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by Tom Young

Pub Date: July 11th, 2013
ISBN: 978-0-399-15847-6
Publisher: Putnam

Twenty years after the slaughter of 100,000 people in Bosnia, Serbian war criminal and arms dealer Viktor Dusic is intent on re-igniting the campaign against Muslims through acts of terrorism and coldblooded murder.

Air Force Lt. Col. Michael Parson, who flew missions in Bosnia and Kosovo, must spring back into action to prevent further atrocities. Parson has just settled into what he had hoped would be a low-key existence as safety officer at Manas Air Base in Kyrgyzstan. Then, a C-27 cargo plane from Afghanistan containing a huge shipment of opium crashes in front of him. To investigate this unlikely event, he reunites with Sophia Gold, a battle-scarred ex-Army friend now working for the United Nations as an expert Pashto interpreter. With the help of Dragan, a University of Chicago–educated Serbian internal affairs cop, and Irena, a young Air Force enlistee who was born in Sarajevo, he infiltrates Belgrade to douse the threat. Young, a decorated former flight engineer with the Air National Guard who served in Kosovo and Bosnia as well as Iraq and Afghanistan, has plenty of real-life experience to draw upon. He is an assured stylist with a gift for subtle characterizations and tightly controlled action scenes. The novel has moral depth as well, shadowing current events with dark moments from the past, notably the tragic 1993 killing of a young couple known as “the Bosnian Romeo and Juliet”—a Muslim and a Christian. Parsons, introduced in Young's stellar debut, The Mullah's Storm (2010), is not the most charismatic hero, but his steady intelligence makes him good company.

An expertly rendered tale of lingering hostilities rooted in the former Yugoslavia.