A clandestine spy team refuses to buckle under to the CIA, causing its members to find themselves under siege from all sides.
When an overeager sheriff’s deputy interrupts the surveillance of a suspicious BMW by James Hicks, dean of the University, a top-secret group of international operatives, Hicks is forced to eliminate the two “probably Russian” occupants of the BMW in rescuing the dazed deputy. Unfortunately, his action leads to a meeting with Charles Demerest, head of Clandestine Services at the CIA. A collegial meeting quickly escalates into a showdown; Hicks is on the trail of a deadly terrorist group known as the Vanguard, and Demerest demands that he share all his evidence. Hicks’ resistance pushes Demerest to a bold decision: to take Hicks down. Holed up in his 23rd Street facility in Manhattan, Hicks realizes he must now be on the Vanguard’s radar as well. After checking in with the University’s chief interrogator, Roger Cobb, in Berlin, Hicks reaches out for intel to Mossad contact Ronen Tayeb in Moscow. After an initial conversation with Tayeb, Hicks’ calls suspiciously go straight to voicemail. Shortly after, the Manhattan office is blown up. Only a warning by Jason, the sidekick and second-in-command who remotely monitors terrorist movements around the globe, enables Hicks to escape with seconds to spare. Amazingly, a very similar attack occurs in Moscow the same day. After ensuring that his operatives worldwide are unhurt, Hicks and the University must determine exactly whom they’re fighting: the CIA? The Vanguard? Demerest? Someone else?
McCauley’s third account of the University (A Murder of Crows, 2016, etc.) boasts tech savvy, international settings, nail-biting action, and an arsenal of twists.