Saddam Hussein owed a lot of money to six international assassins but didn’t manage to get round to paying them. Each assassin had been hired to kill one of Gaddafi’s special financiers, all chosen to hide the whereabouts of his supposedly amassed fortune. The assassins considered they had been cheated out of their payment and therefore decided to acquire something of immense value which had belonged to him. They were going to steal from the Baghdad museum a tablet marked with symbols which was apparently worth millions of dollars. Unfortunately the raid does not go as planned and the tablet is accidentally broken into pieces after stealing it. Once they have escaped the assassins share out the parts of the tablet so they can get together later and gain the fortune. Years later though, one of the assassins is blown up by a car bomb.
- Gayle Lynds
This is the beginning of a story which really starts with Judd Ryder returning from Iraq to his home in Washington D.C. having recently retired from Military Intelligence. He is a bit more than surprised when he sees his double, wearing his clothes, leaving his house but unable to take it much further because the double is killed in a traffic incident in front of him.
Ryder finds that his double had called the number of Eva Blake. Eva is well known to Ryder and is now training to be a CIA agent at the CIS’s Camp Peary so he phones her to find out if she knows anything of this. When he is contacted by Tucker Anderson an ex CIA agent, now the second in command of a special unit, he finds that he, too, has no knowledge of any double but needs to talk to Ryder concerning an impending problem back in Iraq. Ryder learns another of the assassins, The Padre, is trying to use him and Eva in order to determine the whereabouts of another assassin known as Carnivore.
Eva also has a double who is captured by one of the assassins while Eva is following the instructions of an agent calling himself Frank Smith and, eventually, the team of Blake, Anderson and Ryder find themselves involved in the chase for all the pieces of the tablet as the assassins try to kill each other in order for only one of them to possess the fortune and it seems all are trying to capture/kidnap or torture to find the whereabouts of the assassin known as Carnivore.
The action moves from the Maryland ranch of one of Ryders’ enemies in the USA to Marrakesh where the plot gets thicker as retired members of the KGB and Russian sleepers are also found to be involved in the search for bits of the tablet, and yet another assassin is killed. Those involved eventually all find themselves in Baghdad where no one can be trusted in this dangerous world where the last man standing is supposed to take all.
Not difficult to read once the characters have been established, the book moves along at quite a pace even though some of what happens seems a bit improbable. Nonetheless it is worth reading though not necessarily one for the bookshelf.