In this debut thriller, a war between the United States and North Korea approaches, and only a teenager with peculiar powers can stop it.
Jessica DeLucca, a half-Italian, half-Navajo 19-year-old, grew up on the reservation where she lives. One day, during a fair there, a mysterious older woman seeks her out and gives her a necklace with a silver pendant. It turns out that this innocuous-looking piece of jewelry possesses extraordinary powers that only Jessica can access; for example, it can slice through any substance, even military-grade metal. Meanwhile, the United States government becomes embroiled in a parlous standoff with North Korea, which has somehow acquired a special long-range, anti-ship missile from China, with which it threatens to annihilate the aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford. Jessica’s father, Jacob, works in a highly classified capacity for the government, and he’s part of a team trying to figure out how to respond to the new danger. Jessica reveals the awesome power of her necklace to him, and he realizes that it could be precisely the advantage the United States needs. He signs Jessica up as a government intern, and the two work as a team to avoid the recommencement of the Korean War. Webb’s novel combines sci-fi, magical fantasy, and political intrigue, making it resistant to easy classification. The pace of the plot is breakneck, and the action unfolds cinematically; indeed, there’s hardly a page without some drama or surprise. However, even for a story that’s explicitly designed to be fantastical, it not only stretches the limits of readers’ credulity, but seemingly dismisses them, layering one implausibility upon another. However, to the author’s credit, it does so very entertainingly. For example, Jessica not only speaks several dialects in different languages—she also plays drums in a Christian rock band, rides a motorcycle with the proficiency and confidence of a professional, and is an expert in eskrima, a Filipino martial art in which she uses a pair of hardwood “fighting sticks” that allow her to neutralize considerably bigger opponents.
A gleeful and action-packed, if utterly unbelievable, ride.