If you can teach about political conflicts, you can manage them: That's the message directed at Amherst professor Judd Ryker when he's unexpectedly plucked by the State Department to lead a new “rapid reaction unit” in Mali.
A coup is underway in the West African nation, his old stomping grounds, where he started coming up with his potentially powerful Golden Hour theory. Based on the principle that trauma patients have a better chance of recovering if they receive proper treatment within an hour, Ryker's theory promises positive outcomes to political crises if they are subjected to proper diplomatic and back-door measures within 100 hours. He discovers during his return to Mali that getting those measures carried out is no easy task. U.S. officials on whom he counts get caught up in the usual interagency competitions, England and France have their own interests to advance, and every day brings a new abduction, double cross, piece of misinformation or X factor—such as a drug ring. A former diplomat for West Africa, Moss knows of what he writes and, for the most part, writes well. Ranging from Washington to London to the Sahara Desert, the book effortlessly ups the tension while piling on surprises. The jumps into the past lead to some early confusion, and Ryker is a bit too spit and polish. But for those who want to know what it’s like to get caught up in a modern coup, this is a good place to turn.
A strong debut about a good man in Africa who gets tested at every turn.