The outbreak of a mysterious disease in the Third World is the first assault in a deviously stealthy international plot.
In Uganda, private-intelligence contractor and former CIA operative Charles Mallory receives a package with an apologetic note from his colleague Paul Bahdru. Unfortunately, inside the package is Bahdru's head. Meanwhile, across the globe in the (fictional) Republic of Sundiata, Dr. Sandra Oku tries to cope with a quickly spreading and deadly outbreak in the village of Kaarta. Back in Washington, Jon Mallory, who writes for The Weekly American, worries when his brother Charlie misses a scheduled call-in. The two have not seen each other for quite a while, though Charlie's tips from Africa have provided many valuable leads for stories. The latest one, about a potential pandemic, seemed to have Charlie particularly incensed. As Jon consults some of his brother's former CIA cronies for answers, Charlie goes to France, where he hopes to disappear. Shards of flashback hint at questionable doings in Charlie's past, particularly with a voluptuous woman named Anna Vostrak. In France, Charlie barely escapes being killed by an Arab named Ahmed Hassan, who goes by the name of Albert Hahn and who thinks that Charlie is called Frederick Collins. Secret identities and secret codes are at the heart of the plot that is revealed by Sandra's search for medical answers and Jon and Charlie's globetrotting efforts to uncover a cabal with an intricate plan for world domination.
Though Lilliefors' debut thriller follows a familiar template, it maintains suspense with vivid, direct prose and a skillfully developed plot.