A discredited British spy seeks to rehabilitate himself and exonerate his deceased father—wrongly besmirched former head of MI6—while trotting the globe to escape the old man's enemies and prevent the new American president from being assassinated.
Daniel Marchant, the flawed 29-year-old MI6 veteran introduced in Stock's terrific third novel, is the ultimate odd man out. Not only is he not treated as a hero after preventing an Indian bomber from blowing up the American ambassador at a London marathon Marchant is running with his fellow spy and romantic partner, Leila, he is accused by his father's opponents in British and American intelligence of being part of the plot. Stephen Marchant was forced out on suspicions of arranging for the release of Salim Dhar, believed to be behind recent al-Qaeda attacks in England. On the run from bad guys and "good," Daniel is renditioned by the CIA and waterboarded in a secret facility in Poland, where his expertise on this form of torture comes in handy. On the loose again, he makes it to his boyhood home in India, where more violence and discoveries about his father, his girlfriend and Salim Dhar await. The book is a masterfully orchestrated page-turner in which the past, present and future collide in unsettling fashion. Marchant is not the most charismatic spy, at least not yet, but Stock's backstabbing agency bigwigs and functionaries are sharply drawn. And though the novel can be overly cinematic with its jump cuts and changing locales (it's being developed into a Hollywood film), it never loses its credibility or compromises its intelligence. The sex is good, too.
A welcome addition to contemporary spy fiction that conveys with riveting details the complexity of global terrorism.