A group of female spies enacts justice for exploited women around the world.
Jessie Archer, a white British woman, works for Athena, a female-led London-based secret division of global corporation Chen Technologies, helping to covertly take down crime lords who traffic and kidnap women and children. When a high-tension mission goes awry, Jessie is taunted by a warlord, who says his capture will be a temporary stay. She kills him, endangering Athena’s secrecy, and is subsequently kicked off the team right as they are departing for Belgrade for an operation. As part of the intelligence-gathering effort for the operation, Jessie is frustrated by her termination, and, stuck at home and bored, she breaks into Athena’s servers, discovering leads to Paulina Pavlic, the alluring daughter of the trafficker Athena is targeting. Jessie’s feelings for Paulina are further complicated by the discovery of even more nefarious goings-on as well as information that endangers both her and the Athena team. Meanwhile, Athena agents are given a directive to bring Jessie in. This riveting, female-centered romp includes diverse characters—African American, Palestinian, South Asian British—who have layered and complex backstories. Li Chen, founder of Chen Technologies, survived the Cultural Revolution. Jessie examines her privilege with occasional flippant snark and questions global power dynamics and the treatment of women around the world. Jessie is a lesbian, and some other characters are queer.
Thrillingly representative female empowerment. (Thriller. 14-18)