With explosive tension and masterful suspense, A Handful of Kings is a page-turning thriller about what really happens in the world of espionage, by an insider who has lived it.
American diplomat Vicky Sorrell learns the hard way that all is fair in love -- and espionage. A Handful of Kings, the latest novel by prolific author and former foreign service officer Mark Jacobs, follows Vicky's fast-paced tour of duty -- one where she must decide who the bad guys are, who is lying, and who just might be telling the dangerous truth.
Vicky is changing her life. She is leaving the foreign service and her lover at the same time. But before she departs the U.S. embassy in Madrid for home, a well-known American writer shows up with a strange request. Vicky knows that what the writer wants from her is not necessarily what he is asking. But curiosity leads her to play along, and she is quickly drawn into the murky underground of terrorists and spies into which the writer himself has been reluctantly led. The track she takes is full of wrong turns. And at the end of the tunnel, it's not light she sees but an unspeakable threat to people she loves.
Recalling Graham Greene in The Comedians, Jacobs weaves an engrossing story that takes place over three continents and illuminates the unexpected ways people betray and defend one another and, ultimately, how they learn to love.
A female American diplomat is sucked into a terrorist plot and a famous novelist is forced to look hard at his values and beliefs in this second novel by Jacobs, a former foreign service officer and acclaimed short story writer (The Liberation of Little Heaven; Stone Cowboy). Set in Spain and Colombia, the novel is a suspense tale in the tradition of Graham Greene, though it lacks the force and finesse of Greene's work. Vicky Sorrell is ready to quit her job as a cultural attach at the American Embassy in Madrid when writer Jack Baines arrives and disrupts her plans. Jack's nephew has been kidnapped in Bogot , part of a plot by a smart, ugly rebel leader called Badger to embarrass America into withdrawing from Colombia, and Baines has been instructed by the kidnappers to put pressure on American officials. The trouble is that Baines is not very believable either as the kind of bestselling, critically acclaimed novelist who might have political influence (he comes across as a second-rate Robert Stone) or as a possible lover who might tempt a sharp, disillusioned woman like Vicky. And despite Jacobs's skill at bringing Spain and its diplomatic circles to life, there's a mustiness to the setting that makes it seem light-years from today's headlines.