In Adams’ debut thriller, a former Navy SEAL collaborates with deep cover operatives in North Korea to infiltrate a military base.
Tom Hull, a special agent for the CIA, finds himself on a mission like no other when his Special Activities Division receives a cryptic last message from a compromised spy in North Korea. Soon, more undercover “illegals” find themselves exposed before they can share their information. Tom quickly makes his way to South Korea, where he prepares to infiltrate the secret base that his unit suspects may house the country’s nuclear weapons operation; at the same time, he sparks a romance with a fellow agent. North Korean officials and their self-interested Chinese allies catch wind of the operation and prepare to defend their most clandestine activities at any cost. Despite Tom’s expert training and cutting-edge technologies—including particle beams—nothing can prepare him for what awaits him on the North Korean shore. Adams’ plot is well-developed and compelling, but it’s sometimes awkwardly punctuated by its characters’ musings on philosophy and the paradoxes of politics, in which they reference British television, Sun Tzu, Dale Carnegie’s How To Win Friends and Influence People and Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. On the whole, however, these are mostly nice touches. The thriller’s real backbone is its daring, imaginative interpretation of the psychology of North Korea, drawing on apparently thorough research about the totalitarian state and society; thankfully, the author avoids xenophobia and overgeneralization. The details of North Korea’s military, ideology and societal stratification are intriguing embellishments and give readers a way to dive into modern, real-life geopolitical threats.
A unique thriller that balances fast-paced action and the complex geopolitics of one of the world’s most mysterious nations.