In Aragon’s debut thriller, a French official’s attempt to arrest the president of the United States for war crimes sparks a firefight in Paris.
President Leyland Childs is planning a trip to the French capital, and he wants Secret Service Special Agent Isabella “Izzy” Stone, who’s already saved his life once, to be there by his side. Childs intends to work with French President Amaury Jardin to ease tensions between their countries, which stem from a covert U.S. missile strike in Islamabad that was aimed at a wanted terrorist. Tragically, a group of French middle-school children on a trip to the city were killed in the explosion. An angry mob in Paris then attacked the U.S. embassy, which, in turn, led to fiery anti-France protests in America. After POTUS gets to Paris, local magistrate André Malevu, who abhors American influence on French traditions, issues an arrest warrant for Childs. This results in a violent confrontation between Secret Service agents and members of the French special forces. In order to get the president to safety, Izzy and her team must head into the subterranean maze of Paris’s catacombs. This exhilarating underground pursuit is only part of the story, however, and Aragon keeps up an impressive pace throughout the novel. Its short sentences and chapters are packed with intriguing details, such as French rioters’ treatment of American tourists: “On the Seine an American couple was thrown overboard from a tourist boat plying the river.” Izzy is shown to be astute and resourceful, and not even a potential suitor, Liam Cabot of the British Embassy, can sway her ever-present caution; she even calls in a background check during their first meeting. Her bond with Childs, however, is the story’s strongest relationship. An early scene, in which she protects him from an assassination attempt, ably establishes their trust and shows why she’s the one in charge of the presidential detail.
A fast-paced international adventure featuring engaging characters.