In Cave’s debut novel, a shady Iranian businessman seeks to use the 1970s Iran Hostage Crisis for his own financial benefit.
While no one would accuse London-based businessman Qays Tutunchi of being overly scrupulous, no one could deny his skill at turning a profit, for himself as well as for his partners. And while Tutunchi is far from pious, he’s adept at negotiating the turbulent political waters of Ayatollah Khomeini’s post-revolutionary Iran. So when Fred Walter, an associate with ties to the Republican Party in America, casually mentions that the Republicans are keenly interested in resolving the ongoing hostage crisis before it becomes an issue in the upcoming presidential election of 1980, Tutunchi starts thinking of ways to profit from the situation. Unfortunately for Tutunchi, his mistress, Emily, is talking to MI5, who suspects Tutunchi of being involved in international drug dealing. Meanwhile, in America, Fred Walter and Bill Casey, Reagan’s campaign manager, hire former CIA Middle East expert Sean O’Hara to keep an eye on things from their end. And with war brewing between Iran and Iraq and the election approaching, the situation may get much more complicated for everyone involved. The author, himself a former CIA operations officer with extensive experience in Iran, brings an extraordinarily detailed knowledge of the situation in Iran, as well as of Iranian politics and culture. His crisp prose grabs attention, in part through the deft use of several viewpoints. There are some pacing issues; in large passages, the action revolves around the primary characters talking over martinis. And many will guess how the crisis ends. Still, good writing, great characters, and the author’s unique insight into Iranian politics, culture and the hostage crisis itself more than make up for any slow spots.
Fascinating, detailed and absorbing.