A rookie spy gets in over his head when he's forced to choose between his assignment and the dynamic woman he's fallen for.
It's 1913, and for the past few years, Scottish car dealer Jack McColl has folded small missions for the nascent British Intelligence Service into his overseas business trips. The income rarely covers more than travel expenses, but the work definitely makes his travels more interesting. Two new elements change the equation on his latest excursion from Tsingtau, China, to Shanghai to San Francisco and, ultimately, New York. Political tensions have been accelerated by the looming European war, making China far less safe, and McColl finds surprising romance with Caitlin Hanley, a vibrant young American journalist. They meet in Peking, and though McColl continues with his espionage commitments, he can't get her off his mind. When they meet again, they rekindle their affair, fueled by an ardor the time apart has triggered. But Cumming, the British naval officer who employs McColl, and Rainer von Schön, a German engineer with whom he trades information, are less than thrilled that he has Caitlin in tow. Her intrusive questions turn von Schön icy. In San Francisco, McColl is briefed by Jatish, an undercover agent who's later murdered. Could McColl himself have been the intended victim?
This first installment of a proposed series by the author of the six John Russell novels (Masaryk Station, 2013, etc.) moves deliberately but colorfully, with intelligent prose and a strong period feel.