Benni Baum, headstrong chief of the Israel Defense Force's Special Operations arm, continues to do battle against Israel's many enemies--in a lengthy but engrossing followup to Hartov's The Heat of Ramadan (1992). Although deeply involved in a hush-hush prisoner swap with Hizbollah (a band of Tehran-sponsored terrorists), Benni is sent on a flying visit to New York City to help investigate the bombing of a consular office. While in Manhattan, the overweight and 50-ish intelligence officer successfully reaches out to his estranged daughter Ruth (a grad student in psychology). Meantime, the crafty head of Iran's secret police has engaged Martina Ursula Klump (whose band of hired Palestinian guns does odd strong-arm jobs for Islamic fundamentalists throughout the world) to sabotage the covert exchange of POWs as cover for the theocracy's efforts to secure nuclear hardware from one of the erstwhile Soviet Union's breakaway republics. Benni and the lissome but lethal Martina have a past, and he's soon on her trail. Still, she manages to purloin a deadly new torpedo from the US Navy and to kidnap Ruth, spiriting both to a hideout in the desert wilds of Algeria. The distraught Benni quickly recruits a motley crew of Jewish irregulars (from as far away as South America) to mount a rescue mission to an ad hoc base in Casablanca. The German-born agent and his men then parachute into an assembly area near Martina's camp, rout her mercenaries, and liberate Ruth. But the ever-resourceful Martina escapes the ambuscade in a helicopter, and Benni must pursue her to the Moroccan coast for a final confrontation if he's to prevent a launching that could scuttle the long-planned trade of a Muslim cleric for an Israeli commando. A fine beat-the-devil tale notable for three-dimensional characters with failings as well as strengths, plus suspenseful action and twisty plotting.