A major earthquake near a secret Iranian nuclear facility triggers nonstop danger for CIA strategic weapons analyst Zachary Miller.
Zac is a passenger on a British Airways plane bound for Singapore that makes an emergency landing in Iran, and authorities single him out and detain him because he takes snapshots with his cellphone—nice sunset, he insists, but the authorities don’t buy that excuse. Col. Arzaman of the Revolutionary Guards demands that Zac explain why he's really in Iran, warning that “pain and suffering can set you free.” The beating Zac gets is just the beginning of the abuse he takes throughout the book. Zac is guilty, though, because the unscheduled landing is a ruse to get him close enough to photograph certain vital buildings in the chaos following the earthquake. Earlier, after his boss told him they'd have to scrub the mission because their agent's cover wasn't strong enough, he’d volunteered to do the assignment himself, and his boss tried to tell him no, since he had “no tradecraft, no language skills, and no legend. You’d be a sitting duck out there.” But Zac’s send me in, Coach plea prevails, and in captivity, he wakes up from unconsciousness after a beating thinking “What an idiot.” Then he decides that “if he wanted his freedom, he was going to have to take it.” Thus begins a Ulysses-like odyssey across a rocky desert, where he meets goatherds who might turn him in, across the Strait of Hormuz, where the wakes from leviathan supertankers threaten to swamp his stolen boat. Then there’s more jail, more ocean, more gunfire, and more danger right up to the coast of France, where all he has to do is steal another boat, then cross the stormy Channel to England and safety. A couple of women play brief but significant roles, but Zac is much too busy for a love life. If only he'd run into a whirlpool and a monster, readers might mistake this adventure for a tale by Homer.
A little implausible but good fun. Let’s hope for more Zac Miller adventures.