An elite mercenary unit searches for a radicalized Saudi prince in Islamic State group–controlled Iraq.
Making use of his experiences in the U.S. Army's 82nd Airborne division, work as a private contractor, and scholarship in the field of international relations, McFate returns with his second book about military contractor Tom Locke. Like the author, Locke is a former American soldier with a Ph.D. from the London School of Economics who works as private contractor, or mercenary, in some of the world’s most hostile environments. In hiding from a former employer (Shadow War, 2016), Locke and his small team, made up of former members of the Thai and British Special Forces units, must take whatever jobs they can find in the war-torn Kurdistan region of northern Iraq. Although this results in humanitarian missions that enrich Locke’s soul, it does little to fatten his wallet. So when a mysterious Saudi messenger offers the team a hefty sum to find a member of the Saudi royal family inside IS-controlled territory, they take the job. The mission becomes increasingly delicate when it appears that the missing prince is part of a larger plot revolving around a faction of the Saudi royal family that's attempting to buy a nuclear weapon from Pakistan. The story’s premise could have been plucked from the headlines, and it has an enjoyable, realistic feeling due to the careful details included by an author who knows the realities of foreign combat as it happens on the ground and behind the doors of diplomatic decision-makers. However, the most intriguing parts of the book are moments of contemplation from Locke: “A soldier’s ethics were never marked by the wars he fought in, only the way he fought them. But now I could pick and choose my missions. Mercenaries have to own their ethics, unlike soldiers.”
A political thriller that will appeal to action junkies and armchair diplomats alike.