First and foremost, a large thank you to NetGalley, Kyle Mills, and Grand Central Publishing for providing me with a copy of this book, which allows me to provide you with this review.
In March 2011, everything ran effectively at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant until an earthquake and subsequent tsunami severely damaged the facility. Years later, Dr. Jon Smith is in the region to meet with a former plant employee who possesses a sample he wishes to share from one of the Fukushima reactors. During the meeting, both are attacked and Smith is left severely injured and coalescing in a covert facility within Japan. Hearing of Smith’s plan and noting that he has not returned on time, CIA Agent Randi Russell takes it upon herself to rescue the head of the ultra-secret Covert-One team. While she is able to extricate Smith from his captors, she also learns that the sample may be the key in Japan’s new nuclear arsenal, with China as the country’s first target. Back in the United States, President Sam Adams Castilla cannot help but notice that military aggression between China and Japan seems to be heating up and quickly calls a summit that he will mediate. He brings the leaders together in hopes of quelling tensions that have been strong since well before WWII, when the latest set of atrocities are mentioned in history texts. As Smith and Russell are able to acquire some of the aforementioned sample, they present it to an engineer who is baffled to learn of its content. With Masao Takahashi as the military Chief of Staff, Japan is creating the next-generation of weapons, seemingly harmless but whose use could cripple any opponent. This form of nanotechnology could wipe out anything military in a short span of time, no matter its size. Will Smith and his team be able to stop Japan’s burgeoning nanotechnology warfare while Castilla attempts to keep the Asian powder-keg from exploding? Mills effectively continues the legacy that Ludlum started in this high-impact series as he seeks to answer these questions for the enthralled reader.
It is highly impressive to see how Mills has successfully picked up the torch on Ludlum’s Covert-One series. I have witnessed other authors ruin a series’ momentum or character development when taking over for an author who has passed away, taking control as though they now own the collection. Mills has tapped into the Dr. Jon Smith character and the nuances of the Covert-One team, as well as the intricacies of biological and nanotechnologies found within the entire series. Additionally, Mills is able to present strong political and social themes throughout to further explore the importance of the novel’s plot, allowing the reader to see things on a macro scale. While some readers might be interested only in the thrills and action within the pages of this novel, extrapolating to both the series level and current political situations, it is highly interesting to realise how plausible these things might be, given the geopolitical situations at hand. While he alternates writing Covert-One novels, Mills does not miss a beat and is able to build on previous Ludlum novels, as well as those of his colleague, which allows those fans of the series not to feel jilted or left to skip books to gain the proper momentum. Mills is a wonderful storyteller and has the essence of the Covert-One theme embedded in his writing style, which proves refreshing and is highly refreshing for Ludlum fans who have suffered through the destruction of another series Ludlum left incomplete.
Kudos, Mr. Mills for this wonderful addition to the series. I hope you are kept on as one of the key writers to keep making Robert Ludlum proud for years to come.