Fifth in Land’s series featuring Palestinian-American Police Inspector Ben Kamal and Israeli Chief Inspector Danielle Barnea (Keepers of the Gate, 2001), star-crossed lovers who meet and part, meet and part.
Cyclical violence now blooms where Land once went light on cultural antagonisms affecting his leads (one of the lovers’ split-ups came because Danielle, a Jew who has lost her entire family, as has Ben, can’t bear to see a child of hers and Ben’s crushed by religious conflict). On the other hand, Land enjoys coming up with far-out newfangled scientific works: Danielle has carried a fatally flawed fetus, sired by Ben, that could possibly be saved by a new genetic marvel masterminded by a victim in one of their cases. Now, the baby has not survived, Danielle is on administrative leave, and Ben—in Arab disguise—arrests a Russian arms smuggler on the West Bank while being stoned and shot at as a traitor by Palestinians who stone or shoot their own uniformed police as quickly as they do the Israelis’ (and, meanwhile, Ben’s fellow detectives fight the Israelis rather than patrol the streets or hunt criminals). Then, during an op against diamond smugglers, Danielle lands in a Jerusalem jail, charged with killing her superior. “I thought being together was still possible for us,” moans Ben. In the meantime, off in diamond-rich Sierra Leone, Latisse Matabu, a female bin Laden who calls herself The Dragon, unleashes the end of the world on villagers to show her power. Soon Ben and Danielle are off and fighting the Dragon, who now wants to destroy America and kill half the world with her own biological version of the Black Death. Bodies drop in piles, and there’s a flaming shipboard climax ahead.
Sweeps along at mach-Ludlum speed but still digs deeply into Arab/Israeli horrors—resolvable perhaps only by the “miscegenation” that Ben and Danielle stand for.