Higgins (The Wolf at the Door, 2010, etc.) pits the Taliban and al-Qaeda against the British prime minister's "private hit squad," led by the redoubtable Gen. Charles Ferguson.
The action involves Ireland and England, with high-flying escapades into Pakistan and Algeria, but it all begins in Afghanistan with an intercepted radio transmission, one occurring during a firefight between the Taliban and NATO troops. Gen. Ferguson knows something wicked is afoot when one of the guerrilla commanders is heard speaking with an Irish accent and using the code name "Shamrock." Are British Muslims supporting the Taliban and al-Qaeda? Enter Sean Dillon, once an enforcer for the Provisional Irish Republican Army and now Gen. Ferguson's top anti-terrorist agent. With Dillon at the sharp end of the spear is Daniel Holley, also former IRA, but now a somewhat legitimate arms dealer with Algerian citizenship. They are aided by wounded Maj. Giles Roper, who mans the computers for the squad and plays a vital part in the search. There are assorted other good guys, including night club owners and part-time counter-agents Harry and Billy Salter, more than enough bad guys and traitors working both sides of the terror game. Also deeply enmeshed is Justin Talbot, a decorated British veteran of Afghanistan who now is de facto head of his family's influential multimillion-dollar corporation and who also dabbles in illicit arms trading. The most diabolical Judas is the Preacher, a respected British professor who has embraced Osama bin Laden and Islamic fundamentalism. Higgins' adventure is action-driven, with minimal character development, no romance and plenty of male bonding. Fans of the genre will appreciate the noisy occasions involving Semtex, AK-47s, silenced Colt .25s and villains coming to proper grief and swift justice.
Sure to be a hit with Higgins' fans, and a fast first read for newcomers to the work of this action-adventure writer.