After a vital clandestine U.S. spy network is gutted by a defector, CIA Red Cell agent Kyra Stryker is forced to make a daring last-ditch attempt to avert disaster.
Real-life intelligence analyst Henshaw (Cold Shot, 2014, etc.) has set this tale of international intrigue in the immediate future. Russia’s still a bully. The Putin kleptocracy remains in power, considering the U.S. its main enemy. Gen. Arkady Lavrov, head of the military intelligence agency and chief of the Foundation for Advanced Research, especially enjoys stepping on Yankee toes, slipping stealth technology to China and nukes from Iran to Venezuela. The CIA put the screws to those adventures. Now, rumors suggest the clandestine-weapons-trading FAR will sell an electromagnetic pulse weapon to Syria. The situation worsens when CIA agent Alden Maines offers to turn mole for the Russians—this needs better motivation—but is double-crossed. Lavrov personally tortures Maines and gets the identities of every CIA asset in Russia. The clandestine-weapons quandary takes a back seat as Red Cell leader Jonathan Burke and Stryker make a Maines damage-control run to Berlin. People die. Next attempting to rescue Russians working for the CIA, Stryker goes lone-wolf to Moscow. The amoral yet philosophical Lavrov makes a worthy villain, compelled to confront his counterpart, Anatoly Grigoriyev, the FSB (the old KGB) chief who railed against the "madness of selling our technologies to third-world runts" and who now resents Lavrov’s dangerous ambitions. The settings seem spot-on, whether a luxurious Moscow CIA safe house, an abandoned Soviet military base in eastern Germany, or the Oval Office, especially as Henshaw’s cast of Washington old hands deals with a skeptical young President Daniel Rostow.
Henshaw’s narrative is a high-tension page-turner, and his tough-minded, independent, and deadly Kyra Stryker is ready to run with the likes of Reacher or Bourne.