Professional bodyguard Atticus Kodiak (Private Wars, 2005, etc.) finds that one of the bodies in need of guarding is his own.
In the beginning, there was the betrayal, a particularly devastating one, resulting in the murder of Atticus’ cherished friend. The ambush, during which Natalie Trent died and from which Atticus narrowly escaped, was big-time, well-planned and meant to be decisive. In its aftermath, dead bodies littered the Hudson Valley landscape, and yet the media appeared not to notice. Atticus asks himself why and almost instantly concludes that only the government has sufficient clout to blanket in silence so lavish a blood-letting. Other related conclusions, all of a highly unsettling nature, follow quickly. Someone in the government, possibly in the White House, someone powerful, implacable and unknown, wants Atticus dead. And not only Atticus, but Alena Cizkova as well, the woman he loves. No choice then but to turn hunter: (1) because vengeance is required and (2) because survival is at stake—Atticus and Alena, a world-class killer in her own right, are grimly aware that the mysterious, murderous X won’t rest while they’re still alive. In order to isolate X, however, they have to find the man who sold them out, the man whose cowardly act gave their enemy his initial impetus. They know who the Judas is, but not where he is, and it will take them three hard years of searching before they can run him to the ground. It’s when they finally do that they get their first real inkling of why their enemy has become their enemy and just how vast the conspiracy is that swirls around them.
Rucka is always readable, but some pace-slowing talkiness and certain plot twists that fail to convince keep this from being as good as he gets.