How hard could it be to assassinate an inconvenient Afghan head of state? If you haven’t seen any newspapers over the past few years, de Villiers, late (1929-2013) veteran of hundreds of spy thrillers, wants to tell you.
Hamid Karzai has become more trouble than he’s worth. So National Security Advisor John Mulligan and CIA Deputy Director Clayton Luger decide he’s got to go. Since the White House needs complete deniability, they farm the job out to Austrian Prince Malko Linge, a freelance operative who’s already done yeoman service (The Madmen of Benghazi, 2014, etc.), and instruct him to use South African mercenary Nelson Berry as the triggerman. It’s all very hush-hush, except that it isn’t, as Malko quickly learns on his arrival. Just as the CIA has moles like Luftullah Kibzai inside Afghanistan’s National Directorate of Security, Karzai has moles like former station director Mark Spider inside the CIA, and soon everyone in Kabul seems to know why Malko is there—except for Alicia Burton, the clueless American reporter who seduces Malko after his fiancee, Alexandra, and South African automotive expert Maureen Kieffer have already had their ways with him. Complications naturally arise, and soon Malko is himself on the run from his many enemies and from a few people he considered allies. The aptly titled tale, proficient but synthetic, is punctuated by bouts of sex as graphic as they are routine.
As for the thrills in this ripped-from-the-headlines thriller, if you want to know whether Malko succeeds in assassinating Karzai, or whether de Villiers kills off his long-running series hero, you’ll just have to read the whole story to find out.