My Rating: 5 stars Read: 3/16/2017
- Cloak & Dagger Challenge
FBI Special Agents Nicholas Drummond and Michaela Caine have a new mandate as the government’s Covert Eyes, assembling a handpicked team of top-notch agents to tackle crimes and criminals both international and deadly. But their first case threatens to tear the fledgling team apart when the enigmatic thief known as the Fox reappears with a plea for help.
Master thief Kitsune has stolen the staff of Moses from the Topkapi Museum in Istanbul, and now that she’s delivered, her clients are trying to kill her. On the run, she asks Nicholas and Mike to help her discover the true identity of her clients and stop the threat against her life. Under strict orders to arrest the Fox and bring her back to New York, the Covert Eyes team heads to Venice, Italy, to meet with Kitsune, and finds nothing is as it seems. Kitsune’s secret clients are the Koaths, a family descended from Moses himself, who will do anything, anything, to find Ark of the Covenant and wield its power, as their long and bloody history can attest. To execute their plan, they’ve spent years perfecting a machine that can control the weather, manipulating worldwide disasters that spin the entire globe into chaos.
From New York to Venice, from Rome to the Bermuda Triangle, Nicholas and Mike and their team are in a race against time, and nature herself, to stop the Koaths and recover the famous Ark of the Covenant. But can they trust Kitsune, their sworn enemy, to help them save the world from a family of madmen?
This was a terrific page-turner that had me glued from the beginning. It’s a techno thriller ala Michael Crichton with religious elements ala Dan Brown. There’s also an FBI teamwork element that was a lot of fun, and a great many action scenes. This book should appeal to both male and female readers.
I haven’t read the first 3 books in this series, and while I recognized that the main characters in the FBI team probably had a history together and background in previous books that would have been nice to know, I was able to follow along fine reading this as a stand-alone.
In the story, Nicholas, who runs a new “extreme” task team with the FBI called Covert Eyes, is contacted by Kitsune, a world-class thief he has apparently had run-ins with before. She stole the staff of Moses from a museum for a client, but the client then tried to kill her. When that failed, the client kidnapped her husband. Kitsune needs Nicholas’s help to rescue her husband and get the client off her back.
The client who wanted the staff are the main villains of the book–Cassandra and Ajax Koath. They are twins, a brother and sister, who are beautiful and fantastically wealthy. The Koath family has searched for the Arc of the Covenant for generations, believing they are descended from the priests charged with guarding it. Their family is also involved with secret technology to control the weather.
It was the weather-control aspect of the blurb that drew me to read this book, because I like techno thrillers, and that aspect of the story is indeed very well done. There’s some hand-waving about the technology, of course, but it involves Leonardo Da Vinci and Tesla and was generally described well enough for me to buy it. There are some big weather events in the book that make it exciting.
The main plot, though, revolves around the evil Cassandra and Ajax. Kitsune, Nicholas, and the FBI team go after them to rescue Kitsune’s husband (and also figure out the weather weapon), and the twins repeatedly attempt to kill their pursuers. There are quite a few action sequences and gun battles, which I can get bored with, but I found them fairly exciting and fresh. They never felt like they were there to be page fillers, or that the story was JUST action sequences. There’s plenty of plot besides.
The characters are very engaging, especially Kitsune (who I assume will appear again in the series), a female thief who is smart and tough. I liked that the FBI team consisted of both men and women, and all of them were extremely competent and unique. Nicholas, the leader of the team, is an adrenaline jockey who appears to be having great fun when they’re in danger (unless someone gets hurt), and that helped make the action sequences more fun than stressful. The team hacker, Adam, and his use of technology felt cutting edge and truly smart, not just like a hacker stereotype.
I also really appreciated the plot. While the pursuit/attack plot points in Venice, Castel Rigone, and then the island were somewhat formulaic, I really liked the originality of the Koath family history, the terrible things Cassandra and Ajax had done, the backstory with their mother, what happened with their grandfather, and the interesting twists at the very, very end. Just cool.
I love vintage Michael Crichton and miss his books terribly. This book filled that void for me. It felt like one of Crichton’s best, and quite heads above some of his lesser works or other thrillers I’ve read recently. I found it more excited and well-written than Dan Brown’s books. This is a brand new release, but I think it will stand the test of time as a classic thriller.
Wonderful job. I will check out the previous books in the series and look forward to more.