From Publishers Weekly
Higgins picks up where his last novel (Dark Justice
) featuring top-level British intelligence officer Gen. Charles Ferguson and his right-hand agent, former IRA enforcer Sean Dillon, left off, three weeks after a shootout killed Russian billionaire Josef Belov and his agents Yuri Ashimov and Maj. Greta Novikova. But hold on, not all of the above are really dead, and those left alive have sworn to destroy the general and his band of spies, who are also grieving for their colleague Supt. Hannah Bernstein, another casualty of the confrontation. President Vladimir Putin makes several appearances to give orders to various minions and Russian super-agent, Igor Levin. Their mission is to secure the now-deceased Belov's vast oil interests for the Russian government. With few double-crosses, deceptions or surprises of any sort, Higgins's plotting is not very inventive, and the final shootout, when it limps onstage, takes two short pages. The whole mise-en-scène feels dated, with little in the way of modern-day tradecraft or technology. Ferguson's admiration for his Russian enemies and bonhomie for Levin in particular seems plain silly: "Damn his eyes, I like the bastard. Who knows what the future holds?" Not much for Higgins's fans, if we're to judge from his latest example. (Aug.)
Correction:In the June 27 review of Paul Anderson's
Hunger's Brides, the agent information was misstated. The book was acquired from Random House Canada.
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Picking up where Higgins' Dark Justice
(2004) left off, Sean Dillon--former IRA enforcer now working for British intelligence--seeks revenge on the Russian agents responsible for murdering his colleague Hanna Bernstein. The Russians themselves, however, are not too happy with Dillon for killing their man, billionaire and former KGB official Josef Belov, who was been responsible for "terrorism of all kinds." With the death of dealmaker Belov, Russia's prospects for a steady flow of oil out of Iraq ("since the vote for democracy") are threatened; the Kremlin must now resort to Plan B: using impersonator Max Zubin to stand in for Belov to maintain some stability in the Russia-Iraq connection until a new, improved Plan A emerges. This is pretty standard Jack Higgins: wooden characters and far-flung if barely credible locales, but enough plot and action to keep his many fans by his side. Alan MooresCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved