized adventure that one can easily imagine seeing on the big screen.
A highly enjoyable thriller with lots of intelligence and heart.