First and foremost, a large thank you to NetGalley, Robert Dugoni, and Thomas & Mercer for providing me with a copy of this publication, which allows me to provide you with an unbiased review.
Long a fan of Robert Dugoni and his work, I turned to the latest instalment of his espionage series. Reviving all that was tense during the Cold War, Dugoni has fashioned a wonderful series around sleeper agents and one American’s duty to protect those involved. Still smarting from his latest Russian prison break, Charles Jenkins is enjoying life with his family. That is, until he’s approached by his CIA handler to return to Russia on a mission. It will be harrowing and dangerous, but necessary to ensure American intel is not lost. As Jenkins makes his way there, people are still hunting for him and will stop at nothing to see him dead. Dugoni does well spinning this tale of depravity and ruthlessness, but it’s all for the greater good!
Still feeling the aches and pains of a Russian prison, Charles Jenkins is happy to be with his family on their farm in the States. All that changes when, during a routine meeting with his CIA handler, Jenkins is told that he will need to help extricate the last of a sleeper cell that is being hunted by the Russian authorities. These women, deemed the Seven Sisters, have been providing America with wonderful intel, but there is a (wo)manhunt for them and the consequences are dire.
With only two left in the country, Jenkins will have to hunt them down and ensure they are safe, before trying to get them stateside for added protection. The trouble is, Jenkins is also a fugitive from the Russian authorities and they are on the hunt for him, sure to skin him alive when he is caught. It’s a precarious balance, but surely one that is needed to keep America safe from its renewed enemy.
As Jenkins makes a splash back in Russia, he tries to locate the two women and makes plans to get them out. However, there are those who have been anxiously awaiting his return, so much so that they will stop at nothing to bring Jenkins to justice once again, as well as a mafia don with revenge in his blood. As the tension mounts, Jenkins will have to formulate a plan to get out of Russia and back on American soil, or die protecting the silent sisters as they flee! Another well-paced novel that shows how versatile Robert Dugoni can be!
While I came to know the work of Robert Dugoni through his crime thrillers, he has surprised me with some great pieces that push the boundaries and take things in other directions. This Charles Jenkins espionage thriller seemed to come out of nowhere and has been gaining momentum for a while. It has all the elements of a stunning thriller, hinting at Cold War situations in a new and technological world. The rise of the new Russian enemy is the perfect backdrop for this piece, which has something for everyone.
Charles Jenkins remains a great protagonist in this piece, serving both as a CIA operative and family man. He has been forced to return to danger, putting his family at risk, but does so for the country he loves. There are surely some strains found within, but Jenkins knows what he has to do and is made out to be the only one who can do it. There are harrowing moments throughout, testing his mettle, but Jenkins seems always keen to do what he can, even if it puts him in excruciating pain.
As with all other Dugoni novels I have read, there is much going on and a need to keep things straight. I loved the back and forth offered by the narrative, as it kept me on my toes and wondering what would happen next. Dugoni offers up a masterful array of options in his narrative, which gains speed as the tension mounts. Strong characters and a plausible story help move things along as well, while short chapters keep the reader coming back for more. There is a real sense of ‘new Cold War’ with these pieces and Dugoni hits the nail on the head. He gives the reader a true sense of the urgency, the slow revelations, and the need to always stay one step ahead of the enemy, if only to ensure one’s own safety. The added benefit of a regular peppering of Russian throughout the text gave it a sense of realism. While I cannot be sure if the scheduled trilogy will end now (some authors seem not to be able to rid themselves of a character, even after they have promised a handful of books), I know I will keep my eyes open for possibilities and exciting new avenues.
Kudos, Mr. Dugoni, for a wonderful story that held my attention throughout. You have a way with words that I thoroughly enjoy and I cannot wait to see what’s next.
Be sure to check for my review, first posted on Mystery and Suspense, as well as a number of other insightful comments by other reviewers.